By now most people are aware of the rising cost of living in Australia (and globally). Economic conditions continue to have a rippling effect on households and many of us are feeling the squeeze. So how can we be smarter with our money? We’ve covered various ways to save money in previous articles, so on this occasion we’re looking at not just how to save, but how to spend smarter. After all, it’s not always realistic to simply stop spending altogether.
So, what are some smart ways to spend and save? How can we be smarter with our money?
Why is the cost of living continuing to increase?
As we covered in 2022, there have been several factors combining to result in increasing living costs. Let’s briefly review the lay of the land before we dive into smart-money tactics.
Inflation (the rising cost of everything) is increasing at a faster rate than wages in Australia. So even though wages are increasing, they’re being outpaced by basic living costs which means things like fuel, groceries and electricity are relatively less affordable than they used to be.
A report published in February 2023 found that corporate profits in Australia are also a key driver of inflation, with prices being increased at a greater rate than expenses. A hard pill to swallow for anyone battling to make ends meet.
Inflation is leading to interest rate increases from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), who is trying to reduce demand in the economy.
There’s a range of predictions about what to expect this year. Generally, the consensus amongst experts is that Australians will continue to feel the squeeze in 2023, with relief possible through 2024.
How can I minimise the impact on my household?
Completely stopping your household expenses is simply not realistic - so how can you spend smarter? We’ve got some practical tips for you.
Cancel what you don’t need
These days many of us pay for subscriptions and memberships for a range of things, from entertainment to fitness and beyond. This is a great place to start when reviewing your expenses and deciding how to be smarter.
For example, do you have a membership that you’re not using? A fitness membership, an app membership, or something else?
Perhaps you’re subscribed to an entertainment service that you’re not really watching. Or maybe you’ve thought about cancelling it to spend more time away from screens, and with people and things you love.
Now’s a great time to review and cancel any recurring payments that aren’t bringing you true value. Have a look at your bank statement for the past couple of months to see what you’re paying for, and where there’s an opportunity to trim back.
Review your genuine requirements
This area is a broad topic to consider but think about what you really need and value in your everyday life, and how you can spend accordingly.
For example, if you have two cars, do you really need both? Or could you benefit from walking or riding your bike instead? Public transport may also be an option, depending on your lifestyle. Selling one of your cars could result in some great savings (and better fitness levels!).
Do you have any insurance policies? Car insurance, home and contents, health insurance and beyond are also a ‘set and forget’ expense many of us don’t think to review. Take time now to call your insurance companies and ask for a better deal - or switch to a company that offers a better rate.
Make smarter choices
Sometimes simply switching to a smarter choice for a genuine requirement can have far-reaching benefits.
For example, we all need to power our homes, but what if you could save money (and reduce your carbon footprint) by installing a Plico solar + battery solution? You get all the benefits of solar, plus you’ll pay one low weekly fee, so you’ll always know what to expect. You’ll have an asset when it comes to selling your home, and in the long term, you can then switch old gas appliances to electric to save even more! The cost savings from a solar + battery solution are both short- and long-term. If you’re not sure it’s a good fit, read our blog to find out if Plico is right for you.
Are you a member of rewards services such as Woolworths Everyday Rewards and Coles Flybuys? Make the most of these programs when doing your weekly grocery shop. You may be able to save money by shopping for member deals or earn points that you can use for future rewards. Credit card companies may also include rewards in their programs, such as frequent flyer points when you travel. Sometimes simply switching to another company can get you an upfront reward, like a gift voucher, as well as a better deal.
If you’re a homeowner, now is also a good time to review your mortgage provider. Could you call your provider and ask for a better interest rate? Or perhaps you’d be better off switching to a different provider with a better rate. A little bit of research can go a long way!
Be more mindful
Some simple planning and research can provide real savings when you understand how to save energy. We’ve got lots of articles to help you out in this regard, including how to save energy (and money) in winter, in summer, in spring, and when you have a pool.
Other tactics for mindful consumption include saving water by reusing grey water, using your rainwater tank more frequently (if you have one), having shorter showers and making sure every family member is turning off the tap while they clean their teeth! A bike or scooter can help you save on petrol, and a toy library can be a fabulous solution when your little one loves new toys, but your hip pocket doesn’t! Op shopping or clothes swapping can also be great ways to treat yourself to a new outfit without unnecessary spending.
When you think about it, there are plenty of ways to spend smarter, on the things you truly need. A solar + battery solution can be just one tool in your belt - but it’s a significant one.
If you’d like to find out more about installing your own solar + battery solution to help you manage your household’s cost of living, talk to the friendly team about how much you could save. Not only will you get a helping hand with your household budget, but you'll also be able to access power during night times, blackouts and outages too!
Don’t delay - book in your obligation-free call today. You can view our different solar + battery systems by clicking here or calculate your projected savings with our Solar Savings Calculator. You can also get in touch with one of our switched-on team members by calling 1300 175 426 to see how a solar + battery system can help you save.