Tips To Save Money On Your Household Expenses
This post is a collaboration between Parenting Central and Electricity Monster
I love being thrifty. I love saving money. Unnecessary spending or wasted money stresses me out. And we’ve lived reasonably well on a quite tight budget at different stages of our lives – so I think I’m pretty good at saving money around the house without feeling like we’re missing out.
Though I feel that writing about saving money on household expenses I have to acknowledge that it’s very expensive being broke. So I’ll admit some of these suggestions only work if you’re already doing pretty well, and wanting to just spend less. For example it’s all well and good for me to say shop around with your groceries, and go to the local markets and buy cheap seasonal vegetables. But if you’re in a position where you can’t afford to run a car then that is not an option.
So I just have to acknowledge before I dive in that this is a bit of a “middle class” version of how to save money.
Audit Your Household Spending
The first thing I think that you need to do if you want to cut back on your spending is work out exactly where your money is going. Because there’s no point cutting back in areas you’re not really spending a lot of money on in the first place. Sure a store bought coffee might be an unnecessary expense, but if you’re only buying one a month it’s probably not really a big deal.
Personally I think creating an excel spreadsheet is a great way to do this but you can totally do this with pen and paper too.
Look at your bank statements – where are you spending money? Groceries, entertainment, eating out, alcohol, clothing.
Also look at all your bills including (but not limited to) water, electricity, gas, telco, car repayments, insurances, school/kinder fees. Everything.
Now, what are your biggest expenses? Which of these expenses are fixed? What of your fixed expenses can be renegotiated or changed to a better deal? What can you cut back on? If something super obvious jumps out at you – great! If not, keep reading and I’ll share some tips to shave back some of the bigger household expenses.
Spend Less On Electricity
The biggest users of energy in most homes are cooling and heating, hot water system, washer and dryer and lighting. So obviously using things less will use less electricity and save you money. Simple, right? But I know it’s far easier said than done, especially with kids who don’t turn off lights when they leave the room!
You can also reduce your power bills by reducing what you pay for your electricity usage by checking out Electricity Monster to make sure you have the best deal on electricity rates from a range of suppliers.
- Adjust your thermostat a couple of degrees warmer in summer and a couple of degrees cooler in winter so you’re heating and cooling your house less.
- Reduce the temperature on your hot water system to 60 degrees.
- Put a timer in the shower to help reduce your hot water usage.
- Air dry clothes. When our dryer broke a few years ago we were SHOCKED by how much not having it reduced our power usage.
- Buy energy efficient appliances. This is another example of how being broke is expensive, because you generally pay more for efficiency – but you save money in the long run.
Save Money Food and Groceries
Firstly, when you look at your total food spending don’t forget to include ALL your food spending. So you might do a $100 grocery shop – fantastic – but if you’re buying lunch a couple of days a week, and popping back into the supermarket for a couple of items every other day, it can all add up FAST.
It also might be worth doing a mini-audit of your groceries and see what you’re spending most of your food budget on.
Menu plan. Menu plan. Menu plan. Menu plan. MENU PLAN! DO NOT WALK INTO A SUPERMARKET WITHOUT A SHOPPING LIST AND A PLAN. Got it? Good.
- Pack your lunch for work. Whether it’s a sandwich or leftovers, or even a premade microwaveable meal, soup or salad from the supermarket, it’ll still be cheaper than buying out in most cases.
- Eat less meat. Meat can be such an expensive component of your grocery bill, especially if you’re buying expensive cuts. If you’re eating a lot of meat then cutting back isn’t just good for your wallet, it’s also beneficial to your health and the planet. One great resource of ideas for cutting back on meaty meals is Meat Free Mondays.
- Give Aldi a go. Without question the biggest change to our grocery budget has been switching to Aldi rather than shopping at Woolworths or Coles. In some instances I find even fresh produce is cheaper at Aldi compared to going to a green grocer. They don’t necessarily stock EVERYTHING though, so I do still sometimes have to pop into another supermarket for a couple of extra items.
- Avoid the centre aisles. Especially in Aldi… I mean… do you NEED those snow boots? Though in a regular supermarket the fresh produce, bread and dairy etc. re located around the perimeter, and the packaged food is in the centre. Generally speaking fresh food is cheaper by volume than packaged food – though there are definitely some exceptions. Things like flour, rice, pasta and some cereals are obviously pretty inexpensive food options.
Reduce Your Telecommunications Bill
These days telco can be one of the biggest expensive. We no longer just have a phone line – done.
Most households will have multiple mobile phones – many of which will be on payment plans. We have IPads and other tablets that might have internet or payment subscriptions. There’s also home internet. You might even have a home phone. (Though, probably not unless it’s part of a bundle deal so you took it because you may as well.)
Obviously you should shop around and compare the countless different plans and bundles available from different providers, but here’s some other ideas to cut back on your telco expenses.
- Buy your mobile phone outright. Depending on the phone and plan you can potentially save hundreds of dollars with a BYO phone plan compared to getting a phone on a contract with a payment plan.
- Go for a cheaper phone. These days older model phones can be powerful enough to meet your needs. I know a few years ago each generation of phone was significantly better than the last and technology was rapidly becoming outdated. But unless the latest, top end, phone meets some specific needs for you, you’re probably better off going for something a little older and so more budget friendly.
- Talk to someone and negotiate. Especially if you’re willing to bundle all your telco into the one bill there can be room to negotiate a better deal if you speak to a person rather than just signing up online. This applies even with your existing telco provider if you’re out of contract and they’re keen to keep you.
Other household expenses
Here’s some more general tips that might help:
- Ditch the daily cafe coffee. If possible buy a plunger and coffee grounds and keep it at work.
- Buy things second hand! I love op shopping for clothes or homewares. Facebook Marketplace is also a great option for buying basically anything second hand. I love that you can search within a short radius of your home (or work) so you can pick up the item and save on postage.
- Have a saving goal. It can be really hard to make yourself skip on spending unless you actually have a reason to save.
- Pay yourself spending money. It’s really easy to blow your spending budget if you don’t actually have one. Allocate yourself some money that you can spend on whatever you want. Then stick to it!
I hope that helps! If you have any other suggestions on how you save money in your house please comment below!