Each year I like to go through my spending and see where I have or can make a difference.
The interesting thing is that every year, I find an old habit that’s crept back in that needs readjusting or a totally new way to spend less and save more money.
Before you start reviewing your spending, use the Spending Reports in the Manage my Spending dashboard to get a feel for how much you’re spending and where. Taking part in the Spending Shakedown program is another great way to highlight overspending and the best ways to take action to adjust it.
Here I share the best 10 money savers from my last review. With only a little effort on my part, they will equate to a little over $8,500.
Grocery Savings $1,800 per year
We talk about grocery hacks a lot. That’s for a variety of reasons, but mainly because it’s one of the regular discretionary spends that is in our control. By being a little clever, a lot more prepared, and taking a consistent approach, it’s often possible to reduce your grocery spend, sometimes substantially.
This is how I plan on reducing mine this year.
#1 Using my 10% off discount, monthly at Woolworths. I got this by purchasing a SIM-only $150 phone plan for my teenage daughter. With 5 adult-size eaters in the house, I will easily do a big shop of $500 at the beginning of each month saving $50 each month.
#2 Purchasing e-Gift Cards through my Entertainment book membership. Woolworths eGift Cards can be purchased at a 4% discount. Use them to do my $500 shop above and pay $480 for the e-Gift Cards saving me another $20 per month.
#3 Checking the supermarket catalogues and planning my meals from the ½ price specials that week.
#4 Knowing the times my local supermarket marks down their bread and meat products. This generally saves me $20-$30 per week.
#5 Purchasing Gift cards and receiving a 3% discount through membership programs. Living near a supermarket makes it our convenience store, and we easily spend $100 per week there. The purchase of Gift cards gives us a savings of $12 per month.
Health Insurance Savings $910
In October last year, I stopped procrastinating on doing a review of my health insurance. We compared a number of funds and then contacted ours to negotiate. We did this because we were very happy with them over the last five years.
As a result of my call – I was immediately given one month free, This was a saving of about $550 for the month. In addition, we did a review of our policy and as a result, our premium decreased by about $20 per month rather than increasing by $10.
Car Insurance Savings $150
We regularly review our car insurance policies because we’ve learnt that loyalty to a particular insurer generally doesn’t pay. We also look for opportunities to get savings on groceries through insurers like Woolworths. This year we switched insurers and saved $150 a year on the premium and qualified for discount groceries..
Credit Card Savings $311
This was a bit of a funny one. We wanted to cancel our credit card before the annual fee was charged. So, we did, and in the meantime, we took another one out that had a deal where if you spent $3,000 over the first 2 months you would get $500 in vouchers of your choice. After we took off the $99 annual fee and $90 additional cardholder fee, we were $311 ahead. We never pay interest, and our intention is to close the card before the annual fee is charged again at the end of this year.
Coffee coffee coffee $2,000
They say everyone has at least one vice. In our household, it’s a caffeine addiction for sure. It’s well worth the money when it makes for a more pleasant morning and especially important now with multiple people working and studying from home.
About 10 years ago we did the maths. We had a 2 take away coffee habit per day per person and 3 children who wanted in on the action in the form of babycinos on the weekend. We worked out that purchasing a coffee machine and dropping one take away coffee each per workday & both on the weekends would save us a whopping $4,200.
Spending $1,500 on a good quality machine and grinder and paying $30 per kg for 3 weeks’ worth of coffee meant that we were well and truly ahead within about 4 months.
BUT even with a coffee machine old habits started creeping back in. So, this year we challenged ourselves to make some changes….and we did!
I have now dropped to one coffee a day, 5 of those days at home and 2 take away coffees a week on the back of exercising with mates. My partner has 2 a week, one each day he works in the office. This is taking us back to when we bought our machine and saving us approx. $40 a week compared to last year.
Challenging how we spend our spare time $500
We have children who are getting older and we were starting to have more time on our hands. We have now discovered bushwalking, a new love that’s developed over the last six months. This has had the multi-pronged benefit of giving us more exercise and making it more challenging to head out for brunches or other money-spending activities on the weekend.
Now we were never really people that went out to eat a lot, but we were definitely starting to head out more often with our newfound spare time. Even with the initial investments for bushwalking, like good quality boots and bug spray, we would have spent at least $500 less over the last six months.
Mortgage Interest $1,200
I’ve heard such great stories about how much people have saved on their mortgage interest. Sadly, for me, the majority of my mortgage is on a fixed rate – roll on November and a mortgage review.
Even so, contacting my bank and asking for a reduced rate on the variable portion of my mortgage over the last twelve months, firstly got me a 0.25% discount and then a further 0.15% giving some relief to my interest bill.
As an aside, we now offer mortgage reviews at MoneyBrilliant. So, get in touch for a discussion about finding the cheapest rate. And if you decide to switch banks, we can also help with that by acting as your broker.
Public transport $400
In MoneyBrilliant this category covers things like taxis and ubers, as well as buses and trains.
We often find if this category creeps up we are being a little lazy – so we have recommitted to walking to or from work the days in the office, saving at least $4.00 per day. For now, doing this twice a week saves $8.00 which adds up over the year.
Depending on where you live, you might have access to CityCycles or Lime Scooters. These can also quickly add to your public transport bill, so whilst you should take advantage of these compared to getting in a taxi or uber, just be mindful of the time you use them for and take advantage of any free deals (in Brisbane, you can use a CityCycle for free for the first 30 minutes).
Downgrading your transport is a great way to continually save money. Downgrade driving and parking to public transport, public transport to a bike, and a bike to walking. Over time you can make significant savings.
I’ve included this because it can be a money saver for so many people and it is something we review often at our place. We are pretty on top of our subscriptions – but every now and again I like to do a check to make sure we are using everything we are paying for.
Today I can’t find any savings, but I checked in on our gym memberships, Netflix subscription, and our Apple Music subscription.
As a family of 5, we are pretty comfortable with our family plans, and they certainly all get a workout.
This is a bit of a cheeky one to include, however, we were in the market for a new car recently. We are a one-car family and after 10 years and lots of kilometres we needed to upgrade. As part of the process, we looked at what we would spend with our old car in the next 3 years and what we would spend with a new car.
We were at the point where over the next 12 months we would need to spend between $2,500 and $3,500 on services for a multitude of things like brakes and shock absorbers. We also spent between $50 and $70 per week on petrol.
So, we did the maths – Toyota had a sale with a minimum $3,000 trade-in, free services (not capped) for 3 years, free roadside assistance, and the car we had our eye on was a hybrid.
This is a challenging one to put a figure on because we spent about $30,000 to buy the car after trading in, but after 3 months we know we spend only around $25 per week on petrol, we just dropped our NRMA roadside policy which was $200 per year, and we are saving at least $3,000 in services over the next 18 months.
In petrol alone, we are saving around $35 per week by purchasing a hybrid car and using the MoneyBrilliant petrol alerts to always fill up at the bottom of the cycle.
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