You may have been made redundant and face financial hardship. Or you work towards achieving financial independence. Whatever your financial goal, cutting your spending is (almost) always part of the equation – at least temporarily.
We’ve helped you take (and stay in) control of your finances, and manage/get out of debt (as quickly as possible). In today’s post, we share with you 40+ tips to cut your spending and reduce your household budget.
But before we jump into our many examples, let’s check how a common household spends its hard-earned cash.
Sign up to receive our email newsletter full of actionable tips and practical advice every month
As you can see, the three largest expenses in your household are likely to be
- Accommodation and Utilities (your rent or mortgage payments but also the costs of electricity, gas, water, internet and mobile phone usage)
- Groceries and Dining (including beverages and snacks), and
- Transport and Travel (your car’s running costs, public transport as well as your holiday/s).
So let’s start with these big money suckers.
By the way, in case you wondered:
- The above is not just any common household. This was our household spending before we farewelled our corporate careers in Sydney.
- Wellbeing comprises things like health, hygiene and clothing needs as well as gifts and donations.
But let’s talk about the many ways you can cut your spending and reduce your household’s monthly expenses.
Accommodation and Utilities
- Shop around for (and negotiate) lower interest rates on your mortgage.
- Shop around for (and negotiate) cheaper utility deals (for electricity, gas, water, and internet supplies) each time your contract comes up for renewal.
- Whenever you buy a new appliance buy the most energy-efficient one you can afford.
- Reduce your utility usage. For example, air-dry your clothes rather than in the dryer, close curtains/blinds and use cross breezes to keep the house cool on hot days rather than using the air con, use water-saving shower heads, limit your showers to five minutes, use a thermostat with a timer to heat only when you need it.
Groceries and Dining
- Make a meal plan (also to avoid food waste).
- Make a shopping list and stick to it.
- Prepare meals for the week ahead (and freeze portions) rather than buying every lunch.
- Make your own coffee (rather than buying one or more… every morning).
- Cut down the amount of after-work drinks you have.
- Buy non-perishable items in bulk (if you have space).
- Shop around. For example, buy in cheaper supermarkets and local farmers markets, buy the home brand / on special groceries, and in-season fruit and veggies.
- Only dine out for special occasions (for example, a date night with your partner once a fortnight or birthday celebrations with friends).
- Use coupon/discount deals when dining out (for example, First Table or Groupon).
- Pick restaurants that allow you to bring your own alcohol (if you like a glass of wine or beer with your dinner).
Transport and Travel
If you have (and need) a car:
- Buy a car within your budget (pay cash or shop around for a low-rate car loan)
- Use apps to look for the cheapest fuel in your area (for example, Gaspy in New Zealand).
- Use fuel discount cards/coupons.
- Time your trips (for example, to/from work) to coincide with the least amount of traffic.
- Carpool with workmates and share the fuel costs.
If you don’t really (or only occasionally) need a car:
- Sell your car.
- Use public transport, ride your bike or walk to/from work – it’s a great way to get your daily exercise, and with the traffic nightmare in most cities, it could even be faster to get from A to B.
- Use a car-sharing service for those rare occasions you really do need a car.
Looking for ways to save when it comes to your next holiday? Here are some of the many questions we answer on this website to help you afford your trip:
- How to make your travel dreams come true?
- What does it cost to visit a specific country?
- How to reduce foreign exchange fees when travelling overseas?
- Look for free or low-cost entertainment options in your city (for example, as part of the Sydney Festival, Vivid Sydney or the Auckland Heritage Festival).
- Use coupon/discount deals (for example, BookMe or Groupon).
- If you can’t live without a gym: shop around for the best gym membership deal in your area. Put your membership on hold while on holiday. Or use outdoor gyms (and not pay a cent).
- Review and reduce/get rid of your subscriptions.
- Rent books from your local library (rather than buying them).
- Buy event tickets only for special occasions – this could also be an awesome gift from your loved ones.
- Get a dental check-up at least once a year (to avoid costly repairs further down the track).
- Use practitioners that have special arrangements with your private medical insurance provider.
Do you really have the right insurance coverage?
Having insurance can be a lifesaver (or a nuisance). Our step-by-step guide helps you find a policy that suits your needs.
- Colour and cut your hair yourself, and do your own nails (or ask a friend – you can return the favour to them).
- Have a massage, facial and/or professional manicure/pedicure only when really needed or on special occasions – This could also be an awesome gift from your loved ones.
- Use coupon/discount deals (I found my massage therapist in Sydney on Groupon).
- Create a capsule wardrobe and sell good quality items you no longer need (online, through second-hand stores or a garage sale).
- Repair broken seams, lost buttons etc and only replace items that are beyond repair.
- Buy (fewer) good quality items, less often.
- Shop around: buy at factory outlets, special sales events or second-hand.
- Hire attires for special occasions.
- Buy shoes that go with everything rather than a new pair of shoes for every new outfit.
- For technical gear, do your research beforehand, then shop around – Never. Pay. Full. Price.
Gifts and Donations
- Set a monthly/annual limit for donations.
- Look for different ways to gift.
- Assess your risk (likelihood and impact of an event occurring), and determine which insurance and how much you really need.
- Shop around for the insurance you need based on your requirements (for example, home and contents insurance, vehicle insurance, health insurance).
- Cancel any unnecessary insurance policy.
Bank fees and Government charges
- Shop around for fee-free bank accounts.
- Shop around for the most suitable credit card/s for your needs – and always pay off the whole amount owed when due.