Money tips


Food

  • Plan meals in advance and prepare a shopping list and stick to it
  • Prepare meals at home rather than buying expensive take away meals
  • Buy groceries in a less expensive outlet or on “market” days
  • Shop at fresh fruit and vegetable markets
  • Prepare packed lunches for work and school
  • Buy fruits and vegetables in season
  • Buy in bulk with neighbours or friends
  • Grow some of your own food – as simple as a pot of herbs

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Entertainment

  • Check out free and low-cost recreation options in your local area
  • Arrange a picnic or barbecue rather than going out to a restaurant
  • Give yourself and your family inexpensive treats
  • Take some personal time out every week

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Transport

  • Use public transport where possible
  • Leave your car at home and look for walking opportunities
  • Reduce the number of cars in the household; even if not used they still have a cost
  • Sell your car and buy a less expensive car and use the money from the sale to pay off debt

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Electricity and gas bills

  • Turn off lights in rooms you’re not using
  • Turn off appliances at the power point rather than leaving them on standby
  • Use cold water for clothes washing
  • Dry your clothes outdoors and disconnect the dryer
  • Consider making fixed fortnightly payments for gas and electricity bills based on your average usage to smooth out the payments

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Water bills

  • Install a water-efficient shower head
  • Have shorter showers
  • Mulch your garden
  • Use a dual-flush toilet
  • Only use your washing machine and dishwasher when you have full loads

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Wellbeing

  • Walk for 20 minutes a day or find an alternative physical exercise that is free
  • Drink tap water – it’s good for you and it’s free
  • Have fruit for a snack instead of expensive pre-packaged snack foods
  • Access free phone counselling services (such as Lifeline, BeyondBlue and Gamblers Help Line) if you’re experiencing problems like depression, gambling and alcohol addiction and need confidential and professional support

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Phone and Internet

  • Keep in touch with family and friends using email or Skype on the Internet  to reduce your costs for STD and international calls
  • Use the local library for free Internet, newspapers and books
  • Use pre-paid phone cards to control your phone expenses

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Clothing

  • Shop at second hand opportunity shops or local markets

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Home maintenance

Borrow equipment like ladders and wheelbarrows from your neighbours rather than buying your own

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Your money

  • Plan and save for your purchases rather than buying things on credit
  • Don’t be afraid to haggle over prices, especially if you’re paying cash.
  • Keep a budget to work out the different areas of expenditure
  • Work out the things you ‘need rather than ‘want’, that is what’s essential for everyday living
  • Review your budget at least every three months and adjust it if necessary
  • Consider switching from a credit card to a debit card so you’ll be spending your own money and not paying to use somebody else’s
  • Hold a garage sale to raise money from things you no longer need and use the funds to pay off debt
  • Plan and save for purchases rather than buying everything on credit
  • Try using cash only for all your expenses
  • Consider using lay-by for early Christmas shopping
  • Set an affordable limit on birthday and Christmas gifts and stick to it

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Future employment

  • Get some free help preparing your resume from Centrelink or your local community centre
  • Get somebody you trust to ask you questions as practice for a job interview
  • Do voluntary work in your community to keep your skills current

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