Cut down your spending without missing out
23 April 2019
With high house prices and intergenerational opinion about 'entitlement' – there is a lot of chatter in the media about financial budgeting. The older generations enjoy sharing their views with younger people about 'living within your means - as though skipping a few café breakfasts will equal a house deposit.
Parents argue about what it means to 'spoil' their kids, often concerned about what's really worth the money. Young singles face social pressure to be social, going out for dinners or drinks multiple times a week - or else risk missing out on the one awesome story everyone talks about for months after.
Many would have you believe that you can live off the grid, never buy new clothes, grow your own food, never socialise and still be happy. For most though, that's just not doable, nor will it sustain a happy life. But the average Joe (or Josie) can still get something out of following a simple but smart cost-cutting advice. Playing around with the way you cut your budget regularly can help you feel as though you’re not missing out on anything for too long. Also, for the things that you have to invest in up front, you get a built-in incentive for sticking to your plan.
Here's a list of common ways to cut your spending, as well as an idea of how much you might save. By mixing and matching what you cut from time to time, you can enjoy yourself and still save money.
|What you save
|Do it once||Do it ten times a year||Do it for a whole year|
Make your own daily coffee (buy quality supplies) instead of getting takeaway [~$50c vs ~$3.50]
|Skip Friday night knockoff beers||$25||$250||$1,200|
|Repair good shoes instead of buying same new||$50||$500||N/A|
|Buy only no-brand groceries during weekly shop1||$40||$400||$2,080|
|Buy kids' clothing at op shop instead of discount department store2||$8||$80||N/A|
|Take a change on a cleanskin, instead of a branded wine [~&10 vs ~$20]3||$10||$100||N/A|
|Bake weekly bread instead of buying brand-name loaf [~$40c for ingredients vs $3]||$2.60||$26||$135.20|
|Go to the movies on cheap Tuesday instead of Friday/Saturday||$7||$70||N/A|
|Catching public transport instead of driving with the family4||$35.09||~$350||~$18,200|
|Skip regular Sunday brunch at an inner city cafe||$30||$300||$1,560|
It’s important to have confidence to say no to some of your social invites, fashion bargains or gourmet treats in order to spend less cash. By thinking a bit more flexibly when you're trying to cut costs, you can pick and mix where you save money.
For more information on budgeting, go to Moneysmart.
² Based on $2/item average at op shop, vs ~$10/item average in three major Australian discount department stores
³ Based on unofficial average from https://www.shareacamper.com.au/wine-price-index-au/, plus most expensive cleanskin prices from a major national retailer
⁴ Household cost, based on: http://www.aaa.asn.au/storage/aaa-transport-affordability-index.pdf. NB: Saving may be more for periods of a week or longer, due to weekly/monthly/annual pass prices.