9 Tips to Reduce Groceries, Accommodation and Transport Costs
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, our biggest 3 expenses continue to be groceries, housing and transport. While these costs continue to rise, there are many things you can do to reduce them further.
How to Reduce the Cost of Groceries
A massive expense for many and one of the things I get asked about the most. Groceries are an expensive necessity. However, there are ways to get food free and super cheap plus there are frugal recipes.
1. Get Free Food
You don’t have to go dumpster diving, although if that is your thing, go for it. You can forage, barter, grow your own (spring onions, celery, herbs and similar grow from scraps).
Enter competitions with food as the prize and look at the options around you for free food. Depending on your circumstances you might be eligible for free food from community pantry’s and similar. Some churches also give out free food because members bring it in or it gets donated.
2. Access Discounted Food
Look for all the discounts available, shop in sales and use the reward programs. Do not chase points though. Only buy what you need and stick to your budget.
For some discounts, Woolworths has the Everyday Rewards Card but I found Flybuys with Coles better. Ask local vendors such as butchers, greengrocers, farmers markets and similar if they offer discounts and always use cash back apps.
Lastly, for more discounts, be sure to use the apps such as HalfPrice to check what is on sale. You never need to pay full price.
As basic as it sounds, creating a meal plan (even if it only for a few days at a time), shopping with a list and shopping around saves money. Planning your groceries, having a budget, knowing what food you have and what you need enables you to eat better and spend less.
Check out these ways to save money on groceries in 2022 for more.
How to Save Money on Housing
House prices have soared the past few years. When we repatriated to the Noosa are (Sunshine Beach) in 2020, our suburb was somewhat affordable. Now, it is the most expensive suburb in Queensland by far.
We are fortunate that our landlord didn’t increase our rent and it is extremely low for the area. I know many all across Australia are not as lucky.
1. Free Housing
Housesitting, pet sitting in other people’s homes and couch surfing are the most common ‘free’ housing options. Alternatively, some people travel and work in different places with accommodation included.
This can be easier if you are single e.g. working as an au pair, in a backpackers, hostel etc. I’ve had family members work in caravan parks as they travel around and similar touristy options. Owning or renting are not the only housing options available.
2. Make Money From Housing
You can rent out rooms to make your mortgage pay for itself. Rent out your garage or spare spaces, run classes from home and all sorts of things. Check out how to make your home pay for itself, which was based on the house I was living in.
Any time I look at a property, I consider all the ways in which it can make money. Long term boarders, Airbnb for short term, Spacer for the garage or driveway are all easy options.
Right now, I am looking at moving to a larger home. We are in a 2 bedroom apartment/townhouse. With 2 teens, a toddler and baby, it is cramped.
Interestingly, in the areas I am looking for, even during off-peak times, I can Airbnb a room for more than I would pay in rent per week. Plus there isn’t really a price difference between 4 or 5 bedrooms. Or when we go away during peak times, we’d be able to make a few months rent easily too.
3. Get It Cheaper
Live somewhere cheaper either by looking for a cheaper area or downsizing if you rent or look at refinancing options if you own. Although you need to weigh up all the expenses of moving too.
Check out heaps of ways to make housing free and cheap here.
I’ve lived without a car, had expensive cars and currently own a little Corolla. My favourite option was living without a car in Melbourne CBD simply walking everywhere or using public transport. In Canberra, we owned 2 cars (I was in a relationship), which cost us $20,000 a year.
Moving to Melbourne, they were sold and I spent less than $1,000 on transport. Trains, trams, buses, Uber, Shebah and walking is how we got around. Now in Noosa, there are free buses on the weekend and I walk most places since we rarely leave the area.
1. Reduce Car Expenses
Most Australians own cars and given how spread out our country is, this makes sense. If you own a car, keep an eye on fuel prices, top-up when it’s cheap so you don’t have to when it is expensive. Use an app such as Fuel Map to find the cheapest fuel near you.
Ensure your car is well maintained because it will run smoother and be cheaper.
Clean it regularly, keep it garaged or undercover where possible and always compare insurance. Never, ever pay your renewal when they send it. It is always more expensive than if you got a new quote, even if it is with the same company.
2. Free Transport
In Melbourne there are free trams around the city making life easier, Noosa has free weekend buses and free buses in the holidays. Check your area to see if they offer a similar program at all.
Using a bike with a basket or backpack is also extremely common here, as it is within the FIRE community (Financial Independence, Retire Early). Bikes are cheap to run, easy to use and you can carry a decent amount on them. Of course, there is always walking too.
3. Cheap Transport
Aside from owning your own car, rideshare and carshare programs can be an option. CarNextDoor is one I have used when needed. There are a variety of carshare options you can use for an hour, a day or a few days.
Most are located within inner cities though. You can also rent your own car out and make some money while saving on insurance.
How do you save money on these 3 major parts of your budget?
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