If you have a hard look at your finances there are almost certainly lots of small steps you can take to reduce your day-to-day costs and increase the money in your hand. Here are some great ways you could save money across major household expenses.
- Cut your mortgage and rent costs
One of the best ways to reduce your mortgage is to accurately compare and contrast the different loans a range of lenders are prepared to offer you and move to a cheaper lender if the numbers stack up.
Cameron McAusland, principal of MLC Advice Randwick advises taking care when you do this assessment to make sure you consider and account for all associated costs. These include any break fees you may have to pay to settle one mortgage and take out another with a different lender.
Cameron also advises borrowers to use their home loan offset account to help lower the interest they pay.
“It’s a good idea to pretend the interest rate you pay is higher than the rate set by the bank and make loan repayments based on that amount. That way you’ll avoid rate shock in the future when interest rates do start to rise,” he explains.
Other tips include paying your mortgage fortnightly instead of monthly to help lower repayments over time. “Have your salary or income credited to your offset account or loan account and live off your credit card. But ensure you don’t spend more than you earn and pay the credit card balance in full before the interest free period ends.”
If you’re leasing, consider the cost of rent in the area you want to live. Renee Hush, principal of MLC Advice Parramatta, advises living a little further out of town to reduce your rent but still maintain your lifestyle.
Another option to lower your rent or mortgage is to rent out a seldom-used spare room to a lodger or pay rent in advance – say a year ahead – in exchange for a discount.
- Look for petrol specials to lower car expenses
When it comes to saving money on transport, Renee suggests looking for petrol specials and filling up on low cost days. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission publishes information on the petrol price cycle here you can use to plan when you buy petrol.
Also take advantage of shopper dockets and loyalty programs offered through supermarket chains to get fuel discounts.
Planning your trip in advance and using toll ways during off peak rather than full price periods will also help slash transport costs.
Don’t forget to look for discounts offered by major transport providers such as bus and train networks to help get this expense down.
- Food: no need to sacrifice quality to cut the grocery bill
It doesn’t have to be expensive to eat well. Shopping at bulk purchase outlets such as Aldi and Costco can dramatically reduce your household bills – and also save you time.
The idea is to buy bulk non-perishable items such as tinned food from outlets such as these. Aldi in particular also has inexpensive perishable food such as milk, fruit and vegetables, helping you save on every day meals.
It’s also a great idea to look for specials on items you buy regularly and stock up.
Check out sites like Catch Of The Day for specials, plan your menu each week and only buy what you need for the menu.
Another option to save money is to invest in entertainment books that have great discounts for dining out.
- That’s entertainment … on a budget
With a little foresight it’s possible to enjoy a great social life without it breaking the bank. For instance, Cameron recommends buying a book of 10 movie tickets at a time for cheap film nights.
But it’s also a good idea to curtail going out to save money – there are lots of fun things you can do at home, so why not swap a regular night out for a night in from time-to-time?
- Energy bills: plenty of options to cut costs
According to Renee a great way to cut your energy bills is to shop around for energy providers. Use comparison sites such as iSelect as a research tool.
“Also pay your bills by direct debit and on time for added discounts and buy appliances that don’t use much energy. They may be more expensive, but over time they’ll save on energy usage and reduce your bills,” she adds.
Don’t forget it’s worth checking out energy saving devices such as showerheads and light bulbs and also seal windows and door cracks to reduce draughts. Use heating and cooling sparingly, make sure your home is properly insulated and look into solar power to cut energy costs over time.
There are lots of easy ways to save money on almost every expense. The idea is to be persistent and vigilant identifying cost saving techniques to give you more disposable and non-disposable income every week.
This information has been provided by MLC Investments Limited (MLCI) (ABN 30 002 641 661, AFSL 230705).
This information is of a general nature only and neither represents nor is intended to be specific advice on any particular matter. Infocus Securities Australia Pty Ltd strongly suggests that no person should act specifically on the basis of the information contained herein but should seek appropriate professional advice based upon their own personal circumstances.