We’re in a cost of living crisis but saving money is hard and boring. Everyone has opinions on how to do it. Here are mine.
I never had the patience for budgeting, so these are some quick tips that don’t involve maths but will involve some lifestyle changes.
1. Use public transport and buy a secondhand bike
If you’re travelling within the inner city, these are now your only two transport options.
2. Cook more
3. Stop getting food delivered
Delete the apps right now. Takeaway should be just as much of a special treat as going out for a meal. It should not be your default. If you don’t want to cook, get up and go to a restaurant. The menu prices are always cheaper in-house, you won’t pay for delivery and the food will be so. much. better.
4. Stop shopping at supermarkets
They are wildly more expensive than lil independent grocers, butchers and markets. If you’re lucky enough to live in a big city, you have no excuse for not making the most of these magical places. They are real, supermarkets are lifeless.
5. Always look for the discount table
Buy food that’s about to go off. It’ll force you to actually cook it ASAP and not forget about it in your fridge drawer. Don’t be a baby about it, if a 1kg bag of cucumbers has one that’s looking a little bit slimy, who cares? Cut the creepy bit off. It’s still a bargain.
6. Stop reading expiry dates
They are bullshit and mean literally nothing. Use your God-given senses. If the look, smell and taste of the food are anything but literally making you want to vomit, you can eat it. Even drinking slightly sour milk is fine and a common practice in many parts of the world. Stop throwing out perfectly edible food!!!!!!!
7. Buy what’s in season
8. Eat your scraps
Save all your veg offcuts, corn cobs, cheese rinds, meat offcuts and bones and stick them in a bag in your freezer. When the bag’s too big, empty it into a pot, cover with water and let it simmer on low for two hours. Strain and you have free stock.
9. Stop buying lunches at work
If you’re already cooking dinner, make extra so you can have it for lunch the next day.
10. Buy a plunger and make your own coffee
You don’t need a fancy machine, I know your parents have a random spare plunger stashed in the back of a cupboard somewhere, go pinch it.
11. Buy your coffee beans in bulk
1kg bags are about $50. 250g bags are about $20. That’s all I’ll say on the matter.
12. In fact, buy everything in bulk
1kg bags of rice? You’re dreaming, 5kgs minimum. It doesn’t go off.
13. Start a veggie patch
Grow your own food. Herbs are too expensive.
Sorry to trigger memories of lockdown, but now that it’s warmer try hanging out with your friends at the park, beach or in your backyard instead of going to a bar or pub. And instead of a fancy away, ever tried camping?? RIP NSW, you may have to hang out indoors until La Niña passes.
15. Stop buying new clothes
Do you need them? No. But if yes, two words: op shop.
16. Op shops have lots of other things too
Need a whisk? Get one for a buck at the op shop.
17. Wear your clothes and shoes until they *die*
It doesn’t need to be replaced until it is literally crumbling off your body.
18. If it’s broken, fix it
You or someone you know can definitely tighten that screw or sew up that hole. Take a second to figure out how broken it actually is before you immediately replace it. Watch a YouTube tutorial for once in your life.
19. Sell your stuff
I know you have a pile of old clothes or an old iPhone sitting in your wardrobe that needs to be sold. Go on, take the photos, put the listing online today. If they don’t sell, hock them at a secondhand shop. Some money in your pocket is better than none.
20. Do a cull of your digital subscriptions
Do you really need five different streaming services? Make sure you’re not accidentally still paying for an app you never use.
21. Is your gym membership really worth it?
Could you go for a walk or lift weights at home instead?
22. Try to find a bulk-billing GP
If you can’t afford to fork out for every health appointment, they are crucial. I admit there aren’t many, but they do exist. Call around.
23. Take your loose change to the fucking bank
24. Flick the switch
Turn your lights, appliances, heating and cooling off when you don’t need them. If you’re not in the same room, does it need to be on?
25. Wash your laundry on the cold setting
Gas is expensive.
26. Be mindful and plan ahead
Try not to be impulsive with money. Plan to go out for meals and drinks, stick to those plans and don’t get carried away. If you can’t afford/don’t want to go to the club after already being at a bar for three hours, don’t go. Be strong.
27. Don’t punish or restrict yourself
Just find cheaper alternatives. Saving money and living within your means shouldn’t make your life any harder or less fun.