70 Easy Ways to Save Money in 2016

Co-author: James Hurwood
Saving money is one of the top New Year resolutions each year. It’s also an easy resolution to break though!

So if you’ve made a vow to save money in 2016 – and don’t want your good intentions to fall by the wayside – help keep yourself on track with these 70 possible ways to save:

  1. Have a written budget. Really – the easiest way to cut your costs is to know where you are spending your money. Having a written budget and tracking your expenses to ensure that it’s accurate is half the budgetary battle.
  2. Get your partner on board. If you have a partner then making sure that you’re both communicating and agreeing about your financial priorities is important.
  3. Write a weekly meal menu to save many hundreds of $ per annum. Doing one large shop rather than several small ones cuts down on impulse buys, takeaway and wastage.
  4. Also make your own “takeaway” by cooking double potions and freezing half. Casseroles, bolognaise sauce, curries, lasagne and soup all freeze well.
  5. Along with that, use an app. It’s easy to keep a running shopping list on your Smartphone. Shopshop is one example of an easy-to-use shopping list.
  6. Buy a coffee machine. Enough said!
  7. Taking a cut lunch to work could potentially save you over $1,000 per annum.
  8. If you have children, then making school lunches at home rather than using the tuckshop could save hundreds of dollars as well.
  9. Washing your own car can save around $45 – or more – each time. If you have a dog, wash Fido as well!
  10. Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees – they can be $10 or more per bill. Paying your bills on time is also a great way to keep your credit record clean. If you struggle with your bills, set up a regular repayment amount to even out the cashflow.
  11. Monitor your bank balance to avoid paying overdrawn fees, ensure that the interest rate is correct and that you have not been charged for purchases you didn’t make.
  12. If you owe money on your credit card, check what interest rate you are paying. Credit card interest rates can vary from less than 10% to more than 22% and on a $3,000 ongoing debt, that difference could save you more than $300 per annum.
  13. Phone your bank and ask for a discount on your mortgage interest rate. Even a 0.15% discount could save thousands over the life of your loan!
  14. Shop around for your car insurance. The cost of a comprehensive insurance policy can vary by over one thousand dollars per annum!
  15. Health insurance can be another great place to make savings; even a 10% saving on an average package policy premium would be more than $300 per annum.
  16. Do a stocktake of your wardrobe – you may be surprised how many clothes you already have – and update with new accessories rather than new outfits.
  17. Sell pre-loved items on eBay to help fund new purchases. Alternatively, spring clean your home and have a garage sale.
  18. Speaking of online, there are plenty of online puchasing options as well!
  19. When buying instore, using lay-by instead of credit helps prevent both impulse buys and expensive debt!
  20. Try working off cash only. No credit, no EFTPOS. Simply with draw the cash you need for the week, and make it last. And always ask for a discount!
  21. Review your personal insurance; your life, total and permanent disability, trauma and income protection insurance. Some of them can be paid via your superannuation fund – is it a practical option for your needs?
  22. Audit your bank accounts to ensure that you are not paying fees. If you are, there are plenty of fee-free options available.
  23. File your receipts to maximise your tax deductions for the current financial year and while it’s too late for 12/13, pay all your tax deductible expenses before June 30 next year.
  24. Also, pay as many tax deductible expenses as possible in the name of the higher income earner. A $1,000 expense for someone on a 19% tax rate would result in a $190 refund; a $1,000 expense for someone on 37% tax rate would result in a $370 refund!
  25. Join a net-based budgeting club. While they may have a membership fee, websites such as www.cheapskates.com.au or www.simplesavings.com.au can provide tips, discussions and inspiration for those wanting to learn how to budget.
  26. Update your telecommunications contracts. There are hundreds of different telecommunications plans available. Review your periodically to ensure that it’s cost effective.
  27. Think before you call. Could you use a landline rather than mobile? Could you send an email instead? Use your cheapest option!
  28. Review your electricity and gas options as well. Being on the wrong plan could be costing you. Also make small changes such as washing your laundry in cold water and drying clothes on the line.
  29. Review your superannuation fund. A small difference in fees and/or return can make a big difference to your retirement nest egg.
  30. Start a coin jar! Throwing your silver and gold into a (non-opening) coin jar each day can build up very quickly.
  31. Use your local library. Books, ebooks, magazines and DVDs are all available for free.
  32. Reduce your vices. Do you smoke? Drink? Have an addiction to coffee? Whatever your vice, make a conscious effort to cut back. Healthy and wealthy – a double benefit!
  33. One in three working Australians have lost track of some of their superannuation, to the tune of around $18 billion. Track it down your lost super to potentially increase your retirement nest egg by thousands of dollars. Phone the ATO on 13 28 65.
  34. You may also have lost money sitting in bank accounts, company shares or life insurance policies. You can search for unclaimed money on ASIC’s consumer website. https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/tools-and-resources/find-unclaimed-money
  35. Next time you fill a prescription at the chemist, consider buying the generic version. They are chemically equivalent but usually cost less.
  36. Check your calendar well in advance for upcoming birthdays. Planning ahead can save money on those last-minute gift purchases.
  37. Ensure that you and your partner are registered as a family for the medicare safety net, rather than as two individuals. This will lower your Medicare safety net threshold.
  38. Just say no. Don’t feel pressured by friends, kids or colleagues into spending money you don’t have. It’s okay to say “no” now and then!
  39. If all else fails and you love impulse buying, calculate how many hours of work it takes to earn the purchase price of an unnecessary item you’re considering. It’s an easy way to sort the impulse buys from the real wants!
  40. Get help. If you are in financial strife, take advantage of the free financial counselling service available in every state. The Financial Counselling Australia website http://www.financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au/Home has a list of financial counselling organisations around Australia.
  41. Be vigilant around electronics. If you’re feeling bored don’t turn on the television; pick up a book or something non-electronic. If you get into the habit of avoiding electronics you could save major dollars on your electricity bill.
  42. Customer rewards. Sign up for as many free customer rewards programs as you possibly can – provided they ARE free! Think about stores where you commonly do your shopping and find out if they have a rewards program; you can receive discounts, cashback benefits, or other rewards.
  43. Don’t make big purchases instantly. Implement the 30-day rule, and wait for 30 days before making any non-necessary big purchase. It’ll help you avoid impulse buys, and in turn will save you money.
  44. Your house is a bar in itself. Planning to catch up with friends? Going out can wreak havoc on your spending, so why not just invite them over? You’ll save money, and probably still have a great time.
  45. Don’t be so quick to trash things. If your shirt or jeans pop a button or tear/rip, see if they can be mended before making the decision to throw them out. You’ll save money and learn how to fix clothes if you haven’t already.
  46. Children are easily entertained. If you’ve got small children, you don’t need to spend big money for them to have a great time. Playing in your backyard with them, going for a walk, or going to the park; all of these are free ways to have fun with your kid.
  47. Drink more water. Drinking water is much cheaper than buying soft drink, juice, coffee, or alcohol – and it’s also better for you. That’s a win/win.
  48. Install energy-efficient light bulbs. Changing out your old light bulbs for LED bulbs can save you a fair amount of money over the course of the year. They’re more efficient, don’t heat up, and can last for decades.
  49. Clean your car’s air filter. If your air filter is dirty and clogged, cleaning it can improve your car’s performance and fuel efficiency by up to 10%, which will save you heaps of money on petrol.
  50. Learn how to cope with stress without spending. Buying things can be an easy way to relieve stress (believe us, we know), but it’s not good for your wallet or your mental state. Find a healthy and sustainable way to relieve stress and both your mind and your wallet will thank you.
  51. Cancel memberships you don’t use. If you’ve got a gym membership, sports club membership, or something similar that you’re paying for but not using, cancel that ASAP. You’re just throwing money away.
  52. Generic brands. Next time you go to the supermarket, consider buying the cheaper generic-brand version of some of the things on your list. There’s generally little to no difference in quality, but a significant difference in price. Also think about switching supermarkets to save some dollars.
  53. The 10-second rule. At the supermarket or corner store, whenever you add an impulse or luxury item to your cart, stop for 10 seconds and think about why you’re buying it and whether you need it or not.
  54. Bottle your own water. There’s something satisfying about bottled water, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy a new bottle every day. Buy the bottle and then subsequently refill it from a tap or water cooler.
  55. Eat more vegetables. When it comes to meat versus veggies, the latter is both cheaper and more nutritionally valuable. We’re not saying go vegetarian, but eating less meat and more vegetables will help out your weekly budget.
  56. Catch a bus. If possible, try and take public transport as much as possible. It can work out much cheaper than driving and it’ll significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
  57. Check your tyres. For every two PSI under recommended level in your tyres your car is 1% less fuel efficient. Keep your tyres pumped up and save money on petrol. Also empty out your car. If you’ve got lots of heavy stuff in your boot, get it outta there ASAP. The heavier your car the more petrol it needs to move, making it less fuel efficient.
  58. Go to free events. If you’re stuck looking for something to do on a sleepy weekend, look around for free events such as a farmers market or a free concert in a park. Many neighborhoods will have similar events going on at least semi-regularly.
  59. Keep things in working order. What’s more expensive: a $100 repair person or a $500 washing machine? If you answered with the latter, congratulations, you’re correct. Keeping appliances in order instead of writing them off as broken can save you serious bucks.
  60. Choose energy-efficient appliances. Another note about those appliances we mentioned earlier; when it does come to buying a new one, try and find the most energy efficient one you can. It’ll save you money on your electricity bill.
  61. Wait for sales. If you desperately want new clothes or something that could be expensive, see if you can wait for sales before buying it.
  62. Delete credit card numbers from PayPal. If you use an online payment service like PayPal, delete your stored credit card numbers from your account. That means when you want to buy something you’ll have to get out your credit card and re-enter your details, and that may give you enough time to reconsider your purchase.
  63. Go grocery shopping on a full stomach. Studies show that hunger may cause you to buy extra or unnecessary items while doing your weekly grocery shop. Save money by eating beforehand.
  64. Frozen veggies. Contrary to what seems like popular belief, frozen vegetables aren’t less nutritious than their fresh counterparts, but they are usually cheaper. Frozen peas are a particularly good choice.
  65. Keep spare change in mind. We have a tendency to forget about the silver coins we’re left with after a lot of purchases. Round them all up at the end of the week and use them to pay for something small you were going to buy like a coffee.
  66. Use your car efficiently. If you need to shop at several places over the weekend, do it all in one sweep rather than individual trips. You’ll save money and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time.
  67. Car pool when you can. Going out for dinner or to your friend’s house? Any trips better with friends right? And it’ll save you spending big bucks on petrol…
  68. Clean off the top of your fridge. Poor ventilation can make your fridge less energy efficient, costing you more on your electricity bill.
  69. Designate yourself. Offer to be the designated driver more often on a night out. You’ll save money by not drinking, and help your friends stay safe.
  70. Do the stuff on this list. I’m serious! It’s one thing to read a list of savings tips – but if you really do want to save money, you actually need to follow the advice. So get on it.

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