Events across Australia and the world have created a perfect storm that is increasing the cost of living. Everyone will feel the pinch but most especially those on a lower income, which can include some single parent families.
Everyday items such as groceries and fuel alongside inflated interest rates are the biggest worry as in many cases it feels impossible to cut-back. For this reason, we need to find other ways to carry costs and keep life as normal as possible without additional financial stress.
Here are ten fairly easy ways to cut back on your living expenses that you may not have tried. Even if you can implement one or two, it will bring a welcome relief to your possibly strained finances.
FIND THE CHEAPEST FUEL
Although you won’t find fuel as cheap as it was 6-months ago, you can shop around to find the cheapest price available.
Keep the search easy by downloading an app onto your phone which will find the most affordable fuel in your vicinity. See these suggestions from AutoGuru.
Make sure you use your discount or loyalty card whenever you purchase. The saving seems small, but it will add up and make a difference over time.
CUT BACK ON DRIVING
Filled the car up but don’t want to waste all that valuable fuel?
Don’t drive more than necessary by considering car-pooling, public transport, walking or cycling. Take time to plan the logistics of your day by thinking through each drive so you don’t make unnecessary journeys that could have been done in one hit.
GET CLEVER WITH GROCERIES
As grocery bills get eye-wateringly expensive, saving money at the supermarket has never been more important.
Ensure you are all-over the specials every week. Have a quick look online before writing your shopping list to incorporate sale items. Buy half-price, non-perishables in bulk and plan your meals around food that are seasonally cheap or on sale.
And we always say it, but still get caught out: Don’t shop on an empty stomach!
BRING DOWN THE BILLS
With the cost of living rising fast, shopping around to bring down the cost of your bills has never been more important.
This includes gas, electricity, insurances and anything else you pay for on a regular basis.
It can be as simple as making a phone call to your current provider to ask for a discount prior to shopping around. Or actually do your homework to find the cheapest option available and make the switch
USE LESS ELECTRICITY
There are many ways to decrease your electricity use, including the obvious such as turning-off lights, heating and air-conditioning when not in use.
However, according to Energy.gov.au:
The following simple actions could save a household of four about $760 a year.
- Getting rid of the second fridge could save around $172 a year
- Switching off the game console after use could save up to $193 a year
- Using the clothesline once a week instead of using the dryer could save around $79 a year
- Installing a water-efficient 4-star showerhead could save around $315 a year on water bills
WORK ON YOUR MORTGAGE OR RENT
If you are a homeowner feeling the pressure of rising interest rates, it might be time to change your repayments. Have a chat with your mortgage broker (if you have one) and ask them to find you a better deal. It is in their financial interest to keep you on as a customer so they will be only too happy to do the work for you.
If you are renting you might also feel the crunch as homeowners increase rental prices to cover their own costs. Chat to your landlord and explain your situation. Offer to do some maintenance work around the property in return for an extended period of lower rent.
MAKE MORE MONEY
However much we drive down our costs, it would definitely help to have more money available to pay the heightened bills that just keep coming.
Can you justify a pay rise and/or ask for more hours at work? Or can generate another income stream to run along-side your current one?
Get creative with your skill set and think how you can use it to increase your income.
Further reading: 8 Ways to make money from home.
REDO YOUR BUDGET
Everything is changing in the world around us which means your budget needs to change too.
If you don’t have one, now is the time to start.
Use a free online tool such as the MoneySmart Budget Planner to summarise your outgoings and incomings each week. Identify where you can cut back and spend less, alongside planning for your future financial goals.
Not only will a personal budget help you decrease your outgoings, it will give you peace-of-mind which is a valuable gift in this ever-changing world.
Further reading: 10 Completely free online budget templates.