Simple ways to save money

Money In A PocketSaving made easy

Making small changes in your life can fatten your savings and help you budget better. Follow these tips to save more money.

Change one habit and save

Small changes can make a big difference to your bank balance. Change one thing you do regularly and you could save money. Some examples are:

  • Give up drinking coffee or cut down on alcohol - it may sound scary but it will save you money and can have health benefits.
  • Make your lunch at home.
  • Have people over for dinner rather than going out and ask everyone to bring a plate of food.
  • Borrow books and DVDs from the library.
  • Lock up your credit card for a month and only pay for things with cash.
  • Set a limit for birthday and Christmas presents or give homemade gifts.

Record your everyday expenses to work out where you can make changes. 


Save on clothes

With fashion changing every season, you don't really need to buy new clothes all the time:

  • If you're buying clothes, check if you can wash them to avoid dry cleaning bills.
  • If you buy something, make sure it goes with at least two other things in your wardrobe so you can get a few different outfits out of one item.
  • Check op-shops and local markets for bargains.
  • Take advantage of stocktake sales or end-of-season clearances to pay less for the things you need.

Cut your grocery bill

  • Take a shopping list with you to the supermarket and only buy what's on the list.
  • Plan meals in advance and add the ingredients to your shopping list.
  • If you have very young children, ask a friend to mind them while you go shopping. You'll have more time to compare prices and won't fall victim to 'pester power'.
  • Set a budget for your shopping trip, withdraw the cash from an ATM and only take this money with you when you go shopping.
  • Try growing your own food at home.
  • Eat a meal or snack before you go to the supermarket. When you're not hungry, you tend to buy less food.
  • Buy in bulk when things are cheaper. Meat can be cut into smaller portions and frozen so you can use it as you need it.
  • If you usually shop each week, try shopping once a fortnight to get into the habit of using all the food in your pantry before buying more.
  • Swap the brand names you always buy for generic products when you can.
  • Check the 'use by' and 'best before' dates on food so you don't waste money buying things you won't use before you have to throw them out.
  • Supermarkets usually promote the items at eye-level, so check the shelves above and below for cheaper alternatives.
  • Meat can be expensive, so buy less of it and try making more meals without using it.

Save on electricity and water

If you're looking for ways to reduce how much water or electricity your household uses, you might be surprised at the difference just a few small changes can make. See our webpage how to save water and electricity.

Rein in restaurant meals

  • Cut back on how often you go out for dinner
  • Try cheaper alternatives on the menu
  • Order water instead of expensive drinks
  • Skip the dessert menu and get a cheaper alternative elsewhere.

Reduce your bank fees

Some financial institutions offer basic bank accounts with:

  • No account keeping fees
  • Free monthly statements
  • No minimum deposit amounts
  • No overdrawn fees

You can find which financial institutions offer these basic bank accounts on the Australian Bankers' Association's Affordable Banking website.

Get the best holiday deal

  • Save on flights by travelling before 8am or after 8pm, on public holidays like Christmas or New Year's Day or during off-peak seasons.
  • Hotel deals on comparison sites aren't always the cheapest - see if the hotel offers a better deal direct.
  • Booking an apartment can work out cheaper, especially if you're travelling as a group.

Cheap ways to get fit

  • Get free exercise doing laps around your local oval, walking the dog or by using free apps or YouTube videos.
  • Resist the sales pressure and shop around to get the best gym membership deal.
  • Team sports, boot camps or group personal training can be cost effective.

Try the Saver Plus program

Saver Plus helps families on low incomes develop a savings habit and improve financial skills. Saver Plus can help you set a savings goal and help you reach it.

When you reach your goal, your savings are matched, dollar for dollar, up to $500. To find out more, visit the Saver Plus website.

It's easy to save money by cutting out or reducing some things you buy. Try one or two of these money-saving tips and watch your savings grow.

Related links

Last updated: 12 Dec 2018