Cut that food bill
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the average household spends $237 per week on food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Challenge yourself to a ‘mid-week groceries ban,’ says Rebecca. ‘If you run out of eggs at the end of the week, have toast for breakfast. Never mind if there are no tomatoes in the salad on the last day – enjoy the simpler version. It can save you up to $3000 per year.’
‘Cook once, eat twice,’ says Jessica, who is also a passionate believer in bulk buying. ‘Prepare enough for dinner and lunch the next day. Buying a daily lunch is a huge expense.’
‘Plan your meals before you go shopping, so you buy only what you need, and check your pantry to avoid doubling up,’ Sonali advises, adding that you can save up to $40 a week by choosing generic branded items.
Reduce that rent or home loan
Earlier this year it was revealed that 38 per cent of Australians who had struggled to afford food have done so because of overwhelming rent or mortgage repayments.
‘If your home has more than one bedroom, taking on a housemate could earn up to $250 per week,’ says Sonali, who is also a staunch believer in shopping around for a better home loan deal.
‘Making mortgage repayments weekly or fortnightly over monthly,
you will be shocked at the amount of interest you will save over time,’ suggests Jessica.
Got space in the backyard and live in a trendy or touristy area? Consider a granny flat says Rebecca. ‘Even if you live in a quiet or out- of-town area, people from the city are often looking for low-key weekend getaways. You can even market them on Airbnb as a writer’s cabin to appeal to a certain market and make it your niche.’
Another ingenious way of making a quick buck is renting out your car space if you have one. ‘People driving to the city for work will pay up to $400 per month for a relatively safe parking spot. You can advertise on sites like Parkhound or Gumtree,’ says Sonali.
Making extra cash
When it comes to making money, the experts say you needn’t be limited by your salary. There are many ways to create extra cash if you put your mind to it.
‘One of the best ways to increase your income is having a side hustle,’ says Jessica. ‘With technology platforms like Airtasker and Upwork, it has never been easier. I know someone who loves baking and now has a thriving homemade biscuit delivery business on the side of her regular job. If you have friends with similar interests think about joining forces.’
Got a car and spare time? Why not look into being an Uber driver?
‘If you love animals, consider offering your services as a dog walker or pet minder,’ suggests Sonali. ‘If you have a safe home with a fully fenced yard, you could earn up to $30-40 per day minding a dog. Sign up at sites like pawshake.com.au or petcloud.com.au.’
Did you know if you collect $2 coins in a 1.25L Coke bottle, you’ll have almost $2000 by the time it’s full? Get everyone in the family in on it and it you’ll be cash rich before you know it!
￼If graphic design is your passion, try creating and selling instant downloadable DIY designs on websites such as Etsy, suggests Sonali. ‘A party decoration kit can fetch up to $25-$30 per download.’
￼For many single parents, online surveys and paid market research are a great way of earning some much-needed spending money for the next school holiday.
The lowdown on living costs
According to ASIC’s MoneySmart website, families spent an average $74,301 on living costs in 2016.
‘I make my own cleaning products, I save a huge amount per year and they work just as well,’ says Jessica. ‘You can find a heap of blogs and tutorials online.’
‘Use energy sucking appliances in the night and use sun where possible to dry clothes. It’s better for the environment and better for the hip pocket,’ says Sonali.
‘I save a heap of money by having a junior hairdresser cut my hair. Some people are freaked out by this idea, but it has always been great for me,’ Jessica suggests.
Need a new piece of furniture? Check out eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace before handing over your hard-earned cash at the shops, Rebecca advises. ‘Search for the specific name of the piece you like or the desired retailer – you can often luck out.’
Sonali says setting the thermostat on your heater to between 18 and 20 degrees in winter can save you heaps. ‘Every degree above 20 can add 10 per cent to your heating bill,’ she reveals.