It’s funny that so many news sites and blogs talk about saving $800 per year by cutting out a morning coffee, and if you skip the smashed avo in favour of a bowl of cornflakes you will reduce any first home buyer housing stress (seriously!)
Even though those are probably click-bait headlines, the sentiment if done properly, can actually have a positive impact for you.
This is the first of a two-part series.
First, we are going to look at areas you might be wasting quite a bit of money.
(Next time we will look at how to ensure that money actually makes an impact and isn’t simply absorbed into your regular lifestyle)
Chances are good that you're not aware of all of your unnecessary spending. We’ve decided to collect a few of the most common money leaks to see what they really cost.
Throwing Food Out Early
You might be surprised how much money is lost by throwing food away. It’s often the unfinished plate of food, the food you forgot about in the fridge, the cooking session you prepared for but then got called into work and couldn’t make.
These audits were conducted on household bin waste in NSW (2008), Victoria (2008) and SA (2013):
In NSW, food made up 40.3% of bin waste
In Victoria, food made up 41% of bin waste
In South Australia, food made up 42% of bin waste
Isn’t that amazing!!! I was shocked when I first learned just how high the percentages are.
To avoid wasting food, make a list before you go shopping and stick to the plan. If you plan to cook up a storm with your new ingredients, make sure you follow through and don’t put it off for so long it spoils. If you're not able to use something, freeze it.
You can actually freeze a lot more than you may realise. One of my favs is freezing those herb tubes you can get at the supermarket. Just as delicious as if it were stored in the fridge!
Don’t have enough freezer space? There are usually good cheap bar freezers available online where it still costs less to buy and run than what you are losing on wasted food.
Leaving your heating/cooling on
Everyone loves a nice, cool house, especially during and Australian summer. But by redefining your perception of "cool" you might be able to save some serious cash. Temperatures above or below 5 degrees of the outside temperature chew up the most power.
Check your ducts to make sure that they aren't blocked and if you won't be using certain rooms, block them off during the hotter or cooler months.
Of course, your results will vary depending on the size of your home, the quality of your insulation, and various other factors. Still, by changing your habits, you can save a lot of money while limiting your effect on the environment.
Scrimp on the laundry
When you do your laundry, you probably fill up the detergent cap, right? If so, you're likely wasting detergent (and money).
For starters, if you have a high-efficiency washing machine, you're using less water, and an excessive amount of soap won't make anything cleaner—in fact, you'll likely end up with a buildup, which can make your whites appear grey. Carefully read the instructions and try adding less detergent to each load.
Depending on what you're washing, you can also probably skip the hot water. Cold water can wash most fabrics just as well, and you'll save money on your gas or electric bill.
While we're at it, try hanging your clothes on the line when it’s hot. You'll save significantly more money, and in the grand scheme of things it usually only takes about 20min to hang out a load (even less for a smaller household, and without having to supervise a child at the same time).
Buy your cosmetics differently
It’s quite common to believe it’s important to spend a ton of money on good cosmetics. But you don't need to sacrifice your flawless appearance in the name of your budget. Instead, simply change where you shop.
Are there other stockists of your favourite brand? You might find a clearance outlet sells the exact same product for a much lower price.
The same goes for perfumes. There are loads of perfume specials running in the lead up to Christmas, so I do my yearly perfume shop then.
Buying clothes on a whim
I know, I know, you need those awesome new pants. You're not alone. On average, Australians are spending $44 per week on clothing and shoes, with the lowest spend in QLD and the highest in ACT.
That's not to say that quality clothes aren't worth the money; better garments will last longer, when properly cared for. Still, shopping strategically can pay off.
For example, buy your next jacket when the weather is heating up, buy your sandals when it’s getting cold.
Purchasing off-season is a great way to pay less on an item you love. I know that means you risk something you really want selling out. But think about it, will you still wake up the next morning? If so, then don’t worry about missing out on it.
Another suggestion – read your clothes' tags. Proper washing of your clothes will keep colours and fabrics looking their best for as long as possible.
This is the end of Part 1...
In Part 2 (coming next week) we will discuss how to ensure your hard work doesn’t just dissolve into the woodwork of life. SEE your results doing amazing things to stay motivated.
Director | Head Income Organiser
My Income Organiser