Best money-saving tips to make your dollar go further

If your bottom line is sagging as the cost of living skyrockets, consider these savvy money-saving strategies.

Fuel prices are soaring, groceries costs are skyrocketing, power bills are on the rise.

It seems everything is going up these days – except your pay.

If you are feeling the pinch, you are not alone.

New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows in the 12 months to March 2022, average wages grew by 2.4 per cent, while the cost of living ballooned by 5.1 per cent.

Canstar editor-at-large Effie Zahos says tightening your belt has never been more important.

“Real wages are not keeping up with inflation, so we really have no choice but to be frugal,” Effie says.

Here are a few ways to tighten your spend on living expenses.

Be supermarket savvy

Groceries are one of our biggest household expenses according to the latest Canstar survey, which shows the average family shells out $153 a week.

But Kylie Travers from The Thrifty Issue says there are loads of ways to spend less at the supermarket.

“Buying sale items in bulk saves a lot,” Kylie, a mother of five, says.

“And don’t just shop at supermarkets – try Asian grocers, farmers’ markets, and Facebook groups for locals with excess produce.”

Other ways you can save on groceries include:

  • Buy home brands: an Australian study of 3000 products found generic brands can save you up to 44 per cent.
  • Choose frozen: frozen veggies are cheap, convenient, and just as nutritious as fresh produce.
  • Don’t shop on a full stomach: studies show people who shop when hungry spend up to 64 per cent more.
  • Brew your own coffee: making coffee at home can save you thousands of dollars every year.
  • Go veg: eating vegetarian is not only good for you, new research by Oxford University shows it can save up to one third off your grocery bills.
  • Check the price per unit: research shows people who check the price per unit save an average of 17-18 per cent.
  • Use your leftovers: Australians throw away up to 20 per cent of the food, according to the Do Something! Foodwise campaign. Using leftovers will reduce waste and slice your supermarket spend.
  • Buy seasonal produce: Seasonal produce is usually cheaper because of ample supply.
  • Shop online: You can save up to $1360 a year by shopping online, according to latest YouGov research.

Find a bowser bargain

Effie says with the half-price fuel excise ending on September 28, we’re all in for a big shock at the servo.

She says fuel apps like Fuel Map, Motor Mouth and the RACV fuel price guide can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Keeping your tyres pumped will help your car perform more efficiently, with one study finding a 0.3 per cent reduction in fuel economy for every 1 per cent decrease in pressure.

Kylie recommends car-pooling, combining errands, and using public transport or the bike as much as possible.

Smart ways to save on energy bills

“Wholesale prices have increased, so power is going to become even more expensive for households in coming months,” Effie says.

She says comparing energy providers could save you a ton of money.

The Australian Energy Market Commission’s 2019 review found customers could save up to $760 a year by switching to a cheaper plan.

You can also reduce your energy bills by making a few simple changes in how you consume energy, including keeping heating at 18-20C and washing clothes in cold water.

“Switch off everything when not in use and recharge devices only when they need it,” Kylie says.

Apps to help save money

Effie says your phone is one your best weapons in the battle against bill blow out.

Budgeting apps like Pocketbook, WeMoney and GoodBudget will help you get your spending under control.

You can slash your grocery bills with price comparison apps like Frugl or WiseList. ShopBack gives you up to 30 per cent cash back on online purchases, Honey searches for discount codes, and Cashrewards searches all the best offers.

“The beauty of living in the digital age is that there are so many great apps out here to help you save money,” Effie says.

Written by Dimity Barber.