Everyday tips to save money around the home?

Hey guys,

I'm about to move out of home for the first time (into a townhouse with my wife)…
just wondering if anyone out there has good money-saving tips?

I've heard some of my mates say they turn off all electrical appliances overnight to save $ (not really sure how much that saves?), but stuff like that.

We have 3 bdr, 2 bathrooms, gas stove / heating, 7kg frontloading washing machine…no dishwasher, no air con. (it's quite cool in summer with good ventilation, but I can imagine in winter it'll get pretty cold).

Look forward to seeing your tips!


  • +8 votes

    I don't bother showering, saves a bit of money and I can't smell myself. I do have a bad sense of smell though.

    • +5 votes

      I'm about to move out of home for the first time (into a townhouse with my wife)…

      He has a wife….not sure how he can save money then!

  • +1 vote

    Heating and cooling is the big one. Another big factor is leaving the TV on (don't). Turning off standby power does help, but it won't make a huge difference.

    You can use the water from your washing machine to water the garden.

    • +3 votes

      "You can use the water from your washing machine to water the garden."

      I wouldn't recommend that for vegies! That's a big NO!

      Some rules I found:
      Using grey water

      Only use very ‘light’ grey water on your garden, if you must (ie, the last rinse from a wash cycle, or handbasin or bathwater).
      Never rely solely on grey water to water your garden, as it will harm your garden.
      You should always flush away the harmful nutrients from your garden soil by applying clean tap water more often than you use grey water.
      Never use grey water on food plants of any sort: ie, vegies, herbs, fruit trees etc.
      And don’t even consider using grey water near native plants, as the phosphates from detergents will kill them in no time.
      Spread your grey water around the property, don’t always dump it in the same spot.
      Take into account your soil type when using grey water, and be particularly wary if your soil is heavy clay. The chance of harmful compounds building up in clay soil is much greater than with light, sandy soils.
      The lowest risk for grey water is in subsurface irrigation pipes, while hosing it onto the surface of the soil is considered a high-risk option, and spraying or misting with grey water may be even worse.
      Your local council and health department will have a lot to say about what you can and cannot do with your grey water. This will differ from region to region. Always consult them first.
      Special low-phosphorus and no-phosphorus laundry detergents are available (for example the Planet Ark range of detergents), and these will lower the amount of harmful residues in grey water from the laundry.


        Nice write up duchy.

        Special low-phosphorus and no-phosphorus laundry detergents are available

        Even if using these, still don't use in on natives. I know form experience that it kills them.


      Heating and cooling is the big one. Another big factor is leaving the TV on (don't)

      Embertec is the perfect product for that and in Victoria we get it for free.


      • +1 vote

        Or you could just turn it off when you are done. Those devices require you to set a timer and if it is less than movie length it will really annoy you, and if it is more then you should be turning the TV off manually anyway.


          if it is less than movie length it will really annoy you,

          Well it's not too bad since it resets the timer every time it senses any remote signal/ volume change / Fwd / pause etc.

          Occasionally it does cut off , but its ok.

  • +2 votes

    Don't use electrical heaters, unless it's only for a few minutes, the cost is huge. Check your power bills and compare energy retailers' rates. Get appliances with good energy ratings, works out cheaper in the long run. Other than the fridge, I don't know what appliances you need to have on overnight.

    You may be able to apply for water saving kit with your water supplier, simple timer in the shower can save a lot if prone to long showers.

  • +3 votes

    Get insulation if you don't already have, so you can save costs in heating for winter.
    Avoid aircon and heater as possible, layer up.
    If you like gardening like someone said use laundry water for that. (or what my grandma did was get a clean bin and leave it under the drain pipe lol).
    Wash clothes in cold water not warm/hot.

  • +14 votes

    Per unit of heat delivered, gas costs half what electricity does (Natural gas anyway. If you have the big cylinders it works out about the same).
    Turn lights off when you aren't in the room, and replace any old style bulbs with CFLs or better, LEDs.
    A fan uses 1/10th the energy of an aircon.
    A microwave uses less power than a conventional oven, and doesn't have to pre-heat.
    In winter, wear a jumper inside the house, and have a few blankets to wrap up when you are sitting on the lounge.
    A hot water bottle or electric blanket on for 20mins before bed is nice, but if you are newly-weds that might not be necessary.
    Make the best use of your fridge and freezer space to buy in bulk when on special, and try really hard to cook from scratch as much as possible - if you start getting take-aways it can be a hard, expensive habit to break.

    • +4 votes

      A fan uses 1/10th the energy of an aircon.

      Also a fan does nothing in a room with no people, don't leave it on to 'cool down the room'.

    • +3 votes

      "if you are newly-weds that might not be necessary." How long do you need to be married before all hope is lost?

  • +1 vote

    Sign up to Going Green


    Once you complete the questionaire they will provide you daily tips to save money but also the environment.

    Some things are straight forward but some are quite innovative.

  • +1 vote

    Check your electricity provider website for the times of your peak/off-peak periods. Always try to run things like washing machines/dryers/dishwashers during the off-peak periods.

    • +2 votes

      Note that a lot of homes don't have an off peak meter. This only works if you do. Some homes will have the new 'smart' meters, which have a different set of rules again.

  • +1 vote

    The cheapest way to heat yourself up throughout the night if layering up and using a good down doona is not enough is to use an electric blanket on low heat rather than heating up the whole room. I used this when I lived in Canberra, I don't find it necessary in Perth :)

    • +1 vote

      I have just started a rule in the house that the heating does not go on until we have at least 2 or 3 layers of clothing on.

  • +11 votes

    Don't have kids

  • +5 votes

    carefully plan shopping/meals, know what is in your fridge/pantry at all times and always be aware of shelf life and expiry dates - in the long term minimising food waste/spoilage will save you an enormous amount of cash. always treat food with respect - try and eat everything you buy/make and if you can't avoid some spoilage here and there, set up a small worm farm (eg. can-o-worms/or make your own) so that you can at the very least compost waste and produce your own free ferteliser for small pot plants or your own little townhouse garden (if you're lucky enough to have the space for one). worm farms are very easy to manage, with minimal effort required for upkeep. grow your own easy to grow food items such as herbs, chillies etc - this will also save you money in the long run, and you will always have these fresh and healthy ingredients on hand.
    save water whenever you can. turn of taps, fix drips, reuse grey water, and if it's yellow, let it mellow (though avoid this last one if 1)you have recently eaten asparagus; 2)you're expecting guests) ;-)
    and i agree with the above posters - turn off those lights and minimise electricity wastage whenever you can! make a conscious effort and it will soon become second nature.


      just to add another tip to this :

      Make a shopping list before u go to the store. And if possible, only one person goes to the shop.

      Just doing this has really worked for us cutting down on our shopping bills.

  • +6 votes

    Read supermarket catalogures, circle the weekly half price items and stock them.
    Bring your own home made lunch to work,
    Check ozbargain regularly, but don't be attempted to buy things you don't need.
    Leave some buckets outside to collect rainwater to save for gardening.

  • +2 votes

    I think I check OzB far TOO regularly…so buying things I don't need comes with the territory lol.
    But I think after all the money I've saved versus money "wasted", I'm still probably ahead :P

    Thanks for all the advice so far guys, good stuff…keep it coming!

  • +4 votes

    My electricity provider has a peak/off peak time. Weekend is off-peak, so I try to do the laundry and vacuuming on the weekend instead of weekdays.

    When I leave the shower on while waiting for the hot water, I collect the water in a bucket so I can reuse the water to top up the toilet cistern.

    For some items (tea towels, bathroom mats) I normally wash them using the 15 minutes express cycle instead of full cycle.

    I bought Remote Controlled Energy-Saving Adaptors online and attach this to a powerboard connected to computer and TV, I just press a button at nightime before I go to bed to turn off all appliances and safe energy. http://www.scoopon.com.au/deals/16588/remote-controlled-ener...

    I freeze a lot of things to make them last longer: Bread, herb paste, pasta sauce, cheese.

    If you have gym membership or shower at your workplace, you can shower there to save some water.

    Good luck!

  • +19 votes

    Way too much emphasis on utilities… And after all that effort you save a few bucks turning this and that off. Just shop around for a decent energy provider.

    Eat more vegetables and less meat. You will save heaps of money.. Buy fruit and veg that is in season and get decent bread as you will eat less.

    Don't waste your time mucking about trying to save ten cents here and there. You will go mental and turn into a miser who will negate all the savings when you buy something you don't need.

    Which reminds me: don't buy crap you don't need!!!

    • +7 votes

      This guy speaks the truth.. Plus if you are a 'newlywed' I'm sure your new wife will probably think your a bit pedantic turning everything off (possibly get annoyed) that's if you haven't lived together before. Trust me its not worth the arguments LOL

      • +3 votes

        This is true for living with anyone.

        Never make suggestions to save power, if you want to save power ask your housemate/family/girlfriend/wife on what should be done to save power if anything.

        Many people get very touchy about it.


          Oh Most Certainly ,
          When living with roommates before, I would go crazy about them not closing doors when the bloody air conditioner was on.

          Learnt this the hard way not everyone is not as concerned about cutting down wastage.

  • +6 votes

    There were a million and one things mentioned in this forum post a while back. Take note of realfamilyman and his great (and sometimes bizzare) money saving tips

  • +6 votes

    The tips that I can give is:

    Shop at:

    a local fruit and vege place that offers cheaper than coles/woolies prices.
    farmers markets

    Try and only buy things that are on special at coles/woolies. But bear in mind that some things might have an inflated price that is then 'discounted'.

    Look at unit pricing when shopping for anything and everything.

    Last but not least, always have something in the cupboard that you can turn into a super quick meal. Spending $20-40 on takeaway food because you're over cooking is money that's not in your pocket.

    And my g/f says to try and pack your lunch to minimise spending throughout the week.


      My tip is to pay very close attention to fruit/veg and farmers markets.

      They can easily cost more then supermarkets.

      Also supermarkets close to a decent fruit/veg place are often the cheapest and best quality. (they are trying to crush the local fruit/veg place by offering cheap prices)

  • +4 votes

    Learn how to make soup. If you have veggie craps and room in the freezer, freeze them until you have enough quantity and enough time to make stock.

    Learn to steam food stacked up in chinese steamers. That's save stovetop energy and water.

    Insofaras winter in concerned, I do not sleep with my body next to sheets in winter. Under me and above me I have fleece blankets, preferably coral fleece. You could quite possibly get too hot with that set up. I pile a few other blankets on top of the fleece blanket to weigh it down, but they don't really contribute too much to the actual warmth other than ensuring the fleece stays close to skin. The key here is that the fleece must be against you. A sheet between it and you makes the setup much less warm. Seeing as how you are presumably newly weds, perhaps a sheet under you would be advisable for the first couple of years rather than a blanket.

    I have heard that you put dry towels in with wet clothes if you use a dryer and the towels will absorb moisture and make the dry cycle shorter.


      Last point: if you can don't use a dryer. That thing burns money. Even in winter (for Brisbane at least) I hang my washing outside overnight (let the wind blow) and usually by the end of the next day they should be dry.

      If not take them indoors and hang for another few hours and will definitely be dry. If they are still damp then you could consider using a dryer. It's pointless putting an entire load of wet clothes in the dryer directly after washing.

  • +2 votes

    A bit off topic but use a good budgeting program like YNAB and update it regularly.

  • +2 votes

    Looks like ozbargainer is a bunch of advanced survivalist…:)

  • +1 vote

    All of the above, and importantly work out a budget with your wife on expenses each week etc. AND follow it.
    Moving out can be quite difficult, especially when the bills come!
    I also always shop at my coles at specific times that I know they will be putting the discount stickers on, so then I am able to get some meat at discounted price and just freeze them.
    Also check that some bills have late payment fee, so pay them as soon as you receive them.
    All the best with the move!


      We found that doesn't work. We failed every time. We had to collect our receipts, list everything we bought in a spreadsheet, and worked backwards. i.e. Starting by saying, "I'll spend only $xxx on groceries a week"… it just didn't work for us. My hat off though to those who can do it that way.


        I agree that it can be hard. All we do is to estimate - I found that having 2 cards work too - one loaded with just sufficient amount of money to spend on groceries, entertainment and others and the other with money for the bills, loans etc.

        Just something I thought of today - consider swapping a LPG car or getting LPG installed. We got a ute on gas and its the best thing EVER, we save so much on fuel! Or, get a extremely fuel effecient car. It ll worth the effort!


          Know a mechanic that got his LPG installation ticket. Business booming. Government added their tax to LPG. No-one asks for conversions anymore. I think he said LPG takes a third more fuel to travel the same distance as petrol (something like that anyway). So by the time you work out the $/L saving vs. 1/3 more fuel, there's little to no benefit now the extra tax is on top.

          CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) is another story though, so I understand. Pity it costs a few thousand to fit the compressor in your garage. But even so…

  • +2 votes

    Firstly, I'd ensure that contraceptive measures are in place. Surprise offspring really do put holes in wallets.

    Other than that, ensuring that you have a meal plan and have food in the fridge so that you aren't regularly resorting to takeaway keeps both the wallet healthy and the waistline at bay.

  • +6 votes

    Every now and then skip the weekly grocery shop entirely, and just try and completely empty out (ie. cook and eat) the cupboard and fridge of all the stuff that you bought ages ago and never got around to using. It's the ultimate challenge really on a number of levels. Good luck living frugally … with a wife.

  • +4 votes

    A really good easy way to save money is on internet/ phone/ homephone plans. I see so many people wasting more than $30/month on homephone plans, $50/ month on mobile plans and $60+/ month internet plans. Ditch the homephone, get a $15ish/month mobile plan (see: Vaya) and look at cheaper ISP's (Dodo, TPG)

    (If you need homephone look into VoIP)

    Easy $50+/month saving.

    • +1 vote

      On that note however, don't be afraid to pay an extra $10 a month for the extra quota to do whatever you like instead of having to be careful with your quota all month.


      If you can sign a contract for home Internet then go for it. I think for $60pm you can get 200gb/unlimited, no installation or modem charges (I think that's dodo/tpg). The cheapest value for money naked dsl I have found is mynetfone - $50pm for 200gb, but the speed is noticeably slower. Comes with a free adsl/wireless modem on a 12 month plan. That also negates the need for a home phone.

      Finally for mobile phones, I'm currently on the $20pm amaysim plan. My phone bill usually racks up between $25-$35. Two things I like about this is that I pay $20pm and anything that does over gets billed at the end of the month - I don't like these inflated value caps that always seem to run out of credit and I don't have to overbuy. The other is that the credit can be used to call overseas as well, unlike other MVNOs you have to buy different credit for that.


    Shop your insurances around every time they come up for renewal - don't just roll them over.
    Potential big savings to be had.


    you can save money by downlaoding the e-book Grow It, Build It, Save It! How one family saves over $11,000 each year, and you can too from here

  • +20 votes

    Take dumps at work, not only will you save on toilet paper and water you will get paid to poop :D

  • +9 votes

    Feed your bees oranges and hey presto they make marmalade instead of honey!

    Also, instead of carpeting the whole house, just buy two squares of the most expensive carpet you can find and strap them to your feet!


      LOL - and people think I'm bizarre.

    • +1 vote

      gotta love Viz

      Take an ordinary cricket ball and hammer in eight two inch nails, then roll it around in the leaves. Hey presto, an autumn snowball! Cheap and great fun for the kids.

  • +1 vote

    Don't buy crap you don't need is the best tip of all time.

    The tip about bringing your lunchis good too. BUT
    Consider bringing drink mixes to avoid $2 - $6 coffees. ie coffee mixes for 30 cents or so per serve. Much easier than packing a lunch and you could save just as much. Same with cans of drink. If you forget, just do without.

    The tip about not shopping at the grocery store is a good one. I have enough food to last several months because I am warped. My nominal excuse is that I have such a diverse range of food I want around and a lot of it is hard to source, so I buy big when I do buy certain items.

    Here is a tip I have not seen anywhere on ozbargain ever - If you do go out to eat, see if your city has a TAFE training restaurant. In PERTH, where everything is a rip off, you get a three course meal for around $20. With extras thrown in. And I believe cheap grog as well.


    Eat mac Donald's every day if its a must, it really saves a lot of money, also could have instant noodles with your wife, you will notice the difference, unless she loves fine dinning, then Mate you have a problem.

    • +1 vote

      I'd focus a bit more on nutrition than eating maccas and mi goreng regularly. don't save on a healthy balanced diet. just don't overbuy and having to discard spoilt food.


        mi goreng + eggs + frozen veg + water + microwave bowel = nutritious mi goreng!

  • +6 votes

    Focus on the majors:
    - Home loans
    - Insurance
    - Groceries
    - Drinking & Smoking
    - Phone / Internet / Cable TV
    - Utilities
    - Clothing

    Once you have sourced the best deals on the majors then start looking into minor cost savings.

    You will have the greatest return on time by assessing your major costs then penny pinching the minors.

    Also you don't want to be pinching pennies whilst the dollars fly by.

  • +2 votes

    Wash the condoms and use them again. Not needed that much if you are married for more than a couple of years though!


    Even if u don't get private health insurance, make sure u get Ambulance cover. Like $70 ambulance cover for the whole family with westfund.
    Sometimes u have to spend money to save money. (Being an ozbargainer, u already know that, right?)


    make up a good excuse and drop by everyday after work with your wife to have dinner at your parents house, (tell your mum that u miss her food :)… other than that, avoid expensive mobile phone plans,foxtel,internet and no kids.


      Kids work out well for me. Always an excuse to drop round for free meals- " driving past and the kids said they missed grandma" . they are also a built in escape clause - have to get kids to bed, homework etc when the mother in law gets too much. Free wifi too.

      • +1 vote

        Unless the in laws happen to be also OZbargainers, in which case you will get back home hungry!

  • +1 vote

    buy a decent road bike and commute to/from work if feasible. you'll save money on petrol and gym; no need to find time to exercise and be fit and healthy in the long run. car insurance may drop as well (e.g. youi).

    new bikes are the best but imo there are plenty of great used bikes on ebay/gumtree (inspect everything's in running order, hasn't been crashed or stolen) to suit everyone's budget - which is better than a $100 bike from bigw/kmart etc that is heavy and will require fixing very often.

    downsides might include being associated with cyclist stereotypes (though I'm quite fine with that when my mates poke jokes at me) and the missus might be a bit jelly if you end up loving your bike more than her (which won't necessarily be a problem if she's also into cycling) :P

    speaking of cycling, to save on parts and accessories there are plenty of pointers on OzB which will point to CRC, Wiggle, PBK, Evanscycles etc. and some maintenance skills will save you trips to the LBS :)


    This is about heating and cooling. I was surprised to learn that large windows can impair temperature regulation. Heat is lost during winter and warm air is let in during summer. Surprisingly, a pelmet over your blinds/curtains can help reduce this loss by up to 40 per cent.

    Check out this government web site for more energy efficiency tips:



    just out of curiosity, what insurance does everyone have for their house and contents and others?

    I am currently uninsured, but now I'm at a point where I need something in case everything gets swamped by floods.

    • +1 vote

      Unless you can afford to rebuild your house I consider it quite irresponsible not to have house insurance. Personally I am with Allianz, but the location and type of house and cover required will all change the best option for you.

      • +1 vote

        If you're at any risk whatsoever of flooding, do some SERIOUS homework ….. get online to facebook groups in Bundaberg and enquire abour what insurance companies did and didn't do the right thing.

        Allianz, Elders and CGU are among those who I know have left people in the lurch.

        As far as I know, you'd be safe with Suncorp, and after the 2011 floods NRMA send out a letter stating that their insurance covers every possible scenario involving water. We've had contents insurance with them for a number of years, and when we were looking for house insurance mid last year they were by far the cheapest, with highter coverage than was being offered by the others.


          Yes, this is a much better explanation of why you can't just go with what someone else has. Every circumstance is different, but at least get something.

  • +1 vote

    Make your own household cleaners:

    Vinegar with a squirt of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle is a great replacement for Spray & Wipe (& healthier)

    Can also use vinegar to clean glass

    Get a bag of microfibre cloths for around $10 from Masters, you won't need to use cleaning products

    Eucalyptus oil is a great stain remover

  • +1 vote

    And pee in the shower!


    Unless your clothes are really dirty, you can use about 1/2 the amount of laundry detergent the manufacture recommends. If there's any suds left at all after the rinse cycle, you're using too much detergent.

    Also, I've heard you can use vinegar instead of fabric softener. Never tried it myself so I don't know if your clothes will come our vinegary. Better still, don't use fabric softener at all - if you reduce the amount of detergent you shouldn't need it.


      Yeah, we do that. Reduced the amount of powder each wash until our clothes smelled. Then added a bit more powder back in - and that's your new level.

      There are laundry balls too… They supposedly work by breaking the surface tension of the water. i.e. You don't use any detergent.

      We've also done the vinegar thing but it didn't seem to do anything. Maybe because our towels are really old though. You don't smell it afterwards.

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