How do you save or be thrifty with money?

I thought I’d put out a list of things I do to help save money and see what other people out there do too:

  • ask for a better deal on service providers once per year (NBN, electricity, gas, phone)
  • use the energy compare website when considering other providers (receive the $50 bonus)
  • ask for a reduced interest rate from my bank at least once a year
  • refinance with banks willing to be more competitive or offer cashback incentives
  • use prepaid mobile as they provide better conditions for a lower price in most cases
  • participate in focus groups
  • purchase only on sale items in grocery shop and let that decide what I’ll cook
  • buy generics. use things like ‘disposable’ razors instead of ‘non disposable’. The only main difference I notice is price
  • load up on non expiry items when they are on sale eg deodorant
  • put everything on my loan offset or redraw. Put some extra in ETF and super
  • bargain and use coupons/promo codes whenever possible
  • use this website

There’s probably others but this is what I can think of at the moment.
Interested to hear any other ideas or to hear if anyone else is weird like me.


  • purchase only on sale items in grocery shop and let that decide what I’ll cook

    This sounds interesting.


    • use fruit and veg bags for rubish
    • use cash rewards woolies gift cards
    • refund costco membership before it expires
    • use cash rewards woolies gift cards

      Keep as little money in gift cards as possible, and only hold supermarket/liquid gift cards..

      Can also find higher rates from sellers who want credit card points

    • +2 votes

      Haven’t heard about the Costco one, do you rejoin after a few weeks without issue?

    • I'm not really into the idea of eating something just because it's cheaper on the day you're doing your shopping. The better strategy would be to stock up on non-perishables that you would consume at some point anyway (eg tinned tomatoes, sauces, spices, pastas, etc), so that you can still eat whatever TF you want, when you want, because you then only need to purchase the perishables to go with it.

      • Second this.

        I did this recently where I got those items first in basket and then, let the weight and how much I wanted other items dictate how much more I could buy.

        I ended up spending $82 but, it was not on absolute crap food.

        Also, eat well before stepping foot into anywhere with a supermarket. Trust me.

      • The idea is more that you go in with an open mind as to what you want to eat, find what's cheap and make that. Don't go in knowing what you want and buy a bunch of out of season imported vegetables for 5x the normal price.

    • Refund costco membership before expires? what does it mean? Can i actually do that? Never been a member thinking too expensive for me.

      • +12 votes

        100% satisfaction guarantee allows you to refund for full amount at any time. Monetary wise it obviously makes sense, but decide for yourself if it's ethical to do so.

      • apparently if you cancel you can't rejoin. You have to wait 12 months.

        • Sauce?

        • Why would you join anyways. Shopping at Costco is supporting the American economy.

          • @gezza90: With their Australian products, Australian distribution networks, Australian built stores, Austrian employees, Australian shoppers.

            Supporting the American economy, makes sense.

            • @spaceflight: "Austrian employees" ? sorta like Aldi with their German ones? Haha!

              Besides, a true bargain hunter supports their own personal economy. If it's more expensive at Costco I don't buy it. Full stop. Know what you buy to save $.

              Their employees are Aussie with a few Canadians and Yanks mixed in. But they live here, so let's just call them expats. And they pay income tax and GST like us all. And the fuel tankers that top up the bowsers …definitely Aussie. The trucks that deliver their products…you get where I'm going. The products are from everywhere even (gasp!) China. All for you to get a deal. Not on everything.

              The concept of "Membership" means we are all part of the Costco economy. That means you are part of their buying power. But the salmon I buy there…farmed in Tassie. Yum. Support some Aussie fish farms. Win.

              No, I do not work for Costco.

      • You can certainly do that and there is nothing unethical or illegal abt that. They have already factored that in when setting up their policy as a big retail company, just like factoring in loss from fraud/shoplifting/generous return policy.

        The only problem for consumers is that if you do it too frequently you might get banned permanently, which is also a fair game.

        Instead of doing this, I would suggest anyone looking to recover the cost of membership to take advantage of their gift vouchers and return policy for points and rebates. Less intrusive and being a PITA.

    • Lose out on that sweet sweet Costco warranty if you cancel however. It is a gamble but depending what you buy might be worth more than the $60 yearly charge

    • that last one though… I mean if you are not satisfied with the membership its fine. But cancelling it to save $ is a potential misuse of the terms.

      • Whilst I'm all for saving a dollar here and there, those "100% satisfaction guaranteed" are clearly intended to give you peace of mind that they'll refund you if they haven't lived up to their promise or offer. If you're claiming the refund just to save a few bucks even though honestly you have been satisfied with the service, then that's a different story and would cross my ethical boundary and personal belief that everyone deserves to make a living (even if some may argue it's "just a big corporation") and it's not like they forced you to sign up or use their products/service.. Besides, if enough people do that, then it just raises the price for everyone else who plays fairly.

      • fair point, I know someone (not gonna say who but they know who they are) who will literally take advantage of everything they can find regardless if its ethical or not, and act as though they are very generous (namely- donate to charity then claim it back on tax). Thats besides the point but these people are just selfish MF and its not like they are poor, they just like taking advantage of others for their own self interest.

        • Just wondering why you would consider that claiming a legitimate tax deduction as unethical?

          • @ozoner: well i am not entirely sure if that person actually donates but claims to be every time i see that person(brags about it) and keep on urging my donate to their charity and its not like its red cross or those large one but to some strange religion that i have never even heard of.

  • Spend less than you earn via what you said above and invest the remaining money into appreciating assets that produce income with possible future income growth.
    I like property but shares / businesses are good and less hated by the general population.

  • use this website

    I am not sure about that

    • It's taught me NOT to buy things and that I don't really need many material things.

      I even downgraded my $9k car for a $3k one.

    • I agree. In some cases OzBargain saved me money, but far more often it's a temptation to buy things I don't absolutely need. I definitely don't need the LEGO Technic™ Land Rover Defender, but it looks cool.

    • Saves you money in some things but encourages you to buy stuff you don't need.

      • Not that I have a problem with it but let's face it, Ozb is great $$$ for Ozb owner(s). Rest of us are just plarform users saving a few $ here and there and impulse buying stuff we don't need.

  • Can you explain the first point, ask for a refund? How does it work

  • I find when I make less money I'm more thrifty, but I also save less money.

  • This has personally worked for me, and I've saved a lot of money in the past few years and wished i started earlier:

    • No ubereats/deliveroo/take out- frozen meals are at home if i feel lazy
    • No takeaway coffee, coffee is strictly from the office or brewed at home. I'll only spend coffee on money if i'm with friends.
    • Set allocation for eating out ($30 max per meal per fortnight)
    • Get everything from my parents (hand me downs, they buy really good quality stuff)
    • Nothing is bought full price. Everything is bought for a purpose, and contemplated for a long time.

    On generating more income
    - Investing in shares
    - Side hustles ideas

    • What are your hobbies/is there anything you spend more money/time on? Not bagging you whatsoever, genuinely interested.

      • My biggest issue is time. So between my work, side hustles, relationship, friends, after work study (work thing), skill upgrading, some exercise, there isn’t enough time left in the day unfortunately for other things.

        I did however get an ipad from today’s ebay sale and realised there’s so much extra cost (glass protectors, mount, cover), so I jumped the gun on that purchase.

        • I'm not specifically directing this comment at you, but I genuinely wonder the value in a life spent this way. What are we all saving our money for if not to enjoy ourselves?
          We can't take it to our grave.

          • @thrillhouse: Oh have you heard of the fire movement :) work hard now, retire earlier.

          • @thrillhouse: I am similar to @puffingmuffin, my reason being retiring at 50 rather than 67. That's 17 years extra of traveling Oz and the world.

          • @thrillhouse:

            What are we all saving our money for if not to enjoy ourselves

            What, you don't enjoy the act of just saving in itself!? 😜😁

            • @inherentchoice: gotta up this…

              yeah i have only been to Malaysia and Australia, 2 places I call home
              other than that, havent been anywhere..

              do i want to holiday? yup
              but i have greater joy seeing my asset base grow

              • @legendary-noob: Budget for a holiday. Honestly what will a holiday cost you? Lets say 4 weeks, depending how cheap you want to do it, what country etc, 7k-15k. Will that make a big dent in your plans to retire early? I really doubt it and you will make memories that will last a life time.

                So yeah, my advice would be to budget to enjoy yourself too. What is the point of working hard and barely having any fun for 30 years, so you can retired a 10-15 years earlier and then have 20-30 years to enjoy yourself. Do you really want to be travelling in your 60s? Maybe. What about 70s and 80s?

          • @thrillhouse: I agree with you. I do some of what OP mentioned, and my own tactics. I save money on things which aren't worth the price for the happiness they bring me. Then I have money for things which do bring me happiness

        • How do you use it that you need to protect the glass?

    • spend coffee on money

      Are you a dealer of the drug?

    • What kind of side hustle?

  • 7/11 has great $1 coffees, maccas ice cream 70 cents is good for a treat

  • I look for bargains

  • I always buy soap/toilet paper/detergent/fabric softener/dishwasher sponges on special, and buy enough to last 3-6 months

  • Budget - set aside how much you are willing to spend per month and the rest into an offset account. Define the rewards for mid year and end of year for achieving that goal.

    Also, I show my friends deals on ozbargain so I get the bargain high without spending the money.

    Cooking at home - seriously, you save a lot eating at home. I would probably eat a meal outside once a week on average.

    If you are a gamer, buy only games you think you have time for and would really enjoy and not go with the hype. Guilty of buying more games than I can play though

    • Budgeting is easier said than done. E.g. one month you might have your water bill and might see tuna/toilet paper on special. I bulk buy Tuna or peanut butter if they are half price. Only buy things that you will consume in moderation. Besides, money is better kept in a bank account because cash has no return/interest/saving in offset loan. Better to use a free credit card with points or 2% cashback scheme. Unless you use gift cars from cashrewards.

      • I didn't neg you but budgeting is actually doable (not easy) but definitely worth the time. I did it with my partner and we spent 2-3 hours per month initially for 6 months to see where our money went. From there, we saw the average spending on every item and went through together what we could reduce and what we are happy to keep spending money on. Then we simplified it to how much we are willing to spend a month and how much goes into paying off home loan, we no longer do monthly budgeting and do a 1 hour bi-annual review on our saving progress.

        There are times when we are low on funds, but we don't take it out of our offset account and we are then forced to make changes to our lifestyle and live with it. It works for us because we can predict how much money will be in our offset at any moment. Savings became easy.

        We buy things in bulk too from Aldi, woolies and like you said, bills come at different interval. But everything is accounted for in budgeting. Buying in bulk eventually averages out, bills become predictable when you keep a record and trend of your bills. You can exclude your bills from monthly spending if that makes it easier.

        Also, I avoid CC since transparency is what makes budgeting work for us. When we see money coming out of our account, it slows us down from buying things we do not need. We don't care about points and we don't let that affect our spending as points are close to worthless and how we spend our money makes a more meaningful impact to our savings. This is what personally works for me and my partner, but if it works for others, good for them. Not saying no one can game the credit card system.

        • I understand where you're coming from and it seems to be working for you. I didn't make myself clear enough in my previous comment but I think you understood what I was trying to say. I haven't done budgeting myself but I feel there would be too many variables. Perhaps a budget only on groceries/consumables would be start? For example if I budget $100/week only on groceries and essentials; soap, Oats, rice, meat, milk, vegetables, lentils, shampoo etc… and all these essentials cost me $82, then I see Sirena tuna is on special @ $1.35 then I only have $18 left to buy 13 cans of tuna. Also Morning Fresh and Almond milk are half price and I'd like to buy extra. So I only have $18 and think oh well, I have to take it out of next week's budget. But wait, it's not on special next week.

          I think the more suitable approach will be to list every expense and begin to categorise them to get a feel for where most money is going and how you can minimise it. It may be at the cost of quality of life. I'm not saying each individual item at Aldi or Coles but group them under 'Supermarket' or something. E.g. purchase rump instead of Scotch fillet or reduce frequency of from once a month to once every three months. This would be my approach rather than putting aside a set amount.

          • @gezza90: I set aside money for everything for a month. I understand your example, but I feel that 1 week budget is too restrictive like you said with specials. A month tend to even out your purchases for groceries better. So while you might find specials for your tuna in a week, you would be spending less on tuna for the rest of the month.

            While I like your pareto method of finding where most of your money goes and changing that aspect, I would argue that looking in detail for every purchases can be a great eye opener to spending habits. My partner found that she is spending a lot of money on bubble tea. I found that buying coffee once a week was not something I really want $20-25 to be going towards or buying an alcoholic drink once a month at a bar, I now drink water at a bar). These are usually many small odd spendings that could be used to improve your QOL such as continue having your rump. My point is, budgeting isn't meant to make people feel bad about themselves and feel bad for spending money. It is to reprioritise where money goes. Curbing habits that does not improve QOL, keep spending on things that really make you happy and saving consistently on the side.

            The setting aside money for a month was not an arbitrary amount, it was through looking at average spending over a period of 6 months, cutting things we do not want, reprioritise things, looking back at how much we want to save by the end of the year, agree we should save more and reprioritise again. It wasn't easy to start because sometimes we spend a bit more after a paycheck, but we used what we had set aside and helping each other. Eventually, we fall into the habit of consistently spending within the set amount. It works great because money can flow between different categories. Spending more money on groceries meant less eating outside. I buy an expensive board game meant I can make it up with not spending money on a game and cooking cheaper meals. Benefit is also not needing to micro manage when it came to budgeting.

            I am not saying that your method doesn't work, but I thought I would share a bit more about how I got mine working since you seem curious about budgeting.

            Sorry for the long wall of text

  • Since you mentioned razors, get a double-edge/safety razor. About $20 up-front and maybe 20c per blade, so you effectively reduce the cost of your disposable razors to 20c each. Plus you get a much better shave.

    • Which brand?

      • This link has a good idea of what to do to get into it. I have a merkur razor and bought a pick of blades to try out and am still getting through that over a year later. Additionally, instead of gel you can use a brush and solid cream that you put into a lather. I estimate I'll still have the cream I bought last year in 2030 haha.

  • Barefoot Investor strategy with saver accounts set up using Up bank to enforce budgets without cumbersome tracking. Works very well.

    • Barefoot investor is a great way to manage money it is pretty simple and very effective

    • Yep, it's a great book with some valuable advice. The only thing I have against the book is how he dismisses credit cards completely instead of teaching the readers how to use it to your advantage.

      • 2nd this. Credit card is great and has benefits if used correctly.

      • Why doesn't he like them?

        I only buy on my credit card, which is paid in full each month with direct debit so my money is earning interest as long as possible.

      • He dismisses them because of the extraordinarily high chance of someone not using it smartly.
        Like some us on here are great with our cards and pay off stuff straight away and barely/if ever pay interest, but that is quite simply NOT what the average person with a credit card does.
        The amount of people i have met who have a completely maxed out credit card that they will probably NEVER pay off…

  • Pretty much most of what has been listed above

    Only thing i would add that i do is - tend to milk my workplace as MUCH as I can ie use work toilets/showers, use work car for personal things (whilst doing work things like collecting a click and collect on the way back from a meeting) etc

    I try not to 'live cheap' just so i have money i try to live exactly how i want to but get the most out of my money

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