COVID-19 has presented Australians with many challenges in recent months; financially, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Financial challenges, in particular, may have impacted individuals and families who were previously comfortable, and they’re now looking for ways to tighten their spending. Before heading to the shops next time, take a moment to read these handy tips on ways to keep your household budget frugal but not uncomfortably tight.
Write it down
Keep a tally of all your spending to the cent. Know where all your money goes and make it work for you. Look for opportunities to shift your spending; from cutting back on utilities (like turning off lights in unoccupied rooms), suspending subscriptions and reducing your shopping costs. Decide in advance where your money is going, instead of tracking spending retrospectively. It’s better to have zero at the bottom of your budget and know where the money has gone, than having zero to budget with.
Make a list
Before you head to the supermarket or your local farmers market to do your weekly shop, make a list of the meals you intend to make for the seven days ahead; breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks included. Cross-check your fridge and pantry before leaving the house to ensure you are only buying the necessary items you’ll require. You might not want to cook for seven evening meals in a row, and that’s entirely up to you. You may instead plan for four nights of cooking with enough for three nights of left-overs, or five nights of cooking and two nights of take away, or even spend one day a week batch cooking for the entire week. The key is to know what you’ll need and not to buy items you may already have in stock. You’ll be less likely to need to dash to the shops to buy one or two items, which can lead to temptation and impulse buying.
Shopping in-store, in-person means you may be more likely to purchase unnecessary items on a whim. Whether it’s shopping for groceries or new clothes, stores will use clever marketing techniques to coerce you to purchase items you didn’t intend to buy, including discounts on additional items. Shopping online can help with this process. If you stick to your list, you can ignore online pop-up messages that try to sucker you in such as “this might also interest you” or “buy 2 get 1 free”. Know what you need and stick to it, you got this!
Eat before you spend
This one should be easy but can be tricky to sometime achieve. Whether it’s online or in the store, try not to do your grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You are much or more likely to purchase food items that you didn’t intend to if you are feeling hungry or peckish. If you must, try chewing gum to distract your subconscious tummy from doing all the hungry buying!
Make your own
There is a multitude of cleaning products that you can make at home that are equally effective and can save money along the way. We’re not talking about making your own toilet paper, but things like shampoo, oven cleaner and hand soap can be made at home. As little as a generation ago many of these household products hadn’t even been invented, so what did your grandparents use? Lots of cleaning products start with a base of only three common products; bicarb soda, lemon juice and vinegar. Check out these examples.
Our society is becoming ever more reliant on credit facilities, making it easier to get caught-out over-spending or failing to meet credit repayments. If possible, try to avoid paying for your goods with a credit card or an afterpay method. If you do need to use credit, be careful not to spend more than needed. If you have used the ‘write it down’ budget method mentioned earlier, you could then use any available savings to make quick payments on your credit card or chosen debit method, to ensure you only pay the smallest amount of interest possible.
Before tapping your credit card, try to keep this mantra in mind: ‘If you can’t afford it now, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to afford it in the future without saving”.
If you’re looking for a savings account offering better options than the mainstream banks, the LLL offers fee-free Personal and Business Accounts with highly-competitive interest rates. Find out more.
The LLL prides itself on providing savings accounts that are simple to operate, with a variable interest rate and no fees or charges. The LLL has a variety of savings accounts: personal and joint accounts; guardian accounts for children; and business accounts, including for self-managed super funds and not-for-profit organisations.
As an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI), the LLL is regulated under the Banking Act and by APRA.
This advice is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation, needs or objectives. Please consider the Disclosure Documents to decide if this product is right for you.