How to Save Money in 2023
With the cost of living skyrocketing, we are all looking for ways to cut back.
We still want a nice lifestyle and to feel comfortable though.
Cutting back and feeling as if we are just scraping by is not how anyone wants to live.
So we’ve compiled a list of ways to save money that give you more for less effort.
Yes, there are loads of things you can do to save money but some things are not worth the time and effort.
Focus your energy on the things that will save you the most money in the quickest amount of time.
Try things that can easily become habits or are things that are once off and you save heaps.
This list is designed to help you decide where to focus and what to try.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
Before I jump into the specific categories such as groceries, transport and accommodation, there are things everyone should do to save money in 2023.
Get a $100 Bonus from ING
I have been with them for over a decade and they have been great for organising my finances.
Here is how you can get $100 free from ING:
- Open an everyday account and put the promo code CNW116 in the promo box (you must use the code to get the $100 bonus) and complete all the steps below in the first month.
- Deposit $1,000 into the account such as your income or Centrelink payments
- Make 5 settled transactions
- Open a Savings Maximiser (current interest rate is 5.5%)
- Make a deposit into the Savings Maximiser
Then you get your $100 the following month when the promotion is running. Promotion periods vary. The current promotion runs until October 31, 2023.
1. Cash Back
Make sure you are signed up for all the cashback apps and Chrome extensions.
By having them on your phone and added to your Chrome toolbar you will be notified whenever you are shopping to get potential discounts and cashback.
Then, once you’ve finished shopping, upload your receipt to get points for a gift card with ReceiptJar (read my review of ReceiptJar). Join with the code KYLIT3Q2H for a bonus 200 points.
2. Get Discounts
Sign up for the newsletter when you land on a website and want to shop from them.
Almost always they offer a discount for doing it and you can have a specific email for these sign-ups.
Use the cashback programs listed above and follow them on socials too as they will promote sales.
Know the sale cycle of your favourite stores and shop accordingly.
3. Actually Save the Money
Money ‘saved’ on something because you got a discount isn’t really saved unless you transfer that cash to a savings account, debt or invest it.
Set up a separate bank account for this and get in the habit of transferring it whenever you ‘save’ or get a discount so you can actually see those savings.
Ubank offers $20 to new customers who join with the code S7VL6WF and use their card 3 times. They have high-interest rates for savings accounts too.
4. Savings Challenge
Set yourself a savings goal and challenge. There are 5 savings challenges you can try in 2023 to give you some inspiration.
Whether it be getting a coin jar to add all the coins to at the end of the day.
Or turning on roundups in your account so that when you spend, money gets transferred.
Maybe you want to save every $5 note you get.
Whatever you decide to do, get started.
The main reason people don’t have anything in their savings account is because they haven’t automated it or made it easy and instead spend everything or keep dipping into savings.
Pick a savings challenge and stick to it.
You will feel so much better at the end of the year when you see the real savings there and can put them to something useful.
Or if you used them to clear debt, imagine how good you’ll feel with it gone!
I have shared so many ways to save money on groceries.
In fact, there are 21 tips to reduce the cost of groceries.
The next few tips below are the ones that made the biggest difference to my grocery bill in 2022.
5. Use Everything
Learn how to turn leftovers into something new and how to use everything.
The amount of people that throw away broccoli stalks and cauliflower leaves is unbelievable. Both are edible.
I created a huge list of everything I see commonly thrown away and ways to use it.
Read how to reduce food waste for all the food items I included.
6. Get Discounts
This applies to everything but when it comes to groceries, there is a way to get discounted food AND have your meal plan sorted. Rotate meal kits.
Here is what you do. Sign up to one with a discount, use the discount then cancel it.
Join the next one and use the discount then cancel it.
Go through all the meal kit options this way and you’ll not only have an easy time with planning your main meals but you will save on groceries.
By the time you’ve rotated through all the meal kits with their discounts, they will be emailing you with a new discount to get you to come back.
Here are the meal kits and their offers that I personally use. Each one has the biggest discount for the first box, then a lower discount for the second and so on.
HelloFresh: Get your first box free for new customers.
Marley Spoon: Get up to $190 off spread across your first 4 boxes.
EveryPlate: Australia’s cheapest meal kit is offering up to $180 off spread across your first 5 boxes for new and returning customers.
Dinnerly: Another frugal meal kit option offering up to $144 off spread across your first few boxes.
YouFoodz is more health-focused with individual meals and offers up to $200 off your first 5 boxes. Get healthy, prepared meals delivered straight to you.
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. Shop With A List
We have a running list on the fridge so as things run out, they can be added.
I also keep the Woolworths app on my phone to easily add items as needed.
For some, they have found online shopping prevents impulse buys and means they can plan their shop around discounts.
Others prefer to go in-store and check the reduced items. We do both but we always keep our list handy so we don’t overspend.
8. Use Rewards Programs
You can save so much money with these programs if you use them wisely.
Yes, they are collecting your data and will try to get you to spend more, doesn’t mean you have to.
Firstly, sign up to all the ones relevant to where you live.
For most people, that is Woolworths Everyday Rewards, Flybuys and IGA.
Next, install the apps and scan them every time you shop.
Be sure to boost points when those opportunities come up and check any other bonus offers.
Split your shop to take advantage of the discounts at each.
If you do your whole shop at one shop, you spend more there and they will only offer you high spend deals.
By splitting your shop, your spend seems lower so they offer your a small increase to spend more to get extra points.
When it comes to spend $xxxx to get xxxx points, be sure you do not overspend.
Too many people rearrange things and it is not worth it.
Compare the value of the points to the extra spending before doing anything.
Look for extras and use them wisely.
We joined Everyday Extras and it paid for itself in 1 month with the 10% discount on Woolworths and Big W.
Always compare insurance policies to find the one right for you.
If you do find Coles or Woolworths has the best policy, you can get another 10% off.
9. Read All Our Grocery Articles
I have written so many from how to get free and super cheap groceries to 13 tips to reduce meat.
If you spend a lot on energy drinks, check out these tips on how to quit energy drinks.
Interest rates and rent have gone up significantly in the past few years. It might feel as if there is nothing you can do about it.
We all have to live somewhere, right?
10. Free Accommodation
Depending on your circumstances, you might be able to access free accommodation.
Housesitting is one option, travelling full time and using free campsites and similar.
House swaps are best for holidays but some can be for a few months.
Some jobs provide accommodation, especially if you have to relocate.
Think outside the box and look at all your options.
11. Share Housing
I completely understand not wanting to go back to the days of early adulthood with 10 people in a house.
However, more and more people are finding the best option for them is to share.
ShareAbode is one option for single parents to find accommodation together.
Other people are buying homes in groups.
Alternatively, turn your own home into a share home of sorts if you have the space. Check what rooms and beds go for in your area.
12. Rent A Room/Your Property/Garage/Caravan
This is more about making than saving money but if you do any of these, you can save money.
Rent a room on a site such as Booking.com if you don’t mind regular strangers.
Alternatively, get a full-time boarder. Since rent has gone up, so has the demand for single rooms and the price of those rooms.
Another option, if you are travelling is to rent your whole home out.
I have done this a few times and made a lot of money doing it.
I am a minimalist so my items were locked away and what was left out, I didn’t mind what happened to it.
Always check the laws in your area both with council and your insurance as well as checking with your lease if you rent.
I have done this successfully in 3 cities for 3 different purposes.
The first was in Sydney for a mum who needed space to run her business. If you do that, check your insurance.
Next, I rented my garage in Canberra for someone to store their items while they travelled.
Later, in Melbourne, I rented my car space for someone to store their spare car.
The first two were private arrangements and I was paid directly.
The third was done through Spacer which made it so easy.
If you have one or can source one for relatively cheap, update it and keep it on your property, you can rent it out.
Use Camplify to rent it to people who will pick it up, use it and bring it back.
Or use sites such as Booking.com and Airbnb to rent it out on your property.
Renting it on your property might need to be approved so check with council and your insurance to see how doable it is.
Whatever mode of transport you use, there are ways you can save money.
13. Fuel Map and 7/11 and Other Fuel Apps
Download and use fuel apps. The two I use the most are Fuel Map as it tells me where the cheapest petrol is and the 7/11 app as it enables you to lock in low prices when you see them.
Using these apps has saved up to 50c a litre of petrol for us.
On a large tank (e.g. Landcruiser) that is a HUGE saving.
Be smart with your money and fuel, get the apps. They’re free. It makes no sense not to use them.
14. Get Your Car Serviced + DIY
Be sure to book your car in for proper maintenance.
It is better for resale value and is important for the car to run smoothly.
Plus, when serviced regularly, if there are any issues, they should be picked up when they are small.
Too often we put off servicing the car and end up with a huge repair bill.
Service it regularly for optimum performance and lower repair bills.
But also, learn what you can do yourself such as changing windscreen wipers and adding windscreen fluid.
Top up your oil as needed and you can replace the battery yourself if necessary.
All these things are easy but will cost more if the mechanic does it.
Do NOT attempt to do anything if you don’t know how to do it or if it is more complicated than those basics.
Cars are expensive if you mess around with them and need large repairs.
15. Plan All Errands
Do one trip for everything. Use Google Maps to plan your trip and take the best route to reduce going back and forth.
This will save time, money, petrol, wear and tear on the car and simply makes more sense.
We are all so busy, why waste more time doing errands than you need to?
Even better, avoid it and get free delivery if you can.
16. Delivery For The Win
Get groceries and anything else you can delivered, if it will cost less.
For example, I have unlimited delivery for groceries as it cost less to pay per year for that, which stops me from running down to the shops and makes my groceries so much easier.
I also have an Amazon Prime membership for my kids which includes free delivery.
This has helped a lot.
We all have bills from electricity to internet. And they seem to keep going up. Use these tips to reduce them and have more cash in your pocket.
The main things that keeps our electricity costs low are switching providers and the fact we have an active, outdoor lifestyle.
For providers, I currently use RedEnergy (and did when I lived in NSW previously too). They offer a $25 bonus when you switch.
With our lifestyle, we simply are not home much because our hobbies see us on or in the water (fishing, swimming, kayaking, snorkelling, diving etc) or outside hiking.
At times, we enjoy the library and local festivals too.
Being active and outside means we aren’t using electricity at home. When we are home, we heat the person, not the room.
Meaning, instead of heating the whole room, we rug up.
Dress for the weather with slippers, a dressing gown, warm clothes etc in winter. Fewer clothes in summer and use fans.
We lived in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Noosa and Wollongong without air conditioning or heating.
It can be done. Your body can adapt (except in extreme cases) and it is significantly cheaper to heat or cool yourself rather than the whole room.
Check out these 17 ways to reduce the cost of electricity.
There is so much you can do that are instant changes and don’t need to be done again or easy habits to develop.
An essential of life that keeps getting more expensive.
Firstly, check for leaks and if you can, fix minor ones such as changing washers on taps.
Next, get a timer for the shower and use it.
Or use a song so that at the end of the song, it is time to get out.
Redirect water such as the water from the washing machine.
Let it water your grass to keep it green without the need to water it.
Check out all the tips to reduce the cost of water bills here.
A side benefit of reducing your bills is it is also environmentally friendly.
19. Compare Everything
Take the time to compare your insurance, electricity and all other bills.
Never, ever simply pay the renewal or think you are locked into a contract.
These days lock in contracts are rare except for phone bills as you usually have a phone payment too.
Check every bill you have and look for the best deal.
Set a day in your calendar every year or every few months to review this.
With insurance, you can save hundreds by not renewing and instead getting a fresh quote.
With electricity, there are often cash bonuses or other perks for switching.
Sometimes the rewards programs of supermarkets offer great promos to switch your insurance too.
Always compare, always keep on top of your bills and know when you can get a better one.
Entertainment, Hobbies and Travel
We still want to have a fun life, right? I love to travel, my hobbies keep my mental health in better condition and we all need entertainment.
Life is for living. Here is how you can do it without breaking the budget.
20. Free Entertainment in Your Area
Libraries are an underutilised resource. Get books, eBooks, online magazines, courses, free help and so much more at your local library.
Along with storytime, kids’ activities, school holiday fun and often extra help for people new to the area.
Join your local Facebook community groups and check the events in your local area.
We have often attended live music, free festivals, fireworks and more in our area because of Facebook.
21. Free Hobbies
We love hiking and checking out new trails. Some of my family enjoy geocaching, others do the painted rocks projects.
There are so many free hobbies and activities, try them and keep trying new ones until you find something you enjoy.
Yoga or Tai Chi in the park, cooking classes, grab a surfboard and learn to surf because the surfies I know are so helpful and supportive (same for skating), check out free classes in your area. There is so much on offer, you will be surprised.
I have always prioritised travel and often found ways to get it for free.
Whether it was a free camping site or when I turned to travel writing and tourism marketing, travel has always been part of my life.
There are so many ways to get free and super cheap travel as a family as well as ways to get paid to travel.
23. Use Social Media Wisely
Social media can be a great way to save money.
Follow brands you buy and get discounts, know when the sales are on and enter giveaways,
Get to know the influencers or people sharing their savings or FIRE journey or similar and be inspired.
By engaging with content from them, you can fill your social media with hints and tips instead of random people dancing.