Living well within your means – TIPS

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The less you spend, the more you have left. It’s a simple principle, but one many willingly ignore. Here are fifty different ways that you can spend less, to keep more in your pocket (or your investment account, or put towards debt repayment… you get the idea).


  • Avoid interest wherever possible. You shouldn’t have to borrow everything, and anything that you do borrow you will be paying interest on, so work to reduce debt and avoid interest.
  • Assess your wardrobe. Do you really need everything you own? Could you sell, gift, or donate the stuff that you don’t? Do it. You’re only wasting space by keeping clothes you’re not using anyway.
  • Avoid impulse buys when possible. Impulses are in us all, and impulse buying is the main pull on your disposable income. Try to avoid some of your favourite impulse buys for the next few weeks, see what it does for your wallet.
  • Bike or walk to work if you can. This helps you get healthier and saves you on fuel, why wouldn’t you love it? As a bonus it’s also great for the environment, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ve done your part.
  • Bring a lunch. It sounds simple, but it saves dollars every single day you work. Think about how much you work in a year and you’ll see the savings add up before you even begin.
  • Buy used, not new. New items are rarely worth the cost, so strongly consider buying what you’re about to buy used. Check your local second hand dealers or op shops, look online, I bet you’ll find you can save hundreds of dollars with just a few used versus new purchases.
  • Carpool when possible! This is a great way to save money, you all have to get to work anyway, why not carpool?
  • Cheaper Christmas. Look into ways that you can reduce your Christmas costs. The holidays are meant to be about family, not about bills, so be mindful of how much you’re spending on Christmas and reduce where possible!
  • Clear the clutter, it helps you to keep your home cleaner, it may make you some cash if you sell the stuff that you don’t need, and it overall just contributes to living within your means.
  • Consider your health. The healthier you are, the lower your medical bills. Shocking I know. But really though, try to be healthier, both in lifestyle and in diet, to prevent nasty bills that you just don’t need.
  • Conserve energy. Conservation is one of the best ways to help both the environment and your wallet, and it can be as simple as looking into more energy efficient devices.
  • Conserve electricity. The same goes for your electric bill, turn off the lights when you’re not in a room. Beware standby energy.
  • Cook in bulk where possible. Spend one day out of the week cooking for most of the week. Not every one can do this, but it’s a huge time and energy saver to spend Sunday afternoon cooking for the week rather than every single day. It also encourages you to buy in bulk, and avoid eating out.
  • Cut your hair at home. This wont be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those for whom it works, it saves $20-$30 each and every time you do it.
  • Ditch Internet TV if you can’t afford it. You don’t need it. With the invention of streaming and borrowing from friends, you can easily stay caught up on your favourite TV shows with a computer – without the monthly Internet TV charge.
  • Do it yourself when you can. There’s a lot you can be doing for yourself to save cash, from preparing your own wall art or packing your own boxes to move it. DIY is a great way to say “I save money”. Start looking online for your first project.
  • Don’t assume buying is better. Just because you COULD be paying off a mortgage does not mean that you should. Keep in mind that your costs will not just be the mortgage itself, but also house insurance, maintenance on the house, and decorating costs. Renting may be a better option, just do the math for yourself.
  • Eat breakfast. It’s healthy for you, and it saves you money by ensuring you’re full on your way to work – you don’t need that morning coffee either.
  • Eat out less, and better. Eat out on days of the week when there’s a promotional deal, or (even better) try eating out a bit less. This saves between $20-$30 every single meal (maybe more if you have a family) and can add up to thousands of dollars in savings in no time.
  • Exercise at home. This will save you money on gym memberships and possibly even equipment.
  • Get rid of subscriptions that you don’t need.
  • Gift thoughtfully, not expensively. Look for a more cost effective way of getting that gift. Consider regifting if you have that option. Look into saving small amounts by taking time to be a little more thoughtful.
  • Libraries exist, use them! These are resources for research, information, and even fiction reading that you don’t have to pay for! Try hitting up your local library for your next movie night, or borrowing that “must read” book instead of buying it. You’ll save a lot.
  • Live within your means, literally, in a smaller home. You may not need the extra bedroom. Consider downsizing if you’re not using the space to save money on utilities, clutter, and so forth. Be realistic of course, but if you don’t need the space why should you use it.
  • Look for cheap (and free) ways to keep yourself entertained. Entertainment is a huge part of any body’s budget, but it doesn’t have to be. Replace movie nights out with movie nights in – make them special, read a book instead of heading out. Go to the park for a picnic instead of to a five star restaurant. These simple tips allow you to do the things you love, while saving money as well.
  • Make it at home if you can, and let that be a way to save money. We’ve got lots of recipes on Money savvy Mums from laundry liquid to pest control!
  • Make a list of things you’re going to buy over the next month. Then hold on to that list, without buying, for the next month and re-examine the list. Do you still ‘need’ everything on it? This is a method to help curb impulse spending.
  • No more mobile phone. Use the land line – it’s actually cheaper now!  Unless there’s absolutely no way you can be out of touch for the 20 minutes it’ll take you to get from work to home, ditch the mobile phone.
  • No window shopping. Window shopping leads to window buying, and all that goes with it. Browsing the shops has the same effect. Avoid wandering around areas that you could spend money at, because the longer you’re there the higher the chances are that you will actually spend.
  • Party in moderation, not abundance. This saves money on entertainment and also helps you to stay healthy. Partying is fine, just be moderate about it.
  • Plan ahead as much as possible. Make it a habit to be as prepared as you can, know what you’re going to eat that week, what you need from the supermarket, and what bills are due this week. Being aware is a great way to save money and energy, so start planning ahead today.
  • Prepared, not prepackaged foods. Prepackaged foods are unhealthy, more expensive, and not great for you overall. Try to at least cut back on these types of meals by preparing your own, if not eliminating them all together.
  • Quit the credit. Credit is just a fancy way of spending money you don’t have. The more you spend, the less you have in the future. Quit credit cards for anything but emergencies.
  • Quit smoking. That’s it. It’s not easy, but it will save you thousands of dollars a year on cigarettes, medical costs, and more. Bonus? It contributes to your health!
  • Reduce your meat intake. Meat is expensive, and it drives the grocery bill up before you know it. Avoid meat every now and then just to save a few dollars.
  • Run errands in bulk. This saves fuel, and helps you to be efficient. Organize your trip out before you go so that you will know exactly where you’re going and what you’re doing there.
  • Shop the deals. Only replace clothes when you need to, and be mindful of which clothes are on sale and which aren’t. Just by being careful you can often save yourself well over half of the cost.
  • Shop smart. Look at the flyers, and go on the sale days. These simple tips drive your grocery bills down – something almost every one is currently overpaying.
  • Single car households save more because they don’t pay insurance, fuel, and car payments on a second car. If you can survive on a single car, then do. Give it a try for a few months and see what you save.
  • Stay home tonight. Watch a movie in. Do a craft. Enjoy the silence. You don’t have to be on the go all the time to keep yourself happy.
  • Stay hydrated. Hydration is a great way to keep yourself healthy, and drinking water in particular saves money (cutting back on juice, milk, and tea usage).
  • Take care of what you own. This sounds simple, but so many people don’t do it. Take your car in for its service, monitor your appliances for bugs that need fixing, and fix that leaky tap. Ensuring you take care of your stuff reduces the amount of times you’ll need to replace it, and also just makes for better working stuff.
  • Telecommute to work if you can. Not every job allows this, but when it does – why not? Who would turn down the ability to work from the comfort of their own home, save on fuel, and still earn a paycheck?
  • Travel smart. Look for deals, plan in advance, and head to places that are nice but not so touristy that they mark up all of their prices. Shop around until you have the holiday of your dreams mapped out, and then head out.
  • Use a small car if possible, they’re better on fuel and space.
  • Use sweets/lollies sparingly, as an occasional treat. They are often marked up, offer no nutrition, and rot teeth. Need we say more?
  • Use a clothesline instead of a dryer. This saves energy, money, and doesn’t really cost any additional time. Mother nature is great at drying clothes naturally, just take advantage of it.
  • Walk where you can, save the fuel and improve your health. This is a great way to promote time together as well as the environment and your money.
  • Wash full loads, and only full loads, of laundry. This saves water, which saves money, and honestly saves time as well by reducing the number of times you’re doing laundry in a week.

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