How to save $5000 in a year (without giving up coffee)

Everyone tells you to stop buying coffees if you want to save, but you don’t need to give up your

Everyone tells you to stop buying coffees if you want to save, but you don’t need to give up your little luxuries to save money. In fact, we have found 9 ways to save over $5000 in a year, without ditching coffee at all.

Here’s some small changes to make that could save you thousands.

1. Bottled water

This is a bit of an obvious one but sometimes when we’re on the run, it can be easier to just grab a bottle of water than to fill one up. Bottled water contributes to millions of tonnes of waste each year so it’s better to take a collapsible bottle with you and fill it up. It’s better for the environment and your wallet.

If you buy two bottles of water a week at $3 each, you can save over $300 a year by swapping to a BPA-free bottle.

2. ATMs

Banks rake in billions of dollars in account fees every year, and one of the main sources of revenue is through using non-bank ATMs. Currently, the average ATM fee is around $3. If you use an ATM that isn’t through your bank just once a week, you could be spending $156 extra every year. Simply try to go cash free and use EFTPOS or card where you can, weigh up whether you really need the cash, or look for your bank’s ATM on Google Maps before you leave the house.

3. Parking

It’s tempting to just park in the closest car park to your destination but you could be saving yourself quite a bit of money by finding free car parks. Most council websites will have a street car park map and you will be able to find out where they are. Make sure you give yourself enough time to drive around for a park.

An average car park in inner cities is $20 an hour, so if you use it for two hours every two weeks on average, you could save yourself $1040 a year by looking around.

3. Lotto

This might seem obvious but there are still so many people who buy a lotto ticket every week. Sure, you might win a little bit from time to time but the chances of getting the jackpot are slim to none. Instead, why not enter into free competitions on websites like Competition Crazy or Win Free Stuff, or save the $780 you would have spent!

4. Drinks and popcorn at the movies

Going to the movies is a luxury in itself, and as seniors we can usually get a discount. But it’s the candy bar that can really sting us. Why not take your own food in instead? Put some packet popcorn (about $1 from the supermarket) in the microwave and take it in with you, along with some lollies or treats.

If you go to the movies once a fortnight with a partner and buy from the candy bar (around $30 each), you could save $780 by doing it on the cheap, as mentioned above.

5. Makeup

We love to look good but you actually don’t need to spend a lot – $15 is the most you should spend on foundation or concealer. Splurge on those two items plus face powder. Scrimp on lipstick, nail polish, mascara, eye shadow and eye liner. You can buy all of these at the chemist or other cheaper stores. You won’t notice the difference but your wallet will!

If you buy $60 foundation, $20 mascara, $15 lipstick and two $10 nail polishes every quarter, you could save $350 by buying $15 foundation, $5 mascara, $3 lipstick and two $2 nail polishes instead.

6. Books

If you’re still spending $20 on a book, you aren’t doing it right! Libraries still exist and you can still borrow books for free. You can also get an eReader and buy eBooks online via Amazon or Booktopia, and they are often around $5-10. Otherwise, for the real discount option, there are thousands of free books to download online here.

If you buy a new book ($25) every month, this could be saving you $300 a year.

7. Phone plan

If you’ve had the same phone plan for the last few years, you might want to call your service provider to see what the latest deals are. You could be paying $20-50 more than you should be just because you didn’t check! We’ve also done the hard work for you and found the best way to get a better deal on your phone plan.

If you still pay, say, $50 a month for only 200 mins of calls and texts, but could be paying $18 for a much better deal, you could be saving $384 a year… or even more.

8. Cleaning products

Cleaning products can be expensive but did you know you could just make most of them yourself? Vinegar and bi carb are lifesavers and can replace a kitchen cupboard’s worth of products. Here’s our favourite tips to make your own cleaning solutions.

You could save $126 by ditching the purchase of five types of cleaning products every two months (all-purpose spray ($4), bleach ($3), laundry powder ($4), window spray ($4) and carpet cleaner ($6)).

9. Wine

If taste, price, and quality were all equal, which would you rather have: one bottle of wine or four bottles in an entire box? Before you turn your nose up at boxed wine, just know it’s come a long way since Fruity Lexia.

Boxed wine is actually a major trend in Europe, and many brands are being recognised for their quality and taste.

If you buy 2 bottles of wine ($30) a week, and swapped it to one cask ($20) every two weeks, you could save $1040 per year!


Share your thoughts below.

  1. Lotto is my problem. I keep saying I am going to stop but don’t. Might just do it this week.

  2. Already do the nine money saving ideas, plus limiting bought coffee to about one per month. Hate wasting money after a very difficult few years. Still able to have good times and gives you a buzz when you know you have been able to save at the same time.

  3. Since we do not use bottled water, ATMs other than the one for our own bank, have a phone plan ( have prepaid only), drink wine, or buy drinks & popcorn on the few occasions we go to a movie, or pay for parking very often at all, there is very little for us to save on this list. We spend only a little on books, & I use very little make up, so our only “extravagance” on this list is cleaning products.

    • Instead of buying cleaning products, try baking soda, vinegar and lemons. Works like magic, and cheap. Google home-made cleaning products.

    • Same here Jan Bransbury and Maureen Hogan! Don’t even do coffee or eating out anymore. Driving around just one day a week for everything, Make my own clothes, etc. and still not saving $5000 a year. It is not about how much you earn, but how high the cost of living is. Hubby can give you a daily breakdown of everything. Sofar utilities top the list together with rego and house insurance. Only extravagance for me is switching on the aircon when it is really hot in Queensland!!!

    • Unfortunately I have a sister who has an extreme allergy to vinegar, so I don’t dare use the old fashioned cleaners.

    • sorry ladies saving $5000 hmm do you look at your insurances,interest you might be receiving,rates rebates paying you insurances once a year instead of giving the insurance cos all your money and the bank bank charges, lemons anit that expensive when you think about the savings in the supermarket cleaning products, recycle mags I dont buy them people give them to me and then I pass them on to the old age home, one coffee every couple of weeks anit going to break the bank, growing your own vegs and when people offer you anything say thanks I will have it. amazing how you can save I am a next expert on it had heaps of years to learn being a solo mum for years and now married (2) and 72 years I think I am cracking it,I drive a Mustang 1999 go to a lot of shows raise money for the unfortunate kids, cancer kids etc. living the dream life is great I am a kiwi

  4. You missed one. I get my newspaper delivered every day. I like the local news and cryptic crossword as well. However things are getting tight, so I rang to cancel as I decided to try and cut expenses. I explained that I couldn’t afford it, and they negotiated the price, per month, down and down until I agreed to a price $25 less than I had been paying. They literally wouldn’t give up.

  5. The list, let me see. I don’t buy bottled water, I don’t use ATMs, I don’t pay for parking, no Lotto, no movies, no makeup, haven’t bought a book in the past 7 years, IO have a good phone plan, I don’t drink or smoke or frequent clubs. That sounds rather boring but it gives me a stake of money to go away on three fishing trips a year. B|

    • We are a boring bunch Bruce Mahony, because we don’t spend on things we can do without! My phone plan costs me $30 for a year, however I might have to top up with another $30. Hubby has the same plan. Not making the telcos rich!!!

    • My phone is $30 for 6 months and unused is rolled when I pay the next $30. Currently I have a balance of approx $150 so I don’t use the phone much. 😉

  6. Addicted to crosswords, must have my daily paper!!! And No, I will not download as its not as much fun!

  7. Karen Jones  

    Well I don’t do any of those things, not sure where the $5000 is hiding.

  8. Much of what happens to us in life can be influenced by the choices we make. On the other hand some things that happen to us are beyond our control. I encourage people to set goals and develop strategies to achieve them. Having a budget and sticking to it is a good star in planning to save money.

    • Budgeting is definitely the key. We manage on the couples pension & pay for private health ins. & save as well. We do manage a coffee here & there. Eating out occasionally equals a 12″ subway which we share. We are on the road permanently in our van

    • We have managed to do this & spent it on a cruise. We live purely on the couples pension & permanently travelling in our caravan. BUT I have admin background & have a strict budget that works

    • Thank you for the information I’ll try that but I am a single pensioner can’t go any where alone

  9. Made me have a laugh…how many pensioners could afford to do the things you suggest we change in the first place? ☹️

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