Finance Your Budget The one-off splurges that will save you money

The one-off splurges that will save you money

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Spending up big can be a daunting task for any household budget. However, it doesn’t mean you are losing money.

Here are the one-off purchases that will cut household costs in the long term.

Get a bike: save up to $8,657 a year

A bike is probably one of the best investments you can make to save money. According to RACQ, the average running cost of a medium-sized car like a Ford Focus is $8,657 a year – or $166 a week.

Swap your car for a bike and you'll be able to travel and save more. Image: Getty
Swap your car for a bike and you’ll be able to travel and save more. Image: Getty

Providing all your transport is free, that could be a European holiday each year.

By investing in a good quality bike that will last you several years, you’ll save money on petrol, car registration and insurance, and you’ll increase your fitness too.

You’ll also save on travel cards if you use public transport, with weekly travel cards in Melbourne and Sydney both around $35, meaning you would still save thousands.

Install solar power panels: save $1,900 per year

Energy Australia estimates that a household of four people can save up to $1,900 a year on their electricity bill by installing solar panels.

In a family of two, these savings can also be as high as $950 each year.

While prices for solar panels start at $2,399 upfront, solar panels will not only pay for themselves, but many households who have them installed enjoy electricity bills in credit.

This is because state governments pay a financial return if you contribute any excess power you produce to the main electricity grid.

Buy a coffee machine: save $1138 a year

A coffee machine will save you over $1000. Image: Shutterstock
Making your coffee at home could save hundreds. Image: Shutterstock

While we all love paying a visit to our favourite cafe on weekends and weekday mornings, that daily $3.80 coffee adds up to the tune of $1,387 each year.

Instead, invest in a good quality coffee machine to have at home, like this mid-range Nespresso machine, which costs $349. The Nespresso pods cost from 68 cents; $248 for a coffee a day a year. Choice says there are also compatible pods which can be as low as Aldi’s Expressi at 37 cents each.

Taking out the initial cost of the machine, this will save you $1138 annually.

These savings will add up over several years, especially if you drink more than one cup a day.

Install water-efficient shower heads: save $100 a year

By investing in water efficient shower heads and taps, you’ll be able to cut your quarterly water bills.

According to Yarra Valley Water, typical shower heads use 15-20 litres of water per minute, but new low-flow heads use as little as seven litres per minute.

An average annual water bill in Melbourne is $984. If two people have an average length shower of eight minutes they’ll use about a kilolitre less water a week – an estimated saving of more than $100 per year. You’ll also be making your house more environmentally friendly.

Buy energy efficient power points: save $216 a year

Appliances left in standby mode can account for nine per cent of total household electricity use.

Origin Energy estimates that by turning off appliances at the power point, families can save up to 800 kWh a year. In NSW, that equals $216 annually.

A simple $19.95 eco switch like this one will make it easy for you to fully turn off your TV and other appliances when you aren’t using them.

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