10 easy ways to cut down your monthly living costs

By Ece Demir  |  12 May, 2021

After what the year 2020 has thrown at us, many Australians in 2021 are looking for better ways to save and be more financially comfortable.

Cutting down your monthly expenses can be easier than it seems and knowing how to handle your monthly expenses is essential if you want to save money. There are many ways that you might be able to cut back on expenses and save money, and it starts off with raising awareness about your spending patterns.

We’ve come up with 10 easy ways you could cut down your monthly living costs and help you save some extra money.

1. Know what you’re spending, write it all down.

First, you need to see where your money is going because if you don’t know where your money is going you won’t know where to cut down costs. This step goes in hand with creating your budget of monthly costs. Leave no stone unturned; check your bank statements, credit card statements, bring up all bills and receipts whatever possible way to track your expenses. Be mindful to have a rough 3 – 6 month estimation of your budget and expenses to gain full transparency with your costs.

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2. Get on top of any debt and if there is debt, consolidate it.

Credit cards can act as a giant hurdle when trying to save money and having multiple debts with all different interest rates can cause damage to your bank account. If you have multiple loans or credit cards, refinancing them all together could reduce individual fees associated with each of your debts. It can also be easier to keep a track of debt if it’s all in one place.

woman looking at credit card

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3. Shop for groceries once a week, with a list and at the store.

One of the best ways to cut down on expenses is to know what you need from the store from knowing what is already at home and organising your meals for the week. Doing one large grocery shop for the whole week, rather than multiple short trips, can help eliminate those impulse buys, takeaway and even wastage. By writing up a weekly menu, it will save you some money as you know what ingredients you need to buy and prevents those overbuying habits with take out. This goes hand in hand with your shopping list as if you don’t have one, you can make those unnecessary purchases, which ultimately means less in your savings account.

4. Conserve your energy bills.

On average Australians spend $1700 a year on electricity, according to an article by Home To Love, so this means there is plenty of room to save some extra money. If you live in an area where you have the option to choose from different providers, do some research and comparisons to see if you are indeed getting the best deal. If you’re not, you may be able to save by switching providers.

5. Turn off appliances, ditch the second fridge and more.

Turning off appliances at the power outlet when not in use can reduce your energy bill by up to 10%. Another method you should consider is to ditch the second fridge, as it can add an extra $172 to your annual power bill – even more if it’s an older model, according to Homes To Love. You could also set your air conditioner to dry mode; this can potentially reduce halve the cost of running your air conditioner. Regularly cleaning the filters can also help keep your air conditioner run efficiently.

6. Research and review your health insurance.

Health insurance is one of the biggest expenses you can have. You should check up on your health insurance cover and possibly reduce your premiums by dropping unnecessary covers, such as pregnancy if you’re not planning on children soon. Another way can be by reducing your excess only if you consider yourself to be in a position to cover the extra payment, or even if you find another health fund that will benefit your needs and save you more money.

7. Shop around for your car insurance, take advantage of deals.

The cost of comprehensive car insurance policies can vary drastically between different car insurance providers. Some insurers offer discounts and deals which could benefit you to check and see if you should change your insurer.

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8. Make sure your savings account is getting the best interest rate.

Some savings accounts have very good interest rates, and some don’t. If you want to maximise your savings account make sure you are getting the best possible rate and if this means potentially moving banks, you might want to consider it. Some banks also have ‘bonus’ interest incentives, where if you meet a certain criterion you will receive extra interest.

9. Buy home brand products.

Whether it is food or condiments, washing detergent or dishwasher liquid, antibacterial sprays, choosing the unbranded products at your local supermarket will most likely save you some extra money that will add up over time. Usually, these products compared to the branded have very similar almost identical ingredients with just a few differences. It is worth trying unbranded products as you might enjoy some things better.

10. Use public transport, cycle or walk.

Using your car can cost dramatically more than other transport options. On top of your weekly or fortnightly petrol payments, you have your car registration, the car servicing every 10,000kms, your car insurance and if you cause an accident you have the extra excess. If you live in an area where public transport is close and safe you should consider it. Sometimes, it is more time efficient as well during peak hour traffic.

Try talking to your providers or banks if you are in financial hardships. Most providers care for your needs and will try to help you as much as they can. If you ever need any further assistance or are in financial strife, you can consider free financial counselling services. The Financial Counselling Australia website has a ‘Find a financial counsellor’ tool that can help you find financial counsellors around Australia.

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Words by Ece Demir


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