Those of you who have been following me for a while would have also been following my journey and ways of cutting back on everyday living expenses.
Once Eadie come along I wanted to be able to stay at home with her and not have to work full time.
I began following a lot of savings, budgeting, debt free etc. pages-and then read the book The Barefoot Investor-which I absolutely loved and gave me a whole new outlook on life.
Through social media pages, and The Barefoot Investor book I was able to learn ways to cut back on everyday living expenses-using the tips below I have cut our expenses down by over $500 A MONTH!!
(and that’s just on our basic bills, not including the economical lifestyle choices we now make)
So here you are, things that I have done to cut back on general expenses…
This was a huge part of cutting down our everyday expenses.
When living on the one income I had to really watch what I was spending-with having a newborn baby I really didn’t want to have to tackle the task of grocery shopping, so I began doing online delivery for our groceries. Its amazing how much you can save from not having those on shelf temptations as you’re walking down the aisles.
I started meal planning and also started doing a fortnightly grocery shop rather then weekly, which made me really search through the back of the pantry for things to use and ensured there was no wastage of foods.
I was able to halve our grocery bill using these methods and more.
I am currently working on a blog going more into depth of how I cut back my costs at the supermarket. So stay tuned!
Get A Pre-Paid Cell Phone Plan:
Pre-paid mobile plans make me think back to when I was 13, and had to watch how many texts I sent as my money dropped down cent by cent.
But so much has changed since then-Daniel and I both had mobile plans with Telstra-costing us $130 EACH per month.
So I combined total of $260 a month (and that was if we didn’t go over our data!)
We have recently both gone onto pre-paid plans, still with Telstra-but we are now currently paying $49 each per month.
So that’s saving us $162 a month on our phone bill!
and we have MORE data in our pre-paid packs. We haven’t noticed any changes at all since changing over. It all works exactly the same.
There was some cheaper plans available too with different providers and packages-but we chose to use Telstra due to service issues where we live-but its worth looking around for whats the best deal for you.
Before you go harassing your current insurer, have you checked lately that you are getting the best deal between companies that you can get?
Go online, or call up and get some quotes-whether its your car insurance, home, pet-whatever types of insurances you have.
If you’re happy with the company you are with, phone them and see if they will give you a better deal, tell them you’ve found a better deal, or that you are wanting to leave (they always ask you why and then ask if they can offer you a better deal for you to stay with them)
The first time I rang my car insurer, I was able to get my premium down by $180.
After a few more months I decided to look at other insurers, and found a company that saved me another $80-so that’s $260 right there from 2 simple phone calls.
Daniel also changed over his car insurer, which saved him over $800 a year!!
Make it a goal to ring them up yearly and see if you can get it down again, especially with your age going up, and safe driver rewards with car insurers.
Another tip for keeping your insurance premiums down is by having that ‘Emergency Fund’ that I mentioned in my previous blog about Budgeting.
If you’ve got money saved sitting there-you can put your excess amount up to a higher rate, saving on your yearly premium as this drops it down. If you’ve got money in an Emergency Fund to cover the cost of it, you can do it without the stress of not being able to afford a higher excess if anything was to happen.
Home Loan Interest Rate:
I had absolutely no idea about home loan interest rates-I didn’t care when buying my first home, I just wanted a bank to lend me some money!
It wasn’t until I seen someone asking on a Social Media page what people were paying, and someone wrote ‘anything with a 4 in front of it is way too much!’
I didn’t even know what ours was, so I searched through the draw to find our paperwork for our Home Loan and found we were paying a whopping 4.80% on our mortgage!
I sent my Broker an email (he’s amazing if anyone local is looking for one!) and he sent me back a list of interest rate packages. I was able to drop our home loan interest rate down to 3.88%-this is saving us around $200 a month in interest!!
This is only for those of you who have Private Health Insurance…
Do you actually know what you’re entitled to?
Personally, we just got Private Health because we both see Physio/Myotherapists all the time and wanted to save on that cost. But we weren’t even using it for all its benefits!
Again, through a social media page I seen people writing about things they get for free through their insurances, and things that are covered. So it got me thinking, I wonder what we are actually entitled too?
There was so many things I wasn’t taking advantage of, like free dental checkups and cleans, $50 worth of sunscreen a year, along with other Cancer Council products such as hats, sunglasses and swimwear.
If you have Private Health Insurance, go and read through your Product Guide and make sure you are making the most of it-you might be able to save on some everyday things/products.
Again, just like the insurances-check online or by phoning around to see if you’re getting the best rate possible that suits your lifestyle/usage.
If you’re happy with the company you are with, ring up and see if you can get a better deal, or even change the plan you are on with them.
After researching again which companies had the best prices, I rang my current Electrical company and asked if they could give me a better deal on our plan. They couldn’t, but gave me a further 5% Pay On Time discount. Still better then nothing if I hadn’t of rang them at all!
Using Less Electricity:
Making some small changes around the home can make a world of difference!
Last winter we used an electric heater in the bedroom for Eadie-our electricity bill doubled!!
So, you can guess where that heater ended up!
We do have a split system as a heater, but we choose to use our wood fire-yes its messy (bark goes everywhere!) and harder work (stocking it up throughout the night) but it keeps the cost down as Daniel collects our wood for free.
Then there is just your simple things like turning off lights as you leave the room, turning appliances off at the wall when you’re not using them etc.
Once you make it a habit to do those things before you leave a room, you don’t even have to think about it anymore.
Buying Second Hand or Borrowing:
A lot of people have asked me, ‘is having a baby expensive?’
The answer is, its only as expensive as you make it!
Sure, you need a lot of things for a baby-but you don’t have to buy them all brand new, or buy them at all!
If you’ve got friends-ask to borrow their things!
I’ve borrowed things from breast pumps and cradles to cake stands and carpet cleaners! and I’ve also lent people some of my things too.
Baby products seem to get used for such a small amount of time, and then they become outgrown and thrown into a cupboard. So offer to share things with friends, or ask if you can borrow something you know someone has packed away from when their child was a baby.
I also take advantage of my local op shops, and Facebook marketplace-whether its clothing, toys or just products-whatever I need I always search for it second hand before buying brand new to try and save myself some $$$.
This doesn’t just apply to baby things either!
I also borrow my friends wardrobes-especially for events-I can’t afford to buy a new outfit every time we have something on.
Doing Free Activities:
Enjoying life doesn’t have to be expensive.
We are pretty lucky that our hobbies don’t seem to cost us much at all-free camping, 4wding (apart from the cost of petrol), fishing, hiking etc.
There are so many things to do and see that don’t cost a cent!
Search the internet for local places around you that you can explore on the weekends with your family. I know my local shire has a whole list of nature walks you can do, along with other local activities.
Instead of heading out to the movies-and spending a fortune on snacks and drinks-pack a lunch and head out on an adventure to somewhere local, go to a park, or organize a play date with a friend. Having fun doesn’t need to be expensive!
Do It Yourself:
Are there things in your life that you really could be doing yourself to save money? But instead pay someone else because you’re too lazy?
A cleaner, the car wash, gardener etc.?
I’ll admit I hardly ever wash my car-but when I have, I’ve now made the choice to do it myself at home, rather then paying $15 to go through a car wash, or even more to get it detailed.
Not Working Full Time:
This probably sounds weird, right?
But sometimes working full time can actually end up costing us more then what it would to be a stay at home parent.
If I was to work full time, I would have to put Eadie into childcare-which would then cost me some (probably most) of my wage. I’d be paying for fuel to and from work (and some people have tolls on top of this).
But what I would be lacking the most is time-spending more time at home means I am able to bake more, saving on the cost of food.
I can spend more time meal prepping and I have more time to visit multiple stores on my grocery day to be able to pick up the best bargains.
Which also equals less stress in my life!
If you’re working full time, and still struggling to juggle your finances, its worth sitting down and working out how much you actually make once you take out all of the added expenses of working.
If you’re only bringing a fraction of your wage to the table after working 38 hours a week, is it actually worth it? Is there a way you could cut back and work part time and make the same amount of money because you’re also cutting out the added expenses of say childcare, fuel etc.?
Obviously this might not apply to everyone-but if there’s anyone reading this that’s feels this is their current situation-go over everything and see if you can make some changes.
But overall, just stop spending so much money!
When reading the Barefoot Investor Book-something that really hit me was the amount of money we spend (waste) on ‘things’.
How many Kmart trips do we do, and end up with a trolley full of stuff, to just have sit in our house? (I’ll admit I’m still a sucker for this, but I’m working on it!)
Our generation is obsessed with buying new things all the time-if you were to walk into your grandparents home, I bet you they still have an ornament from 60 years ago, they would still have the same old place mats, the same cutlery, the same vase and probably cushions on their couch from when they bought their first home.
Whenever I go to buy something now, I try to ask myself ‘will I still have this thing in 5 years time? ‘
Will I still have it in 12 months time?
We really don’t need to be spending as much money as we all do.
You aren’t going to die if you haven’t bought a new top for this coming season (trust me, I’m still rocking the same tops from 4 years back)
This is what I found the most interesting when I started cutting back-I used to leave myself hundreds of dollars a week of ‘spending’ money-and I had absolutely nothing to show for it?
It just got spent because it was sitting there-and when I took it away, I actually didn’t even miss it, and the satisfaction of watching my savings grow was the best thing of all!
Hopefully some of these tips I have shared can help you cut back on some expenses in your life.
Thanks again for reading xx