50 small and simple ways to save money

Oct 29, 2019
Saving money can be simple, if you make small, sustainable changes to your spending habits. Source: Getty.

Whether you’ve got a birthday coming up, need to save for Christmas or want to set aside some cash for that bucket list trip you’ve always dreamed off, the idea of saving can often seem daunting and leave you struggling to know where to start.

Reaching your savings goals doesn’t mean you have to give up spending altogether though and there are some simple changes you can make to help you hit that target faster, without depriving yourself of the things you love.

So if you have a savings goal you’d like to reach but don’t know where to start, here are 50 simple things you can do to save money.

1. Make your lunch at home – If you usually buy lunch from the local cafe, try making a packed lunch instead. It’s far cheaper!

2. Visit op shops – If you’re prepared to do some bargain hunting, you can save a fortune by shopping for clothes, accessories and even furniture in your local op shop.

3. Only use cash – While contactless cards may make shopping easier, its far tougher to keep track of your spending. Using cash will make you more conscious of what you are spending.

4. Give up one habit – For example, stop buying coffee and make your own at home or give up alcohol for a set period of time.

5. Borrow books and DVDs from the local library – Rather than spending $20 on the latest DVD or must-read books, why not check them out from the local library instead.

6. Give homemade gifts – If you have kids or grandkids, birthdays and Christmases can really add up so why not save yourself some money and make your gifts instead.

7. Take advantage of sales – Black Friday, Boxing Day and EOFY – make the most of the sales and make big purchases while prices are lower.

8. Write a shopping list – and stick to it – Doing your shopping with no list can be disastrous as you’re far more likely to pick up items you don’t need.

9. Plan your meals in advance – Planning your meals in advance means you’ll only buy exactly what you need from the supermarket.

10. Set a budget for your grocery shop – One way to reduce the risk of overspending is to set a budget and only take that amount of cash with you to the supermarket.

11. Grow your own fruit and veggies at home – If you have a green thumb, why not try growing your own fresh produce at home, or even start a herb garden.

12. Buy food in bulk when it’s on offer – If there’s a good deal on meat, why not buy it in bulk and freeze it in portions?

13. Buy own-brand products instead of big names – Supermarket own brands have boomed in popularity in recent years and for good reason, as they’re far cheaper!

14. Eat less meat – Meat is often the priciest thing we buy at the supermarket, so simply reducing the amount you eat can save you a lot of money in the long run.

15. Turn off appliances at the powerpoint – If you’re not using something, switch it off at the powerpoint to save energy and therefore reduce your bills. Simple!

16. Hang your washing outside – You’re lucky enough to live in a country with a predominantly warm climate, so dry your laundry outside on the line rather than using the tumble dryer.

17. Compare energy deals online – Many Aussies are guilty of spending more than they need to on gas and electricity, simply because they don’t bother to shop around for better deals.

18. Take shorter showers – Long showers and baths can use up a lot of water. Setting an egg timer before you get in the shower can help you cut your shower time.

19. Use a water efficient shower head – This can save you money on your water and energy bills. Compare how many litres of water per minute the shower head uses.

20. Reuse water on your garden – Another way to save water – particularly in drought-affected areas – is to reuse grey water to water your lawn and plants. You just need to buy a diverter.

21. Don’t use the dishwasher unless it is full – This might sound obvious, but many people are guilty of switching the dishwasher on when it’s half full, which uses a lot of water and energy.

22. The same goes for the washing machine – You might need that dress for the weekend, but don’t put a wash on unless the drum is full.

23. Wash clothes in cold water – As the water does not need to be heated, this is a more energy efficient way to do laundry.

24. Eat out less – Dining out can be costly, so you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, by dining at home instead.

25. Order water instead of pricier drinks – If you do eat out, opting for water instead of wine, soft drinks or other alcoholic drinks, can make a big difference to your overall bill.

26. Choose a bank account with no fees – Many bank accounts charge monthly fees, but choosing a fee-free account can save you money. Specific seniors accounts are often fee-free.

27. Be careful not to go overdrawn – If you go overdrawn, you could be slapped with some hefty fees. So it’s better to only spend within your means.

28. Don’t rely on credit cards – Relying on credit cards can be risky business as many people don’t realise how high the fees or interest rates are should they fail to pay off their cards on time.

29. Get a Commonwealth Seniors Discount Card – Each state and territory has its own Seniors Card scheme, offering a range of discounts and offers. Find out more here.

30. Make use of free public transport – Earlier this year Brisbane introduced free off-peak travel for seniors on buses, CityCats and ferries. Does your local council offer something similar?

31. Exercise for free – Joining a gym can be expensive but there are plenty of ways you can exercise for free, from walking round the block to using outdoor gyms and swimming in the ocean.

32. Set a monthly budget –  As with shopping, setting a budget for day-to-day life can help you to avoid unnecessary spending and keep track of your savings.

33. Don’t buy things on a whim – Impulse buying is a sure fire way to chip away at your savings, so try to stop and think about purchases before going through with them.

34. Open a savings account – If you’re trying to save, then opening a savings account is a good idea. Think about how often you want to access your money and compare interest rates online.

35. Use budgeting apps – There’s an app for everything nowadays, including budgeting! To find out more, read our story on budgeting apps here.

36. Buy frozen instead of fresh – It’s far cheaper to buy frozen fruits and vegetables and there’s no risk of them going off in a week either.

37. Sell unwanted items online – If you have a garage filled with unwanted items or clothes you can no longer squeeze into, you could make some extra cash by selling them online.

38. Use fuel check websites – Fuel prices can vary greatly between petrol stations, so you could save a considerable amount by checking the prices online before you arrive at the bowser.

39. Buy a bicycle – Owning a car can eat up a lot of your cash, so why not consider buying a bicycle instead? Not only will you save money, but you’ll be fitter too.

40. Use a piggy bank – No one likes carrying a wallet full of coins around with them, so why not use a piggy bank to stash your coins, then cash them in at the bank when you’ve collected heaps.

41. Go to free events – Most councils across the country offer free events throughout the year, from musical performances to art exhibits and children’s events.

42. Spend more time outside – It costs nothing to enjoy nature and in Australia we’re blessed to have some pretty impressive outdoor locations!

43. Utilise rewards schemes – Making the most of loyalty schemes can help you save cash down the line, simply by collecting points on the purchases you already make.

44. Use coupons – While you can’t always rely on coupons – and shouldn’t use them for things you don’t need or want – they can be a good way of cutting costs on food and household goods.

45. Rug up in the winter – Rather than turning the heating on, wrap yourself in a blanket or pull on a pair of thick socks during the winter months.

46. Get thrifty – Could you make a new dress out of that old Manchester? Or give those bedside tables a new lease of life with a lick of paint? Before you buy new, think about being thrifty first.

47. Do your own repairs – As with the above, you could save big by doing your own repairs. Of course, you can’t repair your car, but could you fix that broken chair, instead of throwing it out?

48. Use reusable coffee cups – Some coffee shops across the country offer free or discounted coffee to customers who bring their own reusable coffee cups into store.

49. Take advantage of travel deals – Many providers have deals throughout the year, such as Jetstar’s ‘Return for free’ campaign or Tigerair’s ‘Tiger Tuesdays’.

50. Shop around for insurance – As with your utility providers, you should shop around for insurance products online, rather than remaining loyal to your existing insurer.

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and for information purposes only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not financial product advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any financial decision you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from an independent licensed financial services professional.

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