Cut down on living costs without feeling the pinch

by Ramya Manoharan | May 31, 2017

Saving pennies

More than one economist has warned that household debt in Australia has grown more rapidly than incomes in recent years, and is posing a serious threat to the country’s economy and financial systems. They hold the view that the surge in the country’s household debt has reduced the economy’s resilience to future shocks.

Both statements point to the need for curbing household expenses. But, how does one do this without having to radically change their lifestyle? Start with having a plan and go on to pinch pennies, says life and income protection insurance provider Noble Oak.

ASG Planning Counts, a practical guide free for ASG members, suggests some practical and easy strategies to cut down on living costs without feeling the pinch:

  1. Take lunch to work. It’s an easy and nutritious way to save money. Taking your lunch four days a week could save you more than $1,500 a year.
  2. Make your own coffee. Skip buying a morning coffee and make one at work instead. At $4 per day, this could save you more than $900 a year.
  3. Stop smoking. Do it for health reasons anyway, but it will also save you money. Cutting out just one pack per week could save more than $1000 each year.
  4. Car pool. Consider driving to work with a colleague, potentially cutting hundreds of dollars from your yearly transport expenses. Many small and large employers support car-pooling and assist with parking expenses.
  5. Buy cheaper brands. Generic brands are a great way to save money on the grocery bill.
  6. Think outside the shopping square. Buying gifts, clothes and many other items during sales, second-hand or at craft and farmers’ markets can be very cost-effective.
  7. Pay your bills on time. Ensure that your bills are paid on time to take advantage of discounts and avoid extra charges.
  8. Make the most of tax deductions. Set up a folder marked ‘tax’ and ensure you file all your receipts during the year; this can save you time, money, and effort at tax time.
  9.  Take advantage of free activities. Museums, art galleries, playgrounds, parks, botanic gardens, swimming pools, libraries and a whole host of council-funded activities are among many that are free or cheap.
  10. Shop around for your other financial products. We can tend to have a ’set and forget’ attitude to our financial situation, but products such as life insurance, home and contents insurance, car insurance, health insurance as well as utilities such as gas, electricity and telecommunications services are competitive areas with many available products. Noble Oak offers a price beat guarantee on life insurance to ASG members. The limited period offer is open until 30 June 2017.

Life is unpredictable and may involve many financial challenges along the way. Having a regular savings plan in place helps to provide some protection against these challenges and will set you on the path towards making your wishes come true. 

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