It feels great to save more money – but none of us want to feel deprived. It’s no fun missing out on all the little pleasures that make life so much more enjoyable (looking at you, daily coffee).
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to cut your spending that are almost completely painless.
1. Inflate your tyres
Underinflated tyres cost you money twice: the tyres themselves wear out faster and they reduce your fuel efficiency. Tyres that are underinflated by just 7 psi can increase your fuel consumption by nearly 8%, according to the AA (and they’re less safe).
If you spend $100 a week on fuel and your tyres are underinflated, pumping them up could save you $7 a week, or $364 a year. That’s a great return on air.
2. Switch providers
Are you paying a ‘loyalty penalty’ for sticking with the same telco and power company?
It’s often really easy to switch providers for your power bill, phone company or broadband – saving you potentially hundreds of dollars each year. You could start with WhatsMyNumber.org.
3. Swap your overdraft for alerts
You pay for an overdraft in two ways: first, a service fee, starting from $5 a month, even if you don’t draw it down. Then you may also pay interest on the money.
If you’re just using an overdraft to prevent accidentally running out of money to honour your direct debits, you can remove your overdraft and put alerts in place instead.
You can set up free alerts on your phone or computer in just a few minutes. An alert will text or email you if the balance in your account gets too low, or if any direct debits aren’t going to be met.
4. Pay your insurance annually
It’s really easy to let your insurance leave your account monthly and let it roll over every year without thinking too hard about it. That convenience could be costing you, though – some insurance products offer discounts if the premium is paid annually in a lump sum.
If you have enough money to pay your insurance in full each year, make you sure inquire about possible discounts.
Also, if your personal situation has improved – you’ve quit smoking or lost a lot of weight – you can apply to have some of the loadings on your policy removed to potentially make things cheaper for you.
5. Keep your freezer full
You can freeze leftovers, whole bottles of milk, bread, hard cheeses and lots of types of fresh produce. Using your freezer to its max reduces waste and you’re less likely to run out of the basics and end up paying a premium price at the local dairy.
If you throw in a couple of frozen supermarket meals, when you’re feeling so tired you can’t even be bothered ordering takeaways, you can save yourself $20 or more. Do that just once a month and you’ll be $1,000 better off by the end of the year. Bonus benefit: a tightly-packed freezer runs more efficiently.