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11 of the Best Ways I Saved Money Last Year

11 of the Best Ways I Saved Money Last Year

11 Tips to Save Money

It seems every year for the past 4 years I have had an extremely large expense (think $30,000 or more).

In 2019, it was the last part of my custody battle.

2020 was setting up a house in Honiara, Solomon Islands after getting locked down, then repatriating and setting up house plus buying a car here.

Check out all that drama in how to handle financial emergencies and obstacles.

Since I was pregnant and due in January 2021, that year, I started on maternity leave and doing all the paperwork for a permanent residency visa.

Followed by $30,000 for a commercial dive course for him and a trip for all of us to Tassie to see him while studying.

Check out the 9 of the best ways I saved money in 2021 and how I will save even more in 2022 to get an idea of where I was at this time last year.

Now here we are, at the start of 2023 and I am looking back on the best ways I saved with 2 teens, a toddler and a baby.

No childcare available, having to juggle it all and move interstate. Fun times!

Note: If you like freebies and discounts, check out how to get a $100 cash bonus from ING, $14 from Up Bank or have a look at the full list of freebies, offers and discounts for every state.

11 of the Best Ways I Saved Money in 2022

It was a big year. He started work in another state in Jan 2022, we had another baby in Feb 2022 and I moved down with the kids in July 2022 to where he was working.

So new school, new uniforms, setting up in a larger home etc.

A larger car is required too since the Corolla is too small. Expense, after expenses on top of regular living expenses. But it was worth it.

And since borders opened, we are heading back to Vanuatu so the family there can meet the two new babies.

The planned large expenses for 2023 so far are all related to increasing wealth, so I am ok with that.

With so many large expenses, I needed to make as much as possible and save everywhere I could.

Here are the main things that saved me significant money in 2022.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

1. Compared and Shopped Accordingly

This goes for both items we needed and all our general expenses such as electricity, internet etc.

Moving in the middle of the year was a great opportunity to evaluate who our providers were as well as put off purchases until EOFYS and Black Friday Sales.

We had some large purchases to make this year.

Each purchase was saved for, thought about and purchased at the right time.

Knowing when the best sales were for what we wanted saved thousands.

It is amazing how much things can be reduced.

And it wasn’t just big ticket items (although we did need a few of those).

It’s the smaller, everyday items we use that could now be bought in bulk at sale times.

Our home in Noosa was too small for us to stock up on anything so we could only really purchase weekly.

Once we moved to the bigger home in July, we had the storage space and saved a lot.

As for providers, I currently use RedEnergy (and did when I lived in NSW previously too). They offer a $25 bonus when you switch.

2. Maximised Reward Programs

Being a member of each reward program connected to where we shop not only saved money through extra discounts, it also provided cash back and some cool KitchenAid items, glassware and other things.

Here is how I do it:
– Shopped around and the best insurance quote was with Woolworths for us plus we got a huge points bonus. Insurance also provides a 10% discount at Woolworths every month. Coles do similar offers.

– Bought only the on sale items at each store e.g. half price. This reduces the total spend at each store and means each store will offer better deals. When they offer spend $xyz to get 10,000 bonus points or similar, the more you spend at one store, the higher that amount will be to spend to get the bonus points too.

– Unlimited delivery so we can take advantage of sales and bonuses without impulse buying.

– Everyday Extra Membership paid for itself within a month. Bonus 10% off Big W and Woolworths, bonus points, a bonus item each month etc. So many perks.

– Always boost points or activate offers for each shop.

– Checked and cashed in bonus credits for items e.g. KitchenAid, glassware etc. We got a few items that were on our ‘really want’ list. Items we wanted way before these promotions so they were great bonuses.

3. Freebies, Discounts and Cashback

On top of the reward programs above, I made sure to use the cashback programs at every opportunity.

More than a few times I got items on sale plus over 25% cash back.

A few of those purchases were worth well over $600 and I got them for $200 after the sale prices and cash back.

Check out a huge list of freebies here plus a list of Aussie birthday freebies.

Read 12 ways to get coupons and discounts as well as these 9 tips to get cashback and discounts on everything, this is my exact method.

4. Went Without a Car

From April until July, I had no car. Yes, 4 kids and no car!

Where we lived we were within walking distance to everything we needed.

Our exact location was Sunshine Beach, positioned perfectly to their school, the beach, Noosa Junction, Noosa Civic, free buses on weekends and school holidays etc.

We rarely left our little pocket of paradise for the 2 years we lived there.

Not having a car wasn’t much of an issue most of the time.

The kids would bike, bus or walk everywhere they needed and only really missed out on a few footy games that were too far away.

At one point, our neighbour was looking after her fathers car and offered us hers.

It was a great little run around car but even with it, we only used it once a week.

And that was because she asked us to due to an issue she was having and if it wasn’t used once a week, it had all sorts of issues.

This isn’t the first time I’ve lived without a car.

We still haven’t bought our bigger car yet and are managing with 1 little Corolla but looking for the right car.

5. Utilised Facebook Marketplace and Clearance Sections

Facebook Marketplace was great for both selling when leaving Noosa and buying in our new home.

A lot of items were free as well so it didn’t cost too much to set up.

Items I sold I made a profit on when we left Noosa as most we had picked up for free then sold when we left.

The clearance sections of the major stores were great too.

We scored a lounge everyone loves for a super low amount because it was floor stock in the clearance section.

The same set was being sold for $8.000 at the front of the store.

Naturally, we grabbed it, got it delivered and the kids were beside themselves with joy when they saw it.

Clearance sections of other stores were used to send gifts overseas to friends and family at a fraction of the retail prices as well.

There is so much around, we rarely pay full price.

6. Meal Kits and Meal Planning

I have done this on and off over the years, it has saved a small fortune at times and made life a lot easier because I didn’t have to do the full meal plan.

What we do is rotate through the offers of the various meal kits e.g. HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, EveryPlate and Dinnerly.

By the time we’ve finished the discount from the last one, the first meal kit is offering a new discount.

Some of the meals can get repetitive in the cheaper meal kits but it was a lifesaver when I was pregnant and with the babies.

Plus in the lead up to Christmas, it meant one less thing I had to do.

HelloFresh offers your first box FREE 
EveryPlate has up to $190 off, split across your first 5 boxes with the code THRIFTYEPLATE.
Dinnerly offers up to $144 off. (49% off the first order, then 30% off the next two.)
Marley Spoon offers up to $190 off 4 orders! That’s 53% off your first order, and 20% off your next three.

Funky Food is a new delivery service offering boxes of produce that are heavily discounted compared to the supermarkets.

The fruit and vegetables are high quality but all different shapes instead of ‘supermarket perfect’. Check out Funky Food and get discounted fruit and veg now.

7. Got Active for Free

While I love the gym, I couldn’t bring myself to pay for a membership, personal trainer and childcare on top.

Instead, my kids and I went for walks, I did yoga and pilates on YouTube (with the help of my physiotherapist postpartum checking I was doing things correctly).

Getting active meant I was out of the house which was better for my mental health.

The kids slept better as we had an active day.

Our electricity was lower as it wasn’t being used during the day.

In the evening, because the kids were tired from the active day, I was able to work.

When we moved, I got an exercise bike for $30 as there has been so much rain I can’t always exercise.

Originally, I was going to get a gym membership but decided to use Marketplace to get the items I like and set up a gym at home.

8. Regular Abundance Meetings

Whether you are single or partnered, knowing what your money is doing is essential.

I prefer to call my budget meetings Abundance Meetings because budget meetings feel restrictive and boring, whereas abundance meetings make me feel anything is possible and I will achieve my goals.

Here is how I do Abundance Meetings and tips to do yours.

9. Reduced Eating Out

I go through stages with this and was definitely having too much at the start of the year.

My sister was kind enough to send me a few UberEats vouchers after the birth of my daughter in February.

Once I set some fresh goals (after I gave birth and healed some), I got focused and cut way back on eating out.

I cannot believe how expensive some of the takeaway is now.

I used to have lunch with a friend every week in Noosa.

When I moved, this stopped and my friend down here and I go for a walk instead.

Sometimes we bring a tea or something but mostly just happy to go for a walk around the lake or along the beach.

10. Worked on Mindset

Pregnancy and some trauma took it’s toll on me.

I began to feel quite hopeless and struggled.

Often in this space, I don’t make the right money decisions or things are too hard.

That’s why more was spent on takeaway at the start of the year.

It’s not the only area I was wasting money at the time though.

Using a variety of books, podcasts, EFT, reconnecting with my community and making my mental and physical health a priority was essential.

The better my health, the better I managed my money and the easier it was to save. I created a list of my favourite books from 2022.

11. Went Digital

Putting all the apps on my phone, the kids phones and making sure we all know how to use them made a big difference.

Sadly, I did still use the cards often until I set up my phone properly.

We also switched to a family calendar which made it easy for everyone to see what was happening and when.

It worked much better than having only the paper one.

The paper one is still up on the wall though as we like the visual reminder and find it easier to plan things in advance with a big calendar too.

The book Life Admin Hacks really helped me set this all up.

How Did You Save Money Last Year?

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