Following our Tips to Save Money Part 1, saving a heap of cash and looking for the next set of tips to continue the downward trend in your spending, well look no further, our Money Geeks’ money saving tips continues in our second installment.
1. Do your tax properly! It has been reported in recent years that the average Australian claims around $3,300 per year in tax deductions. Based on average earnings, that is a reduction in tax payable of around $1100. News Limited has reported that the Australians are missing out on easy deductions of $436 per year, saving around $1301. Now even if it costs $130 to see the local tax agent, then at worst you have broken even and at best, you have paid less tax, saved money and probably learnt a few things!
2. Children cost a fortune – make it less of a fortune (without having less kids!) I know for a fact mini-MoneyGeek is entertained by the smallest of things! Against all MoneyGeek wisdom, I spend a fortune on toys for her 4th birthday and she spends the next 2 weeks playing with the boxes, leaving her toys in the corner! We all want to spoil our kids and it doesn’t come cheap with money burning out of the wallet. There is no need to spend a fortune on entertaining our kids, in fact I’d argue of this spending is wasted on underused toys and entertainment.
Spending $20 at an art and craft shop will entertain children a lot further than spending $50 at the movies or that again at the local indoor play centre. Don’t feel afraid or even guilty to spend less on entertaining children, they have an endless amount of imagination and will get more enjoyment from turning a box into a spaceship for zero cost rather than going into a sugar driven temper frenzy after eating a bag of lollies at an overpriced movie!
3. Buy a coffee machine! At the risk of turning off all our readers who own coffee shops, but this is a big one that needs addressing and I will explain this in my own experience. Australians consume on average 3kgs of coffee per annum (against a global average of 1.3kgs)2 and has one of the highest coffee shops per person in the world. We love our coffee, myself included and this comes at a cost. I’m yet to find a take-away coffee for under $3.50 and found myself gasping at coffee shop near Town Hall Station in Sydney when I was asked for almost $6! What did I do? I bought a coffee machine. Now everybody consumes differently and I “try” to limit myself to 1-2 cups per day, however after buying 1-2 cups per day for a number of years, I sat and asked myself how much am I spending? Well over a 5 year period, 5 days a week and 48 weeks per year, I spend anywhere between $4,200 and $8,400 on take-away coffee; or between $17 and $35 per week. I was somewhat surprised! So I took action and spent $200 on a coffee machine. What happened to my coffee spend? It dropped from around $25 per week to $4.50 per week (I admit I buy a sneaky coffee on a Saturday morning!). I admit, I work from home, so it is easier for me to make my own coffee, however if you are an employee, push for your employer to purchase one in the interests of productivity! If every employee spends 10 minutes out of the office purchasing a coffee everyday, based on average weekly total earnings3, it costs that employer $23 per week in lost productivity per employee! Buy a coffee machine and save money!
4. The sins! Alcohol and Cigarettes! Bad lifestyle habits help breed bad money habits! If health benefits is not enough to kick the habit, then I have two other reasons; money and tax! I’ll start with tax – nobody likes paying taxes, most think it is wasted dollars (I promise there are benefits of paying taxes), however did you know that for every cigarette purchased, 34.7c goes to the government in tax4. Smoke a packet of 25 per day and that is an extra $3,166 in tax that you are paying the government every year! Want to reduce the tax you pay… stop smoking! What about alcohol, well I’ll use beer as an example. The average Australian drinks around 100 litres of beer per year5 with an excise of around $1.50 per litre. Drink 100 litres and pay an extra $150 in taxes!
Tax is the least of the money saving problems of the commons sins! The average cost of a packet of cigarettes is around $15. A pack a day and you have lost $5,475. Add 12 cases of beer (100 litres) and you have spent another $540. We all have sins, but they are expensive!
5. Like your alcohol too much? Ok, giving up alcohol may be too much to bear for some. What are the low cost options that can help you save money. There are two; home brew and microbrew. This won’t work for spirits, it is illegal to distil in Australia and not practical to set up your own vineyard. Beer however is a different story. Microbrewries have become popular in recent years and provide a lower cost option. Downside, you need to do most of the work, however it can save money and can be a fulfilling way to spend your time. For those who are game to DIY, home brewing is even cheaper.
We’ll keep the tips coming and we want your comments to keep coming too! No matter how wacky or crazy, if you have a money saving tip, we want to hear it! Want more? Read our Money Saving Tips Part 3!
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!