6 ways to help your money go further

Pip Harry gets the opinions of real Australians for Real Life Insurance. Here, savvy shoppers share their savings tips. 

Many Aussies are cutting back on their spending as the cost of living rises, but there are lots of smart ways to keep more of your paycheque in your pocket. Here are some tips from real Australians who are beating escalating costs by cutting back spending – in ways you might not have even thought of!

#1: Set a budget – and stick to it! 

“Setting a household budget is like giving your finances a much-needed compass. It's all about taking a closer look at how much money is coming in and where it's going out. In my family, I had to look at all our income sources, my salary and my partner’s salary – as well as some additional earnings we frequently make by selling things on marketplace apps like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. I use a simple spreadsheet to track our mortgage costs and other household bills, groceries, and all those little treats you can't resist. I find that by analysing our family’s spending habits, I have been able to identify areas where we could cut back or make adjustments – without too much sacrifice!” 

Tip by Michael Z, Gymea

#2: Better shopping habits

Woman with fresh produce in a cardboard box

“So many of us have a bad habit of buying carelessly online; it’s so easy to do and I waste so much money buying stuff I ‘think I need’ when I really don’t. So, I put myself on a two-day (or one week) cooling off period for anything I see online that I want to buy. I go back to them after a period of time and nine times out of ten I no longer want them.” 

Tip by Leah M, Newtown

“My grocery hack is using click and collect services, which are often free but it means I know the exact price of the weekly shop, plus no impulse buys! It’s also easier to search for weekly specials on the website, and to sort the products from least to most expensive.” 

Tip by Nicola K, Baulkham Hills 

“I’m a huge fan of bargain websites, which regularly posts current deals, coupon codes, vouchers, special promotions and freebies. It’s crowd sourced, so users leave comments and you can quickly figure out if a deal is worth investigating further. I’ve bought everything from dishwasher tablets, to body wash, coffee pods, laptops and major appliances. They even have travel deals for cheap flights.” 

Tip by Edward B, Beacon Hill 

#3: Make spare change go further

“I use an app which rounds whatever you spend on everyday purchases up to the nearest dollar and invests those small amounts of spare change for you. The extra cents quickly add up. I brought a piece of jewellery I desperately wanted, but couldn’t previously justify, and I’m now saving for a family holiday.” 

Tip by Michelle M, Carlton 

#4: Fuel app savings

“I commute for work, so I use a government app called FuelCheck which provides real-time updates on fuel prices at service stations in NSW, so I can search for the cheapest price in my area or along my route. An app called Petrol Spy (research others in your area) does the same thing, and it’s national.” 

Tip by Kirsty N, Petersham

#5: Meal planning

Woman plans meals using her smartphone

“Each school holidays I do a ‘pantry, fridge and freezer inventory’ and then I meal plan for term time, making sure to use up items that will date first and only buying what’s on the plan. Meal planning saves me so much money in wasted food. My husband and I both work from home so I make a big pot of minestrone soup on a Sunday and we eat that for lunch during the week. If he does go to the office, he always takes the soup or other leftovers. He says his mates spend $20-30 a day on buying their lunch!” 

Tip by Jodie G, Manly Vale 

#6: Free (or cheaper) entertainment

“My tip for cheap family entertainment is a library card! I take my kids to all kinds of free events and workshops at local branches and the state library. We’ve done writing and drawing workshops, kids storytime, craft, chess club, art exhibitions, author talks. There is always something happening and it’s nearly always completely free, plus you can take home a stack of books, DVDs and magazines afterwards!” 

Tip by Ann B, New Farm

“I was spending lots of cash on expensive hobbies, trips to the ski fields and a fancy gym membership, but my eye-watering mortgage repayments forced me to look around for cheaper alternatives. I found an ocean swimming group that meets up at a beach near my apartment to swim together each morning and took up learning Spanish on the free language app Duolingo. I’ve also rediscovered my teenage love of skateboarding, and even though I’m the oldest skater at the park, it’s a lot cheaper than a weekend of snowboarding!” 

Tip by Harry P, Henley Beach 

“I love going to the movies, but taking a family of four on the weekend or school holidays costs a fortune. But if you search local cinemas, most have cheap ticket deals on designated weekdays – like a Monday or Tuesday – and if you sign up for cinema membership, there are even bigger discounts. BYO popcorn!” 

Tip by Elizabeth M, Canterbury

Protect your family, no matter its stage of life

Whether you are a savvy single, a new couple, a young or established family, Real Life Insurance can help you plan for your loved ones’ financial future. Find out more about how life insurance can protect you at every stage in life