Necessity is the mother of invention. So where better to go for penny-pinching advice than to those who are savers by necessity?
We spoke to a mother of six, a one-time unemployed person, a struggling actor, a student and a pensioner to find out their super-saving tips.
Jody Scott-Greer, mother-of-six and creator of Six Little Hearts
Jody and her husband have six kids aged 14, 12, 10, 8, 6 and 2. She believes meticulous planning is the key to financial security.
“For schooling I put aside $40 a fortnight per child into trust funds to accrue nicely in the background,” Ms Scott-Greer said.
“School fees need to be paid next week but that’s all in a big bulk account so I don’t have to panic and budget because it takes care of itself.
“I have a Christmas account set up where I put in $100 a fortnight and that sits there because obviously we have a big Christmas with all the presents we need to get.
“Everything comes out of our pay as soon as it comes in so the mortgage, bills and those sorts of things are automatic. It’s a lot of planning and it’s all been sort of trial and error but it all pans out.”
Georgia Leaker, one-time unemployed and Inner City Stinge creator
Georgia lost her job just before Christmas 2012 and was jobless for seven months. During that time she was ultra money conscious.
“I ate home most meals. I became incredible at taking uninteresting leftovers and turning them into something new. Nothing was allowed to go to waste,” Ms Leaker says.
“Even if that meant eating just lettuce and balsamic vinegar as the world’s most boring salad. A fully stocked spice rack (cheap at Asian supermarkets) counters this.”
Her social life remained a priority, and she would still go out with friends. However, she refused to go anywhere with a cover charge.
“I’d hold dinner at my house once a week, I’d do all the shopping and cooking and my friends would split the bill between them.
“Staying connected to friends and still getting out of the house and going to free galleries while unemployed (or on benefits) was crucial for my wellbeing.”
Broden Kelly, member of Aunty Donna sketch comedy trio and part-time actor
We’ve all heard about the poor thespian, but how do they survive to produce another piece of dramatic gold?
Broden Kelly’s comedy trio Aunty Donna have a cult YouTube, Reddit and Comedy Festival following, but that doesn’t mean life is all partying and frivolous spending.
Mr Kelly has a seriously good tip for potentially perilous mobile banking.
“Turn your phone data off or don’t download mobile banking apps or have accounts linked so you can’t transfer money while you’re out,” says Mr Kelly.
“Another one is limiting my coffee to one a day. We do live in bloody trendy Melbourne, so resisting coffee cravings can be hard with our sexy hidden laneways”
Cassandra Evans, university student
Uni is a time of experimenting but also working on your wisdom. Cassandra Evans’ saving tips are a mix of both.
On the practical side, she says: “I shop at the market and walk to work so I don’t pay very much on public transport.
“I’ve also started signing up to market research company’s email lists. If you fit a certain demographic they’re looking for, then you can basically get free money for it.
“There are these offers I look out for, where if you give feedback you get free food. So at Subway and KFC they might ask what you think of their service. And if you answer you get free food vouchers!”
Then came the inventive student schemes.
“Although my parents live a couple of hours away, I make the most of their food – you take the leftovers but also sneakily take home stuff from their pantry, like cans of tuna – but I am sure they’d consent anyway.
“My housemate got our 2014 cat calendar, crossed out all the days and then re-wrote them one day ahead so we don’t need to buy a new one.”
Sandra Stiles, living on a pension
Sandra Stiles might not have the social life of a teen or young children to look after, but she knows you still need to be money cautious as a pensioner.
“I find with shopping, the best way is to have a really good think about what you want to have for a few days, so don’t just wander into shops and pick things up willy nilly,” Ms Stiles says.
“Shop at places like Aldi and NQR where there are so many savings to be had. Also direct debit for bills is great, but there’s also a system where you go into the post office and pay credit into your gas, water, phone or electricity accounts – that’s a good way of keeping ahead of it when you have money to put towards it.
“I like to have that cash in my purse, so I know and can see how much I’m spending and what I’ve got left to do me to next Monday. If I get ahead with my savings account I can even send money to my grandson, for example, bless his heart, for his birthday or Christmas.
“I can go out and buy food, go out and have coffee with a friend or go and play golf – you can live okay if you’re sensible.”