What Are Your Best Money Saving Tips?

2015 is our year of saving, so I'm brainstorming ways in which we can save. We're currently in our own home and have a 10 month old son. So far, these are some of my money saving methods:

Review the mortgage, our biggest expense! Talking with the broker about getting 4.35% with an offset account.

Stocked up on rainchecks for nappies and baby wipes when they were more than half price. It's saving us hundreds over the year.

Making my own baby foods.

Borrowing books from the library instead of buying.

Reviewing health/car/home insurance.

Reviewing electricity/gas provider.

Cancelled gym membership and using workout DVDs at home.

Reducing food wastage by planning meals for the week (and using the WOW/Coles weekly specials to plan).

If we have time, walking to destinations instead of driving.

This year, we're only doing camping holidays (already have all the gear) instead of international.

Anyone care to share techniques they use when saving money?? I'd love to hear more tips!


  • +12

    Erskineville to Macdonaldtown Opal run

    • The Pyrmont Fitness Club is a better option.

      • I think they have changed from 3 trips = 1 journey to 4 trips = 1 journey. Any Pyrmont fitness member here care to validate my findings?

  • +85

    Don't come to Ozbargain as often unless you need something. Ironically Ozbargain have contributed to my compulsive spendings as well (though it saved me a lot of money as well so I think it balances out alright).

    • +11

      Totally. I would have a room full of batteries if I bought everything I saw on OB

    • +11

      Haha but years of coming to OzBargain has taught me to refrain from buying things just because they're cheap. So now even when I'm out in the shops I can say no to a good deal.

      • +1

        This is so true. Because I've been holding off buying certain things I want until there is a sale, I've come to realise that i don't really need that item. And as such i save the lot by not spending. Unless its headphones, they're my weakness.

        • which headphones do you usually get?

          I'm in the market for some cheap/decent ones for train commutes. Listen to trance mainly if that helps with bass/eq needs.

          thank you.

        • @hahaboy: Unfortunately the one I use the most are my bose qc25's which arent cheap. If you want a lesser known rec, look up the Onkyo ES-FC300, ES-HF300, ES-CTI300, which are essentially the same pair of headphones. But theres a heckload of choices, and it depends on your needs of on/over ear, NC or non-NC, etc.

      • "…but years of coming to OzBargain has taught me to refrain from buying things just because they're cheap"

        Yep wise words, and absolutely true in my case. And, as others have noted below, OzB has saved me waaaay more than it's cost me; even in the relatively short time I've been visiting the site (< a year).

        My 'impulse buys' (i.e. of crap I don't actually need) that I can 'blame' on OzB are usually things like a "credit-card-shaped multi-tool for 39 cents including delivery", or "Humble-bundle; 6 games for US$1.00".

        Conversely, some of the more memorable 'scores' that I attribute directly to OzB (as well as to the actual providers of the products themselves of course) include:

        1. $500-worth of petrol/stamps/food etc. in November 2014 thanks to AMEX/'shop small'.

        2. $150 worth of booze from Dan Murphy thanks again to a somewhat quirky (dare I say 'leaky'?) AMEX promotion.

        3. I was one of the original '1-year-for-$50' subscribers on the 'Red Paw-paw' box scheme, so I got the three boxes they issued before changing the rules, completely for free (to their great credit!; I could hardly believe they actually honoured this promise).

        4. $20 worth of meat delivered for a total of $1, from "Aussie Farmers Direct". Really high quality stuff I must say too; actually way better than supermarket stuff. Vaccum-packed steaks with a use-by date more than a month away, which tasted beautiful even AFTER that date. And their delivery guy was clued-up/smart/intuitive/polite (so are the Woolies guys in my experience, I'm just giving credit where it's due to Aussie Farmers Direct; I was actually incredibly impressed with both their products, and their service).

        5. As an example of a more recent one, the 'Cadbury Chocolate' thingy has been really fun. On a sort of dare, my wife put me completely to shame recently (despite pretending to find my frugal ways tiresome at times)… she took 5 'picnics' to the self check-out at a pretty quiet time, scanned the first one/the shopping/ the voucher, then put the other picnics aside.
          When the attendant came to 'OK' the voucher, wifey SWEETLY / APOLOGETICALLY stated that she'd entered the competition 5 times/had 5 vouchers, but she could see that they were a bit busy so she'd just pop the other four picnics back/come back another time with those vouchers. To my amazement the attendant was having none of that, and just tapped away on the screen/whizzed each bar across the 'magic glass', 5 times in a row, and laughed.
          Hmmm. Anyways, that was in the first round, which I'd assumed was some kind of logistical/marketing error. Imagine my amazement when this current round commenced. Needless to say we have given away quite a bit of chocolate recently. It's not such a bad thing for Cadbury. We are always 'complimentary' of their product when we give it, and the recipients love it; so perhaps we are generating new customers for them. I honestly hope no "ICC" knobby's head rolls over this though. Potential scenario, when baffled accountant approaches the board:

        "Cadbury claims we owe them over 3 million dollars, but only 8713 people entered the competition… I just don't understand it"

        Anyways, I digress (as usual)… the point is, OzB saves you waaay more than it costs you, if used sensibly. Or farcically.

    • +2

      I have a small storage room full of stuff I purchased from visiting Ozbargain.
      Most of them haven't even been opened…

      • Ozbargain impulsive buying :(

        But it's 50% off, we are saving so much!

        • +1

          But we would have saved more if we didn't buy anything :-)

        • +1

          @congngo: But it's limited and it may never happen again ;)

        • +1

          Yup, that's my mentality… really should stop coming onto this site for the next year or so… would save me a fortune lol.

          Every time I see something that I might possibly need, look at the saving and then my wallet gets a skinnier…

  • Mcdonald's loose change menu.

    • +2

      Is that still a thing?

    • +2

      This should be accompanied by gym membership. OP cancelled gym membership, so no no

    • +3

      Free diabetes and heart disease! ;-)

  • +10

    Track your spending and review it each month. You'll quickly be able to identify areas where you can cut back and areas where you could greatly improve your quality of life by redirecting funds to.

    I use a spreadsheet but I've heard that the ANZ Money Manager (free) is good as well as YNAB (paid).

    Set savings goals that are achievable but challenging and relate to your long term financial goals. If you set appropriately challenging goals, the feeling of achievement when you succeed is reward enough and you don't fall into the trap of rewarding yourself by spending all your savings.

    • +8

      Great tips. We tracked our spending for the last six months of 2014 to get a good idea of where our money was going and where we could trim the fat. You don't know what to change if you don't look at the past and you can't get to the future if you don't have a goal.

      • +1

        "and you can't get to the future if you don't have a goal."

        Cosmetic companies hate this one crazy tip, don't have a goal and you will never age.

    • +2

      I can vouch for Anz money manager. I've been using it for last couple of years, it does a good job of tracking, labelling and filtering all expenses down to the dollar. The only transactions that I don't record or sort in the right categories are from the cash withdrawals, which is my own fault. After reviewing the whole years expense you can really begin to strategise on what to and not to spend on.

    • +3

      I use Pocketbook, it syncs my accounts daily and has a good mobile app too.

      • +3

        Just out of curiosity, doesn't using this app violate the T&C of your bank accounts as you have to give away your internet banking password to this software?

        • +1

          It is similar to ANZ Money manager. ANZ Money manager is also managed by third party although there is more reliability because of the name - ANZ.

        • @akd: Meteorite - the answer is most likely yes, it does violate the terms and conditions.

          I was very tempted to use ANZ Money Manager but I didn't in the end because I contacted ANZ and asked them whether the service would put me in violation of my other bank and financial accounts. Their answer was pretty evasive:

          "In relation to your question on allocation of liability arising out of a
          security breach, we recommend you refer to the relevant Terms and
          Conditions and Policies for any accounts that you might consider adding
          to the service."

          And the short answer is, yes, providing your password for your accounts to a third party will as a general rule put you in breach of most accounts. So if something fraudulent happens to your accounts, your bank could hold you liable.

        • @hayne: An example of one bank's T&Cs when I looked into this a couple of years ago:

          "we do not endorse, promote or authorise using account aggregation services… you'll be liable for any transactions they make on your account using your codes"."

    • +2

      Buy most of your stuff on a debit (or credit card that you pay off each month so you don't pay interest). The statement is your spreadsheet.

      • This is good but a more detailed sheet is better.

        Incidental spending (those $3 coffee you buy with cash) add up quicker than you might think. By entering things manually you can also break down your spending further. For example: grocery spending into luxury items and staples. The CC or Debit Card are only going to show the whole shop in one big lump which is no good if you fall victim to impulse purchase of luxury items at the supermarket.

        • These days you can buy the $3 coffee on credit too. But I understand your point. Sounds about as much fun as keeping a food diary. Life is to be lived not recorded like that.

        • +2

          Incidental spending (those $3 coffee you buy with cash)

          Well there's my first mistake. Coffee is $5 at all the places I go :/

        • @syousef: It only takes all of 1 minute at the end of the day for small purchases or 2 minutes at the end of a shop to enter everything.

          I find that we save 50%-80% more on the months when we commit to tracking everything vs months where we don't bother. The exercise of doing it makes you much more mindful about spending but YMMV.

          For me life is meant to be lived not spent slaving away at work. Saving more money means being able to buy more time to do all that living stuff. I'd rather spend those few minutes each week and take 6 weeks off work a year and have the option to retire early than settle for 4 weeks holiday and the prospect of full time work into my 70's. Of course everyone has different priorities.

      • What I try to do is to only have $50 in my wallet. That is my backup money incase I can't use card. I petty cash at the end of the week.
        I keep everything else on card so my statement is my spreadsheet as syousef says.

    • +1 for YNAB, wait until steam sale, I had it for 50% off

    • +1

      We track our spending with Toshl. Its an app and online. My wife and I use the same account on a lot of our devices so its easy to enter data. We also see each other's spending. The paid version lets you put income and get monthly report. Highly recommended.

  • +5

    Kudos to you. I believe you are Gen-Y or even Z? Good to see young generation are paying attention to their finances. I will look at this later and write.

    • Shucks, made me blush saying I'm young. Entering a new decade next month and feeling very old…

  • +15

    Buying fruit and veg at markets, significantly cheaper.

    Purchasing secondhand if appropriate, mostly on eBay. Do not be afraid of op shops for things like books. Also sell on anything you have stopped using, don't use or was a regretful impulse purchase.

    Drive the smallest and cheapest to run car you can tolerate.

    Research prices on any large purchase and purchase with a long expected lifespan ie. don't buy too cheap to save a few bucks and then have to replace a lot sooner.

    • +3

      Went to sydney markets on sat.
      Example of specials 10 kilos of onions $4
      Box of yellow capsicums $10

      • +3

        I guess you like crying… chopping/dicing 10kg of onions.

        • +1

          There's many ways to avoid crying while chopping them hombre. One of the easiest is to chop them under the fume thingy over your stove. Works a treat.

        • +8

          nah, wasting electricity.

        • +1

          Chew gum while chopping onions , you wont have to cry any more.

        • +1

          Safety goggles are my go-to to avoid crying while chopping lots of onions

        • +10

          Get a man to cut them. Men don't cry ;)

        • +3


          Half the onion and put it in freezer for 5 min.
          no more tears.

          Pro Tip :)

        • @ilsan:
          Or cut it without cuting the centre. Leave the centre part as a whole = no tears!

        • -1

          Solution = food processor.

          No magic required.

        • @destruction:
          Or, get a big girl to cut them. Bi-i-g girls, do-on't cry-y… (they don't, cry…)

        • put sun glass on or chop in 1/2 then run it under water briefly

        • -1


          "nah, wasting electricity."

          Not if you have solar, and even if you don't it's only a few cents (less than 10 cents) at the absolute most. So the benefit FAR outweighs the (miniscule) cost.

          Re "scrimping", I reckon it 'pays' (re enjoyment/quality of life) to know where to draw the line… otherwise you run the risk of living your life in a state of perpetual misery, discomfort and social isolation, in a misguided effort to save a completely inconsequential/trivial amount of money. Self-deprivation like that has absolutely nothing to do with bargains.

      • +2

        Onion and capsicum soup for the week then?

        • +1

          Not if you got a chest freezer.

        • And suggestions for stopping the smell of onion permeating through the whole freezer? Several layers of plastic bag and aluminium foil, then inside of a sealed plastic container don't do that.

      • +4

        Sounds like a recipe for pepper spray.

        • +1

          Always wondered if police use that to give a dull tasting pizza a bit more bite.

    • +6

      Re this one though:

      "Drive the smallest and cheapest to run car you can tolerate."

      Do also consider safety (potential survival) in the event of an accident as part of the equation though. In other words, don't buy a tiny, cheap-to-run car with no air-bags just to save a few bucks in initial outlay/running costs, if you'd actually expect/want you and/or some/all of your passengers to survive a moderately severe accident.
      For some things it's just not worth going 'absolutely rock-bottom', particularly when there's a child in the mix.

      • +6

        First thing we did when buying the car was look at ancap ratings. I absolutely agree it's not worth cheaping out on safety. The baby car seats were insanely expensive (one in each car to avoid mistakes when swapping) but had the highest safety rating. I would hate for something to happen that could have been prevented by spending a bit more money.

    • Does a Yaris count :)

    • +3

      2nd hand books be careful. Read that they did a study of diseases on library books and that the 50 shades book had traces of herpies. I kid you not. Google it. They said it wasn't enough to actually give you herpes. I don't want to be the first to prove them wrong.

  • +2

    Instead of exercising with DVDs do a paper run and deliver junk mail. If you distribute product samples you can keep the leftovers I think,
    Buy a chest freezer and stock up on super specials like frozen turkeys after Xmas. Must outweigh intial cost and power consumption.
    Ring telcos once in a while ask for a discount.
    Don't waste time on broker. U bank/ Aussieloans
    Maybe join nab first to get 1 k bonus if still available then switch to ubank if worthwhile

    • +3

      Interesting you mentioned a chest freezer, we're looking into getting one so I can order a half lamb from a local farmer. I just don't know what the running costs are like. Nothing beats local grass fed meat.

      • +3

        I believe chest freezers are rather efficient due to not suffering from the 'cold air falling out' issues that upright fridges and freezers have.

        I've heard of people hacking the thermostat on a chest freezer to run at fridge temperatures too which are apparently far more efficient than a conventional fridge but you'll probably also want to rethink your kitchen layout.

        • +3

          Considering the usage of a chest freezer. I would put it in the garage.

        • +2

          @lolbbq: Depending on the temperature of your garage.

      • +5

        IF you factor in a approx. $50 running cost per quarter, I believe most would be better off without a freezer.

  • +16
    1. Talk to your neighbors and go on one unlimited broadband plan and share the internet. Buy a wifi range extender.

    2. Ride your bike to work, depends how far and fit you are.

    3. Carpooling to work

    4. Cook dinner by using only 3 items max, not including herbs/spices.

    5. rent your partner out

    6. jokes on the last one

    7. be/less anti-social just for this year, just hang out with family or super close mates.

    8. only be social when you get invited to events that are free

    9. have a shower only when you feel really grubby

    10. Pee in the garden

    11. Rent one of your rooms out

    12. I'm getting sleepy…..zzzzz have work soon.

    • +6

      Actually, first one might be a good idea… As for the others:

      1. Don't work
      2. Ditto
      3. We grow fresh herbs
      4. Have considered that…
      5. Jks!
      6. Have already been saying no to things as we're the first with a baby.
      7. Not going to a wedding - can you believe they had a gift registry for engagement, bucks/hens and wedding!
      8. I have a baby learning how to eat food. I am always grubby.
      9. Ewwwww
      10. No space. Baby.
      11. Have fun at work earning money!
      • -4
        1. I work for the Government(Centerlink)
        • +2

          Hope you're not implying that I'm receiving payments because I don't work. That would be pretty presumptuous.

        • +3

          @lemc6125: As long as you are not abusing the system, why not? If your and/or your partner are eligible, have a look at the paid parental scheme, make sure that you are claiming Family Tax Benefit A and/or B as well.

          Noticed below that you use disposable wipes and nappies - try out Dymples wipes from Big W and Coles nappies, they seem to be the best bang for your buck out there. 480 wipes for $9-10 and about 20ish cents per nappy.

        • +1

          Thanks for the tip, we're pretty set for nappies and wipes. I got in quick when woolworths had their red hot specials on babylove nappies and wow wipes, so paying 0.14c per nappy and just over 1c per wipe. That's even half of the homebrand prices. I've got rainchecks which expire in June so hoping they have another big sale on them.

        • @lemc6125:

          I think you're doing your babe a disservice if you don't take all the benefits allowed to them. Even if you just stick the money in a savings account for them for the future, don't ignore what's available. Other people take advantage of the system for no good reason, a kid is a VERY good reason to utilize benefits. Think about how hard the housing market is now. How bad is it going to be in 20-25 years? How much are you going to be able to help the kidlet? I know I'd resent it if my parents could have helped me more but chose not to for no reason.

          I say this as a parent of a 9 month old - we both work and "contribute" and we both pay taxes and receive financial assistance for our son from the government, most of which goes into his savings account for the future.

          Anyway, yeah. I just don't think it's something someone should be embarrassed about or not take advantage of (coming from someone who missed out on $10,000+ as a younger person because I didn't want to be someone on government benefits - shake my head at past me).

        • I must've come off wrong. We don't currently receive benefits because we're not eligible. I hate how people assume everyone who isn't working must be 'on the dole'.
          I agree, having a child is a good reason to utilise benefits (although I'm sure there are many hard working taxpaying childless people who would disagree).

      • +2

        Baby sleeps in your room and get international students.
        Tax free.
        Since you at home looking after a baby why don't you look after someone else's baby as well and charge them for the services.

        • international students teach baby another language to further babies future employment/lifestyle opportunities.

          • Have you considered getting some form of employment. There are always alternatives to earning money, and presumably your looking after the baby, but it's been done before I so I don't see why not . I'ts just how hard workng you are.. but given your savings resolve in cutting back other stuff… why not?

        After all I am a firm believer that if you are cutting back on thing s(no 6) socially… things must be desperate enough to be seriously saving. Life is short… i think you should be socialising but making it clear OR organising social outings that are less money focused events, and more 'hanging out', walking around or going somewhere, games board nights etc….

        TO board yourself up in a house I think just weighs in on the non-financial side of life that you can't simply put a price on.

        But yes, again get a job, or the hubby to get a second sid ejob. Hard work now, but if you pay off the house and set yourself up, you'll reap the rewards down the track.

    • +2

      Wow, you're tight!

      • Thanks
        Voting for your comment

    • +5

      The only catch with sharing your internet connection with others is if someone does something illegal on the connection (copyright violations, downloading cp, etc) it'll come back to you and your account. You'll then have to provide evidence that it wasn't you. Difficult to do using the average home internet router. With the average wifi extender there's only one password and your neighbours may share that password with others.

      Unlikely scenario? Yes. But the saving of a dollar per day on Internet would be blown away by just saying 'hello' to a lawyer.

      • Interesting how the burden of proof has been reversed in that example. Not saying your wrong, it just interests me that we're all seemingly okay with giving our rights away.

        • +2

          You're right in that it's a bit sad that I'm thinking of the worst case scenario, but as unlikely as it is it's also sadly realistic.

          With the automated three strikes copyright violation policy it could be quite time consuming and costly to show it wasn't you downloading the data. After all, the copyright holder does have your IP and you owned it at that time and date. They have evidence that you need to put effort into disputing. As for other, far more sinister downloads that a neighbour could make, again the fingers would be pointing at the connection owner.

        • -1

          only a total moron would give their rights away.

    • -1

      4 could back fire big time if your partner ends up with child.

    • -1

      Cook dinner by using only 3 items max, not including herbs/spices.

      The multivitamins you'd need to be consuming due to such an unbalanced diet would negate any saving there.

  • +5

    Making dinner at home saves a bucket load of cash. Bring leftovers to work the next day which saves you even more money (don't have to buy lunch).
    If you buy takeaway coffee, switch to coffee powder. I know its a taboo subject but buying one takeaway coffee per day ($4) works out to be $20 per week/ $80 per month.

    • +30

      Getting rid of coffee addiction even better

    • +2

      7 Eleven espresso coffees are only $1 and are pretty good. $0.95 if paying with any of the 5% off paywave deals. Might be more than the freeze dried coffee, but money well spent IMHO.

    • +2

      Plunger coffee plus fresh roasted high quality beans (bought cheap at around $25 a kilo via the bargs) then ground fresh each week to ensure it doesn't get too stale (I know daily is better but weekly is a good trade off between quality and effort). If you're like me and love your coffee you'll already have a grinder (mine is the cheap hand held conical burr which doubles as a stick mixer and was $30 ish) and this compares well to cafe coffee at a fraction of the cost. Plus the milk is free at most workplaces. Note: caffeine content is higher in plunger coffee

    • I have a plunger…

      alternatively use a coffee pod.. it's not 'cheap' in themselves, but is a next best thing in using nespresso pods versus $5 coffee takeaways…

      I think i paid circa $6.40-7.20 - 10 pods… So about $0.75 a pod if you round upwards… milk is usually free if at work (if they have the machine), or obviously $1 a litre milk from coles/woolies FTW!

      I think it's a good in between treat as one of those things many people can't give up.

      • +2

        Plunger all the way. Pods are bad for the environment. We need to start thinking of the future generation..

  • +5

    Get your baby's clothes and shoes and toys and books from markets/baby fairs.. you can get really good quality stuff for 50c or $1 a piece, and they outgrow them so quickly.

  • +7

    Become a minimalist. But you have already made some good suggestions. Don't change too many habits at once or you will be overwhelmed and may fail.

    Also, you didn't mention reviewing your phone/internet spending. A lot of money can be saved on those accounts, Internet is free at the libraries and wi-fi hotspots. Good Luck with the new born, you have interesting times ahead.

    Oh, and grown your own vegetables. Super easy to do and great source of super healthy baby food.

    • +1 for phone/internet spending. Pretty sure many people could easily save $50 a month just by switching and they can still keep using their phone just as much.