Money Your Budget 50 easy ways to save money … fast
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50 easy ways to save money … fast

Within the country’s least affordable housing market – Sydney – renting rather than buying is a better financial choice 60 per cent of the time. Photo: Getty
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Being financially savvy isn’t rocket science, but in a world where temptations abound it can sometimes feel like you need a PhD in finance just to keep your finances in line.

Personal finance blogger Alex Wilson, who runs budgeting website SavingsGuide.com.au, says people should embrace a minimalist mindset and remember that it’s not about how much money you earn, it’s how smart you are with what you have.

These 50 tips are so simple and effective you would be crazy not to try them, even if only for a day:

1. Turn the light off every time you leave a room

2. Wear a polar fleece and ugg boots instead of turning on the heater

3. Close curtains to keep your house cool in summer

4. Turn off electrical devices at the power point

5. Buy necessary items like toilet paper in bulk at stores like Costco and Aldi

6. Replace your existing light bulbs with energy efficient light bulbs

7. Only use your dishwasher and washing machine when they are completely full

8. Install a water-saving shower head and use a timer to keep showers below five minutes

9. Sell unneeded or unwanted items on eBay

10. If you shop somewhere regularly, sign up for their customer rewards program

11. Cut your own hair or get a friend to do it for you. Look for online tutorials to help you get it right

12. Buy clothes that don’t require dry cleaning

13. Shop for clothes, furniture and knick knacks at op shops

14. Give up one habit, like buying a morning coffee or smoking

15. Take public transport rather than driving

16. Use a debit card rather than a credit card

17. Try to fix things yourself before paying someone to do it for you

18. Take a homemade lunch to work

19. Borrow books, DVDs and magazines from your local library rather than buying or renting them

20. Make your own gifts for people, like homemade cookies or jam

21. Write shopping lists and stick to them

22. Eat less meat, it’s expensive

23. Cook at home rather than going to a restaurant

24. Cook in bulk and freeze it for the rest of the week’s meals

25. Clean your car’s air filter. A clean air filter can improve your gas mileage by up to 7 per cent

26. Holiday locally and, if possible, drive to your destination rather than flying

27. Choose generic brands at the supermarket, like Home Brand

28. When buying a new car, look for fuel efficiency

29. Rent out (let) free rooms in your home on Airbnb

30. Use house-swapping or couch-surfing websites when looking for holiday accommodation

31. Take turns babysitting with neighbours or family friends rather than paying a babysitter

32. Buy classic, timeless pieces for your wardrobe rather than trendy clothing

33. Make the most of free activities. Check your local paper for free events around your hometown rather than paying for a movie ticket

34. Do your beauty routines at home: paint your own nails, blow-dry your own hair, shave your own legs and get a friend to help you out with an at-home spray tan

35. Be road safe. Speeding tickets are costly

36. Cancel your gym membership and walk to work

37. Contact your bank to ensure you’re getting the lowest rates possible

38. Grow your own fruit and vegetables

39. Carry a water bottle and snacks wherever you go. You will be less inclined to impulsively buy expensive or unhealthy food

40. Check expiry dates on perishable goods to ensure you get the most out of your produce

41. Invest in some tupperware to freeze meals and package them to take to work

42. Use grocery store plastic bags to line your bin rather than purchasing garbage bags

43. Use a piggy bank for spare coins. When it’s full, take it to the bank and get it changed into notes and deposit them into your account

Alex Wilson’s tips:

44. Make it a game to save money. Round down your everyday bank account and deposit small amounts into your high interest saver

45. Shop around for big-ticket purchases. Never settle for the first price you see on anything over $100

46. Review your insurance. Odds are you can get the same cover for less this year

47. Stop making micro purchases like bottled water

48. Cancel a direct debit. Save the money instead. Invest it, bank it or use it to kill debt

49. Stop paying for convenience. Stop paying ATM fees because you couldn’t be bothered finding your actual bank’s ATM. Stop paying for soft drinks, milk and bread at ultra-high prices because you opted to stop at 7/11 on the way home instead of a supermarket

50. Use a smaller trolley or shopping basket, anything larger and your instincts will tell you to fill it

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