With Christmas just around the corner, it’s an easy time to overspend. Here are some tips to save money leading up to the festive season.
Look to reduce your Bills
Most of us have experienced an increase in interest rates over the last couple of years. One way to reduce costs here is to contact your bank and see if they can give you a better rate on your mortgage, as some providers will offer interest rate discounts to retain your business. Alternatively, you can speak to a mortgage broker to see if there is a better deal available to you. When comparing your options, don’t just consider the advertised rate, rather look at the comparison rate. This includes any associated loan fees and are a real indication of what you will pay. Be aware there are costs in refinancing, so you need to decide if the potential cost savings outweigh the costs involved in switching loans.
Review your insurances, shop around and get quotes but make sure you are comparing like for like on the policies. Speak to an insurance broker to see if there are ways you can reduce costs, such as increasing your excess or removing benefits you do not need.
Electricity bills, for the most, increase over the summer period as we try to keep cool, however here are a few options to reduce the shock at bill time.
- Appliances that remain on standby or chargers that are constantly plugged in consume energy, so switching them off or unplugging them will save power and money.
- Turn off your lights when you leave the room or replace them with a more energy-efficient option.
- Clean your filters. When was the last time you cleaned the filters on your air conditioners or lint out of your dryer? Regular cleaning will help them work more efficiently, reducing costs.
- Check your fridge and freezer – are the coils dust-free and seals intact? When replacing appliances look for more energy-efficient options. Read reviews and compare prices and energy efficiency to get the right appliance for you.
Save Money on Groceries
- Shop with a list and stick to it. I like using online shopping as it allows me to easily see the weekly specials and not throw in that extra packet of biscuits that I saw at the checkout.
- Use fruit and veg that are in season – these will be fresher and cheaper.
- Meal Planning allows you to save money and time. Create a few meals that use similar ingredients to minimise food wastage.
- Consider meals that you can prep ahead of time. Cook extra and freeze. These come in handy on the days when you are too busy or tired to cook. All you need to do is reheat. This is a healthier and cheaper option to takeaways.
- Investigate Grocery Store Reward systems. These can provide you with additional discounts, fuel savings and points that can be exchanged for rewards such as gift cards.
- Check out your local Council website for what is on in your community – there will be a range of free activities no matter your age.
- Join your local library. Libraries have moved on with the times and have the ability to download eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines. They also have a number of activities for kids during school holidays.
- Be a tourist at home. Check out your local tourist information centre and explore your local area. How many of us never get out and explore our own backyard unless we have out-of-town visitors?
- Pack a picnic. Save on takeaways and pack a picnic on your adventures.
- Catching up with friends. Christmas time is all about family and friends. Instead of going out to a restaurant or for drinks have everyone meet up and bring a plate. In true Aussie style have a BBQ – many of our local beaches and parks have free BBQ facilities.
- Gifts – they do not need to cost the earth, even if your love language is giving. Consider having a Secret Santa where you can purchase one larger present for one person rather than buying gifts for several people. You may not spend as much per gift for the many, but it can add up quickly. Have a challenge to make gifts instead of buying them. You could get your craft on, but if you are not crafty, utilise your other skills. Provide vouchers for services such as babysitting (how many parents would like a night off from the kids for a date night?), jobs around the home such as cleaning, washing cars, gardening, maintenance or a taxi voucher where you will act as a personal taxi service to pick up kids or be a designated driver for a night out.
On the Go
We all have done it, it’s a busy day so I will grab a coffee on the way to work, there’s $5, and then I buy lunch, that is another $15. If I do that all week that’s $100. Over a whole year that adds up to more than $5,000! Even if you replace just a couple of lunches a week with meals from home and buy a coffee every second day you could save over $2,000 a year.
By making a few small changes throughout the year you can save money, helping to avoid that New Year credit card hangover. Who knows you may even be able to start saving for your future goals. Happy Savings!
Katrina Dhu (MFinPlan, GradDipFinPlanC, DFS(FP), ADFS[FP]) is a representative of Alman Partners Pty Ltd, Australian Financial Services Licence No: 222107.
Any information provided to you was purely factual in nature. It has not been taken into account your personal objectives, situation or needs. The information is objectively ascertainable and is not intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. This does not constitute financial product advice under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). It is recommended that you obtain financial product advice before making any decision on a financial product such as a decision to purchase or invest in a financial product. Please contact us if you would like to obtain financial product advice.