There’s no denying that things are tough in WA these days. Gone are the days of easy to find jobs and high salaries being the norm. With the recent downturn in the mining and oil and gas industries, many households are tightening their belts, with redundancy being more common than most people would like.
If you’re feeling the pinch when it comes to spending, not just on luxuries but on the bare essentials too, here are 10 easy ways to save money in Australia and still enjoy a decent quality of life. Of course everyone’s circumstances are going to be vastly different, but hopefully there are some things on this list that might help you save the pennies (or cents really!).
1. Loyalty Cards
If you haven’t already signed up to loyalty cards in stores you regularly shop in, you’re missing out on free money! Coles and Woolworths both offer loyalty programs where for every dollar you spend you earn a point. On top of this they send out vouchers for extra points if you spend a certain amount or buy certain products. If you’re already spending that amount or it’s a product that’s on your list, perfect!
For every 2,000 points you earn, you get $10 off your shopping. See? Free money! You can also get cards that give you a free hot drink or smoothie when you’ve bought 10 (Boost Juice, Dome, Max Brenner, etc).
2. Fuel Vouchers
Discount fuel vouchers can be earned at Woolworths, Coles and IGA. Each supermarket is linked to specific fuel stations, so Coles is linked with Shell, Woolworths with Caltex and IGA with Puma (not all fuel stations are linked to the supermarkets though so check this before you start filling up).
You will get a 4c off per litre voucher when you spend $30 in Coles or Woolworths or $25 in IGA. It might not equate to millions but you can fill up more than one car per voucher (up to 150 litres per voucher!) so over the course of a few months it can add up.
3. Shop Around
Shopping around for the best deals on your weekly grocery shop can result in fantastic savings. Of course this will depend on what you are and aren’t prepared to switch to and what kind of goods you are buying. From personal experience, when I shopped only at Coles or Woolworths, I would easily spend a minimum of $150 a week for my family of 3 (disclaimer – we don’t eat red meat, only chicken and fish) and sometimes up to $200 depending what we needed that week.
Since I started to shop around, I now spend between $100 and $130. Go through all the latest offer magazines (most people get these delivered to their door once a week) for Coles, Woolworths, IGA, Aldi, Farmer Jacks, Spudshed and anything else local to you and work out what you should buy from where. I shop at Aldi now for my basics, get a few branded items from Coles or Woolworths that I prefer to stick with and get my fresh and local fruit, vegetables and bakery items from Drovers in Wanneroo.
I cannot believe the difference in price and I don’t feel I’ve compromised on quality at all. It might take you a bit longer to go to more than one store, but if they are all local to you the savings you’ll make will more than cover your petrol and time costs.
4. The Entertainment Book
If you don’t have an Entertainment Book, and you enjoy eating out or taking the kids for an ice cream every now and then, this little baby will pay for itself in no time. Available online, from some schools as fundraisers, or through a local charity such as Dogs Refuge Perth, it costs $65 for the WA membership which now includes places in Bali too!
The Entertainment Book has hundreds, if not thousands of discount vouchers and buy one get one free offers for cafes, restaurants, retail stores, attractions, hotels, and much more. You’ll find some places you may already go, like San Churros, Grill’d, Ben & Jerry’s, Muzz Buzz, Coffee Club, Sumo Salad, Grand Cinemas, SciTech, and many more. But you may also be able to check out some new places at an affordable price.
You can search online before buying the app or the book to see if there are any places you like to go and would be able to save money on. I worked out last year that after we made our $65 back we saved around $300 just going to places we normally would have gone or tried new places and got a great discount.
A good deals website is Scoopon – you can look through and see if there are any things you want to do or places you want to go which have vouchers available and then buy a voucher. Sign up for the emails and get the offers delivered straight to your inbox.
Another deals website, Groupon has local deals too – just pop in your location and they’ll tell you what deals are available in your area. Recently joined forces with Our Deal so these two sites are combined into one now.
7. Kids Eat Free
Many restaurants and cafes offer kids eat free options on certain nights of the week so if you do want to go out for a family meal, check out where your kids can eat for free and save some money! Spur and Panarotti’s in Currambine both have kids eat free days!
There are a few great websites which have lists so check them out (but double check if they are up to date before you go!):
8. Birthday Freebies
Did you know that lots of places offer freebies when it’s your birthday? Most have conditions, such as being a club member or having a certain number of days to claim your freebie but they are so worth it!
Some of my favourites includes free churros for 2 at San Churros, a free Boost juice, a free Cold Rock ice cream and a free meal from Nandos.
There are so many great competitions around and you can win some fab prizes. The best bit is that with Perth (and Australia in general) having a relatively small population, it gives great odds when it comes to winning.
Many competitions are run on social media like Facebook and Instagram so if you have any things you like to follow, like food blogs, kids/parenting blogs, or even specific places or businesses, make sure you follow them on social media so when they do run a competition you don’t miss out.
I’ve won some fab prizes since I started entering competitions here, from cinema tickets to gourmet foodie hampers, vouchers for wineries, bottles of wine and more. While they may not be essentials, they can add a little bit of fun and luxury if you are on a tight budget.
10. Switch your utilities
OK so this one may not be completely possible here in WA as we only have one electricity provider but we do have 2 gas providers so why not look at switching to Kleenheat? We looked at switching and as soon as Alinta found out, they offered us a better rate and we ended up staying with them. So just by asking, you can save money!
I also managed to get a discount on our Foxtel package just by asking so anything you have that you might be able to reduce, sometimes it just takes a phone call and asking and you might save more than you think.
So there you have it – my top 10 easy ways to save money in Australia!
What are your tips for saving money when you’re on a budget? Let me know in the comments.
Want to have fun but got no money to spend? Read my top 10 free things to do in Perth now.