8 Easy Tips to Save on Living Expenses

As inflation has risen, the overall cost of living has increased and is causing financial stress amongst individuals. How can we save on fundamental living expenses? Our finance experts have outlined 8 cost-saving tips to reduce cost of living pressures.

1) Reduce Electricity Expenses

A Time Of Use (TOU) Tariff applies different prices for electricity at different times of the day. Understanding the Peak, Shoulder and Off-Peak periods of your energy provider is necessary to reduce your electricity expenses, as electricity is charged at different prices between these time periods. When customers run a lot of appliances or equipment at one time, customers are increasing the peak demand on that network. Therefore, by shifting your usage to Off-Peak periods (generally between 10pm and 6am) the price for energy consumption becomes less expensive and assists customers to save on this expense.

Another way to save on your electricity bills is by negotiating with your energy provider for the best deal you are being provided. The first step in this process is to research and compare rates from other energy providers and determine how much you could save by switching providers. Then, by contacting your energy provider and letting them know of a better deal you have found, their retention team are likely to offer you an even greater rate or incentive to stay with the company.

Of course, it is also important to turn off all appliances and lights that are not in use. Standby power refers to the energy that is drawn down by appliances when they are not in use. Therefore, by turning off power points and appliances at the wall, you can save on this amount.

2) Shop Around for Insurance

Getting in the habit of shopping around for your insurance each year is a great way to save on living expenses and to find the best insurance policy suitable to you. Particular insurance policies provide a greater incentive then just on the insurance product itself. For example, Woolworths insurance provides insurance customers with 10% off their groceries at Woolworths stores, enabling customers to save on other costs of living. This has allowed my family to save $10 to $50 per week on groceries. That’s at least $500 to $2600 saved a year!

Woolworths also offer eligible drivers to save less if they drive less and a discounted insurance policy if purchased online. If Woolworths are doing this, then others may be doing something similar.

3) Utilise Rewards Programs and Save on Groceries

Australian grocery retailers often provide reward systems that reward customers for shopping with them. For example, Woolworths’ Everyday Rewards program provides members with 1 point for every $1 spent in stores. Point Boosters are also placed on particular products that reward customers with a high number of points for purchasing. For every 2000 Everyday Rewards points that a customer gains, the customer gets $10 off their shopping total. This rewards program can be an incentive to save on other living expenses, as it can be used at Big W, selected service stations and other Australian retailers.

Coles’ Flybuys is another rewards program that rewards customers with 1 point for every $1 spent in store. Offers can be activated, where certain items reward customers with larger points. Points can be converted to $10 off customers’ shopping totals, or users can redeem their points in the Rewards Store, where the latest homeware, tech and appliances are on offer. Flybuys also assist customers to save on other living expenses, as the rewards program is used at Kmart, Bunnings and other selected service stations.

4) Budget Your Groceries

The secret to saving expenses on groceries and food is to make a list, or budget, and to stick to it. Planning your meals before grocery shopping allows you to determine what exactly you need to buy and for how much. This limits you to buying products that are necessary, and helps you avoid over purchasing, or purchasing items you don’t need. Australians are wasting nearly 8 tonnes of food a year, which is the result of customers discarding food that is not consumed after purchasing, or have exceeded their expiry date. Food waste costs Australian households $2000 to $2500 per year!

5) Bulk Buy with Friends and Family

Bulk buying is an efficient method to saving on your expenses. As bulk buying involves the purchase of larger quantities of products, excess packaging used to contain smaller quantities of the same product is removed, and therefore reducing the overall price of the item. Buying in bulk means you are getting just the product in its simplest form, and no excess and unnecessary elements that introduce the underlying reasons as to why products on supermarket shelves cost more.

Flemington Market offers fresh groceries, vegetables, fruit, seafood and meat at wholesale prices, which is a great opportunity for individuals to purchase in bulk amounts. Because there is a huge turnover of their produce, most items are fresher and last longer than items bought in supermarkets. Splitting your bulk purchases with friends and family enables you to save even more on grocery items. Bulk purchasing items at wholesale prices, then splitting the products and costs with friends and family, means that you have access to saving that usually only larger organisations can obtain.

It is also smart to bulk purchase non-perishable foods, toiletries and cleaning products, especially if your income changes month-to-month. However, when purchasing items in bulk, it is still fundamental to have a list of items created before attending the markets, so that you don’t buy unnecessary items, or purchase items you already have.

6) Make Use of Discounts

As shopping online is now readily convenient, individuals are making use of Apps that provide discounts for everyday purchases. Groupon and Scoopon deliver deals and discounts on a variety of products and services, including dining out and takeaway, beauty treatment, entertainment, leisure activities, holidays and accommodation, and much more.

Similarly, First Table is a restaurant discovery website that offers 50% off the total food bill for customers that book their table first. It’s the perfect incentive for diners to save money by dining early.

Entertainment is a membership program that offers discounts to its members for a small membership fee. Members have access to thousands of great offers, including dining, activities, shopping, travel and services. Such offers include 2 for 1 Meals, buy 1 get 1 free, free entry, and 25% to 50% off meals at participating restaurants and venues. Although these offers used to be provided in an Entertainment Book, offers are now provided in Entertainment’s app, where offers are being updated every day. This provides members with further possibilities to discover rewards and save massively on their expenses.

7) Access Benefits on Service NSW

If you live in NSW, the NSW Government is offering more than 70 vouchers to help individuals save on everyday living expenses. By using their Savings Finder, individuals are able to find offers that are relevant to them and check their eligibility to claim on a range of benefits. Some of the savings available include:

  • Stay NSW Voucher, a $50 voucher to use towards the cost of accommodation bookings.
  • First Lap, a $100 voucher for swimming lessons for children aged 3 to 6.
  • Active Kids, a $100 voucher for children’s sport, fitness and recreation.
  • Toll Relief, an incentive to attain free or half-price vehicle registration for frequent toll users.

8) Utilise Community Entertainment and Services

Often, communities offer free services and entertainment for individuals and families to enjoy. Free events that often take place include theatre, exhibitions, street festivals and kids’ workshops. Not only do these events bring communities together to promote social inclusion, but they allow families to enjoy leisurely activities without creating a dint in their pocket. 

An example of opportunities provided by communities includes Cinema Under The Stars, a free outdoor movie experience. Additionally, often RSL’s, clubs and pubs offer comedy events that don’t require an entry fee.

Free playgroups are another community service available to parents, carers and children. It allows families to stay connected whilst benefiting from receiving educational resources and professional advice, that would otherwise be quite costly elsewhere.

Are you struggling to save on living expenses?

If you’re finding it difficult to keep on top of your expenses, it is always best to seek financial advice. Speaking with a Vision Property & Finance financial planner can assist you in coming up with a plan to sorting out your finances and getting them under control.