There are thousands of ways to save money, more than we could fit in the one article! We still want to announce on loudspeaker all our tips to save money. Rather than provide a 10,000 word thesis on saving money, we will break down our tips into parts. So Part 1, our most important money saving tips!
1. Invest in timer switches! We could say turn off all the power points in your home when you are not using appliances, but we know that it isn’t always front of mind! Timer Switches can take the hassle out for you and help you save energy and therefore money!
Now you wouldn’t use a timer switch in all power points to help you save money, that wouldn’t be practicable, however a timer switch on energy intensive full power boards (how many plugs do you have running your home entertainment system or computer desk!) that cuts the power say overnight, can save a lot money.
How can this save money? Appliances on standby still use power, in fact even the phone chargers that you leave plugged in use a small amount of power! A quick google search has timer switches for around $10. Ok so you have spent an extra $10 buying the switch, how long until you start saving money? Choice reviewed appliances in in 20111 and found some interesting results. Choice found that the highest standby power items for typical entertainment devices cost a household around $80 per year. Spend $10 to save say $40 (half a day of standby) over a year, seems like a good investment! Interestingly, the humble modem had one of the highest standby energy costs of all appliances tested! Turn your modem off at night!
2. Rewards Programs! Everyone likes something for nothing, but normally rewards programs make you do a lot for a little! What about the everyday items, food, fuel, household items etc.? These are items we need to buy and buy regularly. Whatever you think about Coles and Woolworths, we are pretty dependent on these two conglomerates to provide our daily needs. Used to being asked, ‘do you have Flybuys or Everyday Rewards’ and always think, ‘I should join that.’ Well maybe you should! It is an easy way to save money simply by doing what you already do!
How can this save me money? Let’s focus purely on the cash redemption feature of Flybuys and Everyday Rewards (we want to save money, not use our points to buy more things that we don’t need!). The average Australian family (for this example we will use couple with children between 5 – 14) spends around $417 per week on typical household items2 or around $21,684 per year. This is conservative and only includes a fraction of the places reward points accrue. This spend will result in around $100 per year in redeemed Flybuys cash and around $110 from Everyday Rewards! Most of us spend a lot more than $417 per week on household items, so the return could be much higher.
3. Don’t shop hungry or without a list! While we are talking about major grocery outlets, a person’s hunger level can actually influence the amount they spend during a grocery shop! Studies have shown that a hungry person buys more food than someone who is not hungry. In addition, a recent study by Cornell University found that people who shop hungry buy more high calorie foods. Want to save money? Eat a vegemite sandwich before you shop and you will save your wallet and your waist! Additionally, make a shopping list and stick to it! How many times have you thrown in the packet of double-coat Tim Tams and thought, it’s alright! Or how often do you throw groceries out that you haven’t used. Take a small amount of time to plan your weekly shop, make a list and stick to it!
A family spending $250 per week on food, by reducing the weekly food bill by 5% ($12.50 per week) saves a family $650 per annum!
4. Sleep on it! Advertisers thrive on impulse and we are all suckers to it! I constantly have to tell Mrs Money Geek not to get sucked in by the yellow price tags! Again studies have shown that our unconscious mind is a powerful decision processor and sleeping on a decision can improve the outcome. No matter how shiny the new 84-inch plasma TV is; next time you are thinking of spending big on an impulse purchase – delay your decision for a day and see if it is still as important or as sensible.
5. Compare your financial products! This money saving tip is a whole article on its own, but always an easy one. Think credit cards, mortgage, loans, insurance, utilities the list goes on. It isn’t always a good idea to switch credit cards every couple of months (your credit rating won’t look as good), but choose a time of the year and compare what is available (for example tax time). Taking the time to search and compare products could save you money. Found a cheaper product? Make sure if you do switch that the features are suitable, but if you don’t want to go through the process of changing products, use the rates that you have found and call your current provider to seek a discount. It is much cheaper to retain a customer than to find another!
6. Leave your Credit Cards at home! All good comparing credit cards to find a lower rate, however if it is continually maxed out then you have more pressing spending problems! It is way too easy to spend money on credit and not know what the balance is until the end of the month. Small amounts of spending add up deceptively quick! Keep your credit cards out of your wallet and leave them in a safe place at home. You won’t impulse buy and you will only use your credit card when you really need to.
7. Use Cash for day to day spending. Good, you have left your Credit Card at home, but don’t be tempted by the EFTPOS/debit card. It is still way too easy to spend money and drain your account to zero. Build your budget and withdrawal the sums that you need. Want to allocate yourself $100 a week to spend? Take that out of the bank and pay cash. It may seem a little old-fashioned, but seeing the money in your wallet gives you a better idea what you have spent and what you have left.
We have hundreds of savings tips (some wacky, out of the box ideas too!) and this is just the first part! Read on to our Money Saving Tips Part 2.
About the Author – The Money Geek
The Money Geek is the head money blogger for MoneyGeek.com.au. With over 8 years experience in the finance industry, the Money Geek provides information over a range of topics to help families Australia-wide improve their financial literacy to become their own geeks and take control of their financial future!