Ten Steps to Cutting Everyday Costs
- Have a garage sale. Clean out your wardrobes, kitchen
cupboards, bookshelves and shed, and put aside anything you have
outgrown, not worn or used for twelve months, that your children
or boarder or the ex-owner left behind, and so on. You will get
money in your pocket and a tidy house!
- Save your coins. At the end of the day, put all your
loose change in a jar. These $1 and $2 coins will quickly mount
up to a sizeable amount that can be used to fill your car with
petrol or pay an unexpected bill.
- Reduce your bank charges. Do not use other bank’s
ATMs as the charge is much higher than using your own, and do
not exceed the number of ‘free’ transactions offered by your
own bank. Check your bank statements for unauthorised debits and
interest or fee overcharging – banks can and do make mistakes.
- Take your own lunch. Making up a sandwich or taking
leftovers to work, university or school will save, on average,
$15 to $30 a week.
- Cut up your credit card or at least limit the number of
your cards to one to save on annual fees.
- Shop wisely. Do your weekly food shopping at basic
supermarkets that are able to keep prices down by not spending
money on fancy shop fittings or neat shopping aisles.
Substantial savings can be made by buying in bulk (share the
cost with friends), buying generic or ‘no name’ brands, and
buying ‘specials’. Avoid buying from your corner store or
all-hours convenience stores as their prices for staple items
are much higher.
- Buy your clothes at bargain prices. Shop for clothes at
markets, opportunity shops, recycled clothing shops and discount
warehouses, or at seasonal sales. Don’t shop at random - know
exactly what you need and what colour and style will match your
- Do not waste water. Take short showers and wash clothes
in cold water. Wash only when you have a full load. Ensure that
there are no dripping taps or leaking pipes.
- Do not waste power. Switch off appliances when not in
use and switch off the lights in rooms not being used. Do not
use clothes dryers unless absolutely necessary – fresh air is
free! If you feel cold, put on an extra layer of warm clothing
instead of turning the heater on or up; if you feel hot, take
off a layer before turning air conditioning on. In winter, close
curtains and blinds to keep warmth in; in summer, open them to
let sunlight in. Monitor your bills as they come in, note any
increase in usage; if you can pinpoint the reason/s for the
increase, take action if possible to reduce your next bill.
- Cook your own meals. Take-away and restaurant food
takes a sizeable chunk out of any budget. If you currently buy
four meals a week, try cutting back to three, then two. You will
soon notice the extra money in your purse or wallet!
* These steps are discussed in more detail in Money
Management for Women by Sheila Freeman and Helene Richards.
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