Money saving tips in times of hardship
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has been one of those times of hardship, for some more than others. We found some of the best money saving tips that will hopefully help you.
Many of us are struggling with a limited income. There are many money saving tips around – such as don’t go food shopping while hungry, using half the amount of laundry detergent than is recommended, buying cheaper cuts of meat and top up meals with rice or pasta. While tips like these all help, what else can you do to save money when you are cash strapped? We found some of the best money saving tips that will hopefully help you.
Record your spending
A good way to find out where all your money is going is to record or track your spending. Its best to do this for at least 1-2 weeks to get a clear picture of your spending habits. To do this you must record every single expense you have, no matter how small.
There are many methods you can use to track your spending, including using an app on your phone, writing everything down or using your receipts to add everything up.
When you have finished recording your spending, you can clearly see where the money is going and sometimes just being aware can help finding ways to spend less.
Make a budget
Once you have recorded your spending the next step is a budget. It might sound boring, but it is the best way to record and identify what your money is being spent on. If you have never done a budget before, doing one can identify areas that can easily be cut back on. For example, buying a $5 takeaway coffee a day could cost over $1,800 a year.
A budget records your spending and can identify areas where you may cut back or look for alternative options. You can identify the extra’s that you can do without if you need to save money.
Review reoccurring expenses
Take time to look at the bigger or reoccurring expenses you have, such as loan repayments, insurances and utility bills. Taking time to review these larger expenses can save you a lot of money in the longer term.
Contact your bank and ask for a better interest rate, or swap banks/loans. Review your insurance requirements and utility suppliers. Even just switching to a lower internet or mobile phone plan can save each month.
Make a weekly or fortnightly meal plan and write your shopping list accordingly. When at the shops stay focused the shopping list. This will save on those impulse buys, treats or sale items you may not really need. Meal planning can also cut down on visits to the supermarket and then the risk of extra purchases.
Save at home
Read our blog on how to save and conserve energy around the home here www.cota.com.au/ways-to-conserve-energy-and-save/ this covers all areas of home energy such as lighting, appliances, heating and cooling and more.
Challenge your brand loyalty
Loyalty is a great quality to have, but being loyal doesn’t always save you money. Be prepared to shop around if you feel your loyalty is not being rewarded. In some cases, you can save a lot.
Skip a visit to the shops and make your own gifts and cards for family and friends. Use your skills to make a gift instead of buying a gift. That could be making someone a jar of relish or jam, knitting a scarf, potting a pot plant from an offcut, a voucher for a homemade meal or a car clean. The options are endless and often much more appreciated.
Cleaning products can be expensive, so why not make your own. There are many recipes available online, such as this one – www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a24885/make-at-home-cleaners/. There are also many DIY beauty products that you can make to save money.
Another good way to save money with DIY is do all the things that you may outsource yourself. For example if you pay someone to do your ironing, house cleaning, or gardening, start doing this yourself to save the expense.
Second hand cash
Clear out your cupboards and shed and sell what you no longer need. Selling your unwanted items online can make decent money, as can a garage sale. It may involve a bit of work or learning a new skill (like posting things for sale online) but it can be worth it in the end.
The right mindset
While being frugal is helpful and can save you money, its important not to let it become your sole focus. Focusing on a positive mindset where your goals are positively focused upon financial independencecan prove to be much more beneficial than a self limiting mindset, , where decisions are based upon fear or failure.
Use online tools
There are loads of user friendly tools online to help with saving money. Here are just a few:
- Centrelink has an online tool to see what payments and services you may be eligible for, its worth a visit – www.centrelink.gov.au/custsite_pfe/pymtfinderest/paymentFinderEstimatorPage.jsf?wec-appid=pymtfinderest&wec-locale=en_US#stay
- Money Smart budget planner moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting/budget-planner you can also download the excel spreadsheet here to.
- Budget Directs savings and goal planner – www.budgetdirect.com.au/interactives/savings-plan/
- Money Smart has a list of tools that even includes searching for unclaimed money – moneysmart.gov.au/#tools-and-resources
- Financial Information Services (FIS) a free government service that can inform and educate you about financial matters – www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/individuals/services/financial-information-service