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101 Practical & Surprising Tips to Save Money

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by Chris Nugen (subscribe)
I can't get enough of food! I'm also passionate about music, dance, writing and makeup!
Published September 20th 2013
Save money now
101 Practical & Surprising Tips to Save Money

money cash saving
Hard earn cash by Cimexus

The way you view money depends on your upbringing, and other influences like your family and friends. Understand how you treat money and recognise your spending habits. Do you spend money like it grows on trees or do you save it all and let investment opportunities pass you by? Understanding your relationship with your money is the first step in saving and making more money. If you're in strife, check out Financial Counselling Australia for free financial service all over Australia. In this article, I will explore practical and surprising ways to save money.


electricity power powerpoint
Powerpoint outlet by Auspowerpoint

1. Shop around for the best quality and affordable service.
2. Use energy efficient light bulbs and white-goods.
3. Avoid opening the fridge and staring at the food for minutes on end. Decide what you want and get it out quickly.
4. Use fan-forced instead of conventional when using your over as it uses about 30% less energy.
5. Install solar panels. These may be expensive initially, but there are government incentives and will be money saving in the long term.
6. Use appliances at off-peak times if you can, like the washing machine.
7. Turn off appliances at the power point when not in use, or better yet, turn off the meter box if convenient.
8. Find cheaper alternatives to heating, like wearing more layers, use hot water bottles or wheat bags.
9. During winter, keep curtains and blinds drawn at night to keep the heat in, and opened during the day to allow sunlight in.
10. Install roller doors. These keep out most of the heat during summer as well as giving you home protection. If it's too expensive, consider just installing the sunny side.
11. Have insulation.
12. Turn off the hot water and only turn it on for about 1-2 hours at off-peak time. Alternatively, you can turn down the thermostat but not too low that may allow microbes to grow.


tap water, water, rain water
Tap water by Nikthestoned

13. Have a rainwater tank for your garden. Alternatively, use bath/shower water, grey water from your washing machine for your garden
14. Have shorter showers. Pick a short song that you like and play it while you shower.
15. Use water saving shower heads and appliances.
16. Turn off tap whilst brushing your teeth.
17. Use cold water to wash clothes.
18. Only use the dishwasher on a full load.[/SECTION]


grocery grocer goods generic shopping
Milk aisle by AshokaJegroo

19. List your shopping from weekly catalogues.
20. Cook using ingredients that are on sale, rather than buy the ingredients you need for a recipe.
21. You can also make extra and freeze them for later. This saves you cooking twice. Casseroles, soup, curries, sauces all freeze well. You can also buy tomatoes when on sale, sauté then freeze it for later use.
22. Analyse your shopping trolley before you pay. Do you really need all of this?
23. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach. This may lead to impulse buying.
24. Know the unit price. Sometimes, larger quantity isn't always cheaper, especially if smaller quantities are on sale.
25. Check out organic food aisle. Sometimes discounted items are cheaper than non-organic items, and good for you!
26. Buy generic brands, especially for junk food as the variety of these is huge. The quality of these has improved greatly in the last few years.
27. Buy wholesale if possible. Some butchers sell wholesale to the public. Check out prices of your local butcher or fruit and veg shop.
28. Buy in bulk. Buy meat in whole portions, then cut and divide it in suitable portions then freeze. Buy onions in bulk because they can keep for long, especially if you leave them in the sun for a day, or keep in a dry place.
29. Stock up on dry goods when on sale.
30. Reduce waste by buying just enough perishable food for consumption and storing food properly to keep them longer. That rotten food or leftovers thrown in bin is your money.
31. Keep shopping bags in the car and try not to forget them. If you do, still have your grocery in the trolley, then bag it when you get to the car.
32. Install a water filter or buy a filter jug so you can drink tap water instead of buying bottled water.
33. Grow your own food. Fruit trees are the easiest as they have low maintenance once they are established. Some herbs are also very easy to grow like rosemary and thyme.
34. If a friend has plentiful of something, like a fruit tree, ask them if you could take some home.


vitamins medications medicines healthy supplements complementary
Centrum Multivitamin by Smoth 007

35. Prevention is better than cure. Stay healthy to avoid paying for medications when you get sick.
36. Shop around for medications, buy generic, or buy when on sale.
37. Take advantage of the Medicare Safety Net subsidy if you're eligible. Ask your pharmacist for more details.
38. Research whether private health will save you money and shop around for the best service. Check out to compare cost and covers.
39. Forget gym membership. Find free or cheap alternatives to get fit, like running/jogging, or bike riding. Some suburbs even have outdoor gyms that are attached to kid playgrounds. Youtube videos on fitness classes and substitute these for your instructor.


line graph
Line Graph by AdamBMorgan

40. Have a budget and monitor your spending. There are many apps that can help you with this or set up your own.
41. Keep on top of your mortgage and work out the best and quickest way to reduce it.
42. Check all the fees you have for everything from bank fees to superannuation fees and see how you can reduce them. Avoid bank overdrawn fees by checking your account regularly. Avoid paying extra fees because you have multiple accounts, like multiple credit cards, or multiple superannuation accounts.
43. Claim to the maximum amount allowed on your tax to get the most benefit.
44. Do your taxes early to get the money back early. Better to have this money sitting in your account and accumulate interest, than the government's account. Even if you think you won't get any money back, you don't have to pay until March the following calendar year.
45. Limit yourself to one credit card. Shop around for the best credit card available to you.
46. Pay off the full amount on your credit card each month to avoid paying any interest.
47. Contribute to your superannuation. When you contribute up to $1000 extra into your super, the government will contribute up to $500.
48. Find lost superannuation. The government has billions of dollars of unclaimed super – it might be yours! Check out The Australian Taxation Office.
49. If you're receiving assistance from the government, keep them up to date with your income. Give them an overestimate of your income – it'll be like a 'bonus' at the end of the financial year.
50. Be money wise through self-education. Check out Money Smart [/SECTION]


children play outside
Playing outside

51. Find free activities to do like going on picnics, go to a playground, or a park.
52. Libraries have lots of free children's activities, particularly during the school holidays.
53. Set up craft activities using recycled goods like toilet rolls, and yoghurt cups.
54. Buy second hand when you can for things such as clothes and toys, school uniforms and books.
55. Borrow short-term use items from family and friends such as baby baths, high chairs.
56. Say no sometimes, it's good for your pocket, and also good for them to learn to accept 'No'.
57. Budget their birthday celebrations.
58. Claim for Education Tax Refund if you are eligible.
59. Buy snacks in normal sizes, rather than kid sizes and pack it yourself as you are just paying extra for the packaging.
60. Buy nappies in bulk when on sale or try cloth nappies.


ipad technology tablet modern internet
iPad 2 by Mono

61. Shop around for internet/mobile plans to suit your usage.
62. Take advantage of free services. For example, you can use Skype for free video calling, or Whatsapp for free texting.
63. Use free services to communicate with family and friends such as email or facebook where possible.
64. Take advantage of your local library. Libraries these days cater for a lot more than just books and DVDs. These include ebooks, games, Wifi/internet, toys, bike hire, and children's or community activities, all free of charge. The more you utilise the library, the less you have to buy, rent or download yourself.
65. Turn child lock on for apps to prevent them from accidentally buying something.
66. Turn roaming off when overseas.
67. Foxtel is a luxury. Can you go without it?

Going out

bar, going out, nightlife, catching up
Bar by Petr Kratochvil

68. Take cash with you to limit how much you spend.
69. Take advantage of happy hour.
70. Look for discounts and vouchers.
71. Car pool, and be the designated driver sometimes.
72. Catch up at home with BYO, rather than out somewhere sometimes.

Retail therapy

shopping shops sale
Chadstone Shopping Centre by Donaldytong

73. Remember that most of the time, these are luxuries. Ask yourself can you afford it?
74. Assess whether you need it, that you actually like it and that it fits properly. If it's not serving its purpose, it's still money down the drain even if it's a bargain.
75. Limit shopping when there are no sales.
76. Shop online. Some online stores sometimes offer bigger discounts than in-stores. Check for shipping costs, and keep an eye on the exchange rates if buying from overseas.
77. Shop for Christmas presents at the mid-year sale, shop for birthday and other presents at the post-Christmas sale.
78. Shop at DFOs or factory outlet stores.
79. Recognise pushy sales people and don't buy into it.
80. Take food and water with you.
81. Shop in places with free parking.
82. Check out free items on Gumtree or Freecycle to swap items.
83. When buying online, give yourself 24 hours before clicking that pay button. You might feel different the next day, with sensible reasoning sinking in that you may not need it.

Travel costs

car automobile petrol distance cost
Toyota Aurion by Greg Gerrard

84. Use your car efficiently. Plan your trip. Turn off the air-conditioning if it's not too hot. Reduce the load in your car; the heavier the car, the more petrol it will use.
85. Reduce petrol usage by walking or riding to work.
86. Shop locally rather than at a big shopping centre.
87. Buy an economical car at the end of the financial year.
88. Fill the car on cheap fuel days.
89. Wash your own car.


australian coins money cash saving
Australian coins by Roke

90. Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees.
91. Shop around for necessities such as car insurance, house and contents insurance and any other insurance that you need.
92. Prepare lunch for the family. You can save from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on how many in your family.
93. Reuse as much as you can. The more use re-use a product, the less you have to buy something else to give you the same purpose. You can re-use many things for kids craft activities.
94. Reduce dry cleaning by hand-wash your clothes.
95. Swap alcohol for water.
96. Swap café coffee for espresso machine coffee, or don't drink coffee at all.
97. Stop smoking.
98. Reduce junk food, these are the most expensive types of food available and are also not a necessity.
99. Make your own cleaning products, using bicarbonate soda, white vinegar, or surfactants that you already have like dishwashing liquid.
100. Make your own gifts and cards for family and friends by making something creative.
101. Have a garage sale or sell unwanted items on eBay/LINK] or []Gumtree.

dollar sign money
Dollar Sign by Svilen.milev

Remember, if you use these tips, don't expect other members of the household to do the same. They might not agree to everything on this list. Discuss these with them and compromise. I don't expect other people to do all of this – I don't myself, not all the time anyway.

These are just tips on how to save on a daily basis. You also need to see the big picture and ask yourself where you want to be in 10 years' time. Set a goal to save a certain amount per month and put the money into that account as soon as you get paid. Don't wait until the end of the month because you may have spent it already. This will be the first step in aiming for the goal. Maybe 10 years down the track you may be a millionaire!
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