It is easy to think, when we look at our bank balances, “I work too hard to be this poor”; but next time you think that, remind yourself of the harsh reality that money doesn’t disappear. The reason there is less money in your account then you feel you are worth is because, simply put, you spent it.

The general reaction when we say this to people though, is a slew of excuses as to how much the cost of living has gone up, fuelled by claims of the same nature from our politicians.

But if we crunch the CPI numbers, you might be a little surprised.

In the past year, food and non-alcoholic beverages have risen a measly 1.1%, furnishings, household equipment and services 0.1%, though we saw increases also in health and education, clothing and footwear and transport decreased by a combined 0.8%.

Compare this to wages increasing by 3.1% and Australia is starting to look like a pretty affordable place to live.

More often then not, budgeting problems come from non-essentials, and therefore we can end up with a lot more in our pocket at the end of the day if we stop purchasing these sorts of items.

For example, we complain about paying $1.50 a litre for petrol, but when it comes to paying $2.50 for a 330ml bottle of water we don’t bat an eyelid.

So the bad news is, we are wasting a lot of money and it is making us worse off. The good news is, there are lots of ways that we can save a lot more of our hard-earned cash for things that we REALLY need/want.

Here are some tips on how to save money, without missing out!

  • Ditch the bottled water, buy a reusable bottle and get water out of a tap for free
  • Cut down on takeaway- only eat out if it is a special occasion
  • Cut down on takeaway coffee, if you buy one $4 coffee every day at work, could be spending over $1000 a year!
  • Pack your own lunch for work- buying a sandwich every day at work could be costing you around $2000 a year!
  • Make a list before you go grocery shopping, that way you will cut down your impulse buys! (Also, don’t do groceries hungry, you are more likely to buy unhealthy or expensive food)
  • Do you really need the gym? Gym memberships can be up to nearly $80 a fortnight, if you don’t go, you might as well have flushed the money down the loo, try going for a run when you are inspired instead
  • Use public transport- it isn’t the most fun, and yes ticket prices are going up, but by far less then the cost of parking, particularly in Brisbane city!
  • Cut down on alcohol and cigarettes, as well as being very bad for you and those around you, alcohol and tobacco products rose 4% in the past year, buying 2 beers every Friday after work can cost you over $600 a year (Just for two a week! And it is even more for spirits)
  • To keep electricity bills low, turn lights and appliances off when not in use- and think of the environment and your wallet before you throw everything in the dryer
  • For the ladies- next time you want to get a facial or manicure, think about doing this at home yourself- it can be a lot of fun! (especially if you have daughters/friends to do it with!) and will always be cheaper then a visit to the beautician
  • Look for cheaper recreation options, the average Australian family spends $161 a week on recreation, think about renting a DVD instead of taking the kids to the movies, or doing a day trip to the beach instead of the shops
  • Search for the best prices- online shopping has means that now, if you want a premium product, you can usually find it a lot cheaper online then in the shops, in saying that though, Kmart, Target and Big W offer essentials that won’t break the budget
  • Wash the car yourself instead of taking it to a carwash- pick a nice sunny morning to show your vehicle some love
  • Keep your change, change has a tendency to sit in our wallet until it gets heavy, then some unsuspecting barista gets $4 worth of 5c pieces; instead, take the change out of your wallet and put it in a jam jar, when the jar is full you can put it in the change machine at the bank and you might get a nice surprise as to how much it adds up to!

Another handy hint, particularly for those casually employed, is to think before you buy something how long it took you to earn that money (think- six hours for those boots), would you give up the equivalent leisure time for the item? If the answer is no, then you probably don’t need it.

Remember- if you ever need help keeping track of your spendings it can help to keep a little diary, but we are always here for regular meetings if you need some support saving!

Happy savings all!


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