David & Libby 19 quick ways to save $100
We all want to cut costs. You can save a bundle with a few simple tips.
THE average Australian is the second richest person in the world behind the average Swiss. But it sure doesn’t seem like it.
While superannuation and property values have had good gains, slow wage growth has meant our income growth to pay bills has been subdued.
Every dollar counts. So here are 19 ways that can each save at least $100. And maybe lots more.
1. DON’T BUY BOTTLED WATER
The great First World waste of money. Why pay $4 a bottle, more than you do for a litre of petrol, when you can turn on a tap and get it for free. Crazy.
2. RING THE BANK FOR A DISCOUNT
They can only say no … but they’ll probably say OK. Especially if you have insurance, credit cards and investments with the bank. You’re a valuable customer and therefore should get at least a 0.5 per cent discount on the advertised variable home loan rate. It will save thousands of dollars.
3. WAIT A DAY AFTER DECIDING TO BUY SOMETHING
In other words, never buy on impulse. You’ll be amazed, by taking the extra 24 hours, how often you decide not to go through with the transaction.
4. USE COUPONS AND SHOPPER DOCKETS
There are bargain discounts right in front of you which we hardly ever use – such as on the back of supermarket receipts. There are great deals if you look.
5. CALL FREE
Forget about finding the best long-distance or international phone plan, download apps like Skype and WhatsApp and call friends and relatives for free.
6. FORGO TAKEAWAY COFFEE
Grab a free coffee from home or the work kitchen instead of your $3.50 latte from the local cafe. Save $20 a week, $80 a month, $1000 a year. It adds up.
7. SHOP SMART
Anything at eye level on supermarket shelves is more expensive than products at your toes or above your head. Eye-level shelves are prime spots and producers pay supermarket more for it.
8. REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE
Never automatically pay a renewal, always compare and ask for a better deal. Save by having your house, car and life insurance with the same company. Increase the excess if you are struggling to pay your premiums but never cut the level of coverage.
9. GET RID OF CREDIT
Switch to a debit credit card and avoid interest charges and late fees. Debit credit cards let you use credit card facilities but only let you to spend your own money so you can’t go into debt.
10. TAKE LUNCH TO WORK
It’s hard to buy a sandwich and a drink for less than $10. Plan ahead when you do the weekly grocery shop and take a packed lunch to work. Save $50 a week, $200 a month, $10,000 a year.
11. BUY SECONDHAND
You can save a fortune buying secondhand clothes, furniture and toys. Online sites like eBay or Gumtree help you search, view, bid and buy virtually anything … at a bargain.
12. CUT ENERGY COSTS
Cut electricity bill by installing energy-efficient or fluorescent bulbs, unplugging the second fridge and using drying racks instead of the clothes dryer. Wear a jumper and turn the heating down.
13. GET COOKING
Be aware of the price of convenience and takeaway foods. You are probably better off cooking than buying frozen meals for the family or things like pre-packaged salads and chopped veggies.
14. BUY OUT OF SEASON
Refrigerators are like swimsuits – when the temperature goes down, so do prices. Also watch for “grand openings” as well as beginning and end-of-season sales, which can offer discounts of 50 per cent or more. It takes planning but buy fridges and airconditioners in winter and heaters in summer. Potential savings: $50 to $200 each item.
15. CONSOLIDATE DEBT
If you’ve amassed $5000 or more in credit-card or other unsecured debt, consider bundling it into a home loan, if you’re certain you can afford to pay down that loan. On a balance of $10,000, you could save more than $2000 in interest over five years.
16. VOLUME EQUALS SAVINGS
Cut 40 per cent or more from food bills when buying in bulk at wholesalers and markets. For fruit and vegetables, form a shopping co-op with friends and do a deal with a local greengrocer to buy in bulk.
17. GO WITH THE FLOW
Low-flow shower heads are great energy and water savers. Most hotels use them to cut water costs and they are widely available for home bathrooms.
18. READ LABELS
Buy washable clothes. Drycleaning costs can double the purchase price of clothing.
19. BE SAVVY WITH TRAVEL
Travel discounters buy blocks of “room nights” from hotels and airlines and pass on 20-50 per cent savings. Take advantage of off-peak deals, especially outside school holidays. And use websites where hotels offload vacant rooms at short notice for big savings.
Artwork: TERRY PONTIKOS