30 ways your family can budget and cut costs as prices go through the roof

Expert Advice 02 Jun 22 By

Tips from parents and experts on how to cut costs, create savings and make your money go further

The whole of Australia is feeling the strain of the rising cost of living with the main price hikes in groceries, petrol and coffee hitting parents where it hurts.

Why is everything so expensive and, importantly, what can families do to budget and cut costs as prices go through the roof?

The short answer is inflation. According to SBS, the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures household inflation, rose by 2.1% in the first quarter of 2022 and 5.1% annually. (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

And no wonder we’re feeling it as these are the largest increases since the GST was introduced two decades ago.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci has said that food prices could increase by up to three per cent over the 12 months, and David Parnham, President of Cafe Owners and Baristas Association of Australia, says we could be paying $7 for a regular coffee by the end of the year. The national weekly average petrol prices leapt 14.9 cents in the last week of May 2022, up to 214 cents in some areas.

30 ways your family cut costs

We’ve curated a list of 30 tips from parents to help you think about how you can make some changes, plus with expert advice from Wisr’s Joanne Edwards who says that even the smallest changes can have a great impact on your financial health.

Budgetting tips 1-10

1. Renegotiate variable mortgage rate to a fixed rate

2. Change internet providers and car/home/contents insurance

3. Bundle pay TV subscriptions

4. Switch electricity providers to a lower rate

5. Buy meat in bulk, freeze in smaller portions

6. Reuse and refill plastic pop-top juice containers with juice from Aldi

7. Add $100 per fortnight (or what you afford) into a Christmas account

8. Make extra meat sauce when making dinner and freeze extra for a quick meal instead of a takeaway

9. Plan celebrations – birthdays, Christmas, Easter – well in advance and sale shop when you can

10. Explore local op shops for bargains on clothes, books and presents

Scroll down for more tips…

According to Canstar Blue, appliances that go into standby modes can inflate electricity bills by around $100 a year. Wireless modems cost up to $25, washing machines around $15 and gaming consoles around $13. It all adds up. Christine Seib from Canstar Blue told Sunrise that unplugging these and other items when not in use could save you around $100 on your annual electricity bill.

Budgetting tips 11-20

11. Buy double when your favourite products are half price

12. Plan a few cheaper dinners per week – like soup/toasties/baked potatoes

13. Buy $20 giftcard every week to put towards Christmas

14. Turn off ‘standby’ appliances – anything with a remote – at the wall

15. Meal plan and shop online – so you’re not tempted to impulse buy

16. Join the library, download free books/music from online. Borrowbox is a free app with thousands of books and audio books to download. You just need to be a member of your local library.

17. Grow your own vegetables in pots if you don’t have a garden

18. Buy seasonal fruit, check unit prices (even for fruit).

19. Meat-free Mondays – choose one or more nights a week where you go vego

20. Shop your pantry first – plan your meals from there before making your shopping list

Scroll down for more budget tips

(Image: Getty)

Libraries have so much to offer – and it’s all free.

Budgetting tips 21-30

21. Buy giftcards when they are on special

22. Use Flybuys on Coles and save them up until Christmas

23. Use 7Eleven’s fuel price lock, or a Fuel Check app to find the cheapest petrol is in your area

24. Compare supermarkets for prices

25. Carpool when possible for school runs, sports etc, and if your family has more than one car, try using one as much as you can

26. Shop the lower shelves. Look below your main/chosen brand and you’ll often find the same products from cheaper brands

27. Try not to use AC in your car – it can increase fuel consumption by 10%

28. Portion out fresh produce straight after your food shop so you can freeze some so it doesn’t off/get wasted.

29. Pack your freezer smartly – using freezer bags/containers

30. Look for discounted foods that you can freeze for later

Scroll down for expert tips from Wisr…

(Image: Getty)

Shopping seasonal produce can help keep grocery costs under control.

Joanne Edwards, Chief Risk and Data Officer at Wisr, says that even the smallest changes can have a great impact on your financial health. Here are her tips on reducing spending.

Plan, Prep, Pack!

Planning and preparing your meals in advance is a simple way to keep track of your food budget and streamline your finances as well as your mealtimes. For expectant families, you may be run off your feet for the first few months, so having some ready-made meals will be a godsend. Pre-preparing your meals means less temptation to grab lunch at work or dine out. This also offers the added perk of healthier and cheaper meals.

Try a Digital Piggy Bank

Reminiscent of the good old piggy banks of childhood, you can put your digital spare change to good use through Wisr’s Round Up app. This allows you to round up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar, putting the difference aside to pay down debt or bolster your family-fun savings account. Your essential family transactions, such as school supplies and fuel could help you save hundreds of dollars each year without any additional budgeting.

Get Thrifty!

Your children will grow out of their clothing and shoes as soon as they get into them! You’ll likely need to replace children’s clothing every three months for a baby, and six months as they grow. Consider factoring these purchases into your monthly budget, and keep it low by purchasing second-hand. Online marketplaces and second-hand stores will have a range of items for under $5. If you have any friends or family with slightly older children, see if they have any hand-me-downs they’re willing to part with.

Cut-Cost Caffeine

If you’re a new parent, chances are you’re pretty exhausted. If you’re a coffee-lover, consider investing in an affordable coffee machine. With many of these coming to under $100, a household coffee machine could help you save some serious cash throughout the year.

Crafty Coupons

For budget-friendly family fun, you can find some stellar deals through online coupon sites. To keep your ‘entertainment’ budget in check, have a look at the range of options for amusement parks, movie tickets, or excursions for your young ones. With serious discounts on everything from restaurants to haircuts, you can also save huge amounts on your regular purchases.

Streamline Your Subscriptions

Audible, Spotify, Disney Plus and Netflix – they all add up! Part of creating a family-friendly budget includes working out which streaming services you really need, and which ones you can forfeit.

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