Food, electricity, transport, credit and loan repayments take up a significant portion of a family’s income, so how can you trim the fat on your household bills and save more?
With the cost of living becoming more expensive for many families, many are struggling to maintain a sensible household budget. We have listed a few tips below.
Split 'need' and 'want' spending
Before you can cut costs, you need to have a good understanding of how much money you are actually spending. You also need to decipher between money you have to spend (e.g. groceries, home loan repayments, electricity bills) and money you choose to spend (e.g. eating out, entertainment costs, pay TV, gym membership). By doing this, you may find that you can cut down on a significant amount of expenses if you reduce the amount of times you go out to eat.
Plan your weekly menu
Planning your meals ahead of time cannot only help you eat better, but also save money. Australians throw out millions of dollars worth of food every year and this can be minimalised just by taking a few extra steps during preparation. Choose recipes with similar ingredients, especially vegetables, so you aren’t left with a draw full of wilted vegetables at the end of the week. Also try to shop seasonally. The price of fruit and vegetables go up significantly when they are not in season.
Say goodbye to bought lunches
Bought lunches, especially the sneaky coffee on the way to work, can eat into your household budget without you even realising it. Spending $10 a day, 5 days a week on bought lunches equates to $200 a month. Although preparing meals at home will cost money, it will be a fraction of the price of a bought lunch and most likely a lot healthier.
Only shop once a week/fortnight
Most people are guilty of impulse buying while grocery shopping and the more you visit the grocery store, the more likely you’ll be to buy unnecessary items. Doing a large grocery shop once a week or once a fortnight can help you keep better track of your money compared to several little purchases.
Electricity bills can take up a significant portion of your household income, but it doesn’t have to. Simple things such as turning off lights when you leave a room and running the dishwasher/washing machine/dryer during non-peak hours can help you conserve power. Take a look at the Australian Government website for more tips.
No matter what season it is, conserving water is beneficial for the environment and your wallet. Simple things such as using laundry water on the garden, putting a cover on your swimming pool so that it doesn’t need to be topped up as often and washing your car with a bucket instead of a hose can all make a difference. Take a look at the Australian Government website for more tips.
Find free entertainment
Cutting down on household expenses doesn’t mean you need to become anti-social, stuck in your house. There are a large number of free community events available throughout the year, all you need to do is look for them! School holidays are a great time to find activities free of charge. Potluck parties, where everyone brings a plate of food to share, are also a great way to get together without spending a huge amount of money.
Save on transport
Petrol prices can be a killer on your budget, but according to MyBudget founder, Tammy May, it is actually worth filling your car until it is full as it will actually run more economically on a full tank. Car pooling with friends can also help keep petrol costs down during the working week.
Public transport may also be a more suitable option for those working in the CBD area as parking costs can take a chunk out of your income each week.