I have never been the most frugal person. To be honest I am still not very frugal but last year being on half-pay maternity leave and then Centrelink I decided to find some ways to save money. I thought it would be worth sharing the four most successful changes I made as they are super easy to implement and by the end of the year you could have enough money to do your Christmas shopping or go on a weekend away.
It is super easy to sign up for both of these reward programs and swipe them every time you shop – that will get you a few points here and there but if you put slightly more effort in you can actually get decent rewards.
I started Flybuys in July and I think by December I had $600 in my account. Basically you need to download the Flybuys app and check for offers all the time. The best ones are spend a certain amount every week for four weeks and get a certain amount of points (usually 10,000 which equates to $50). Also you will get “buy a certain product and earn extra points” which is especially good if its a product you usually buy. You also sometimes get offers for Kmart, Target and Liquorland. I have also found that the more you engage with the program the more offers you get.
The important thing to remember is that it is obviously a marketing ploy so never spend more than you plan too just to earn points or you are not really getting ahead. You may also find that the amount they want you to spend increases over the months so thats why I try and swap between Woolworths offers and Flybuys offers to keep my spend down at each place. The Woolworths rewards program has really improved over the last six months and they are starting to run a lot more like Flybuys. Make sure you are signed up for their emails. I also choose to save my Woolworths points to use at the end of the year for Christmas.
I have also got quite committed to meal planning to make sure we aren’t wasting food and which also makes it easier to do the large shops to qualify for the weekly spends.
This one is sooooo easy. Basically both sites sign up with certain businesses to give you a certain amount cashback if you shop through their sites . You can download widgets on your computer so that anytime you are online shopping it will pop up and say if you can get cashback. It is extremely good when making big purchases, so for example when I bought our flights to Bali I got $80 cashback, which is like 8 meals in Bali so totally worth it! I am saving our money for the end of the year to cashout and use to buy Christmas presents.
If you want to be super savvy do your grocery shopping online so you get your flybuys or woolies reward plus your Cashreward or Shopback money!
Ok this one takes the most effort and honestly 18 months ago I would probably never have been bothered to do this – but hey lots of ten cent coins add up after a while! The ACT container return scheme is actually so easy, you just drop your cans off in a plastic bag, print off a barcode and pop them in a skip, they are then sent to the recycling centre where they count them for you and credit your online account. No having to put single cans through a machine as is the case in some other states.
We put any money we get from this into Archer’s savings account and hopefully one day it will be like a little chore for him to do to earn some money. We have some family and friends collecting for him too so I think since the ACT Scheme started in July he has made about $250. So if you think about it, if he keeps earning at this rate, plus interest it will be over $10,000 by the time he is 18 which is a nice little backpacking around Europe budget!
Compare and change your utility suppliers
I wrote down every single bill we get and jumped on the internet to compare prices with different suppliers. I changed our car insurance, saving about $150 a year. I kept the same electricity and gas supplier but rang up telling them I was moving and immediately got offered a 29% discount on our bills for 12 months. I also got rid of our Stan account and my spotify and Kindle reading subscription because I rarely used them – even just doing that is a saving of $360 a year. I am now looking forward to our mobile phone plans expiring so we can change them too. I now have a reminder set in my phone to check these every 12 months. It probably took me a few hours to go through it all and ring different places but its definitely made a difference to our bills.
Obviously none of these ideas are going to make you uber rich but hey if its extra money at the end of the year to make Christmas extra special or to treat yourself its worth the little bit of effort, well it definitely has been for us! Also I have become a bit of a nerd about this stuff in the last 12 months so hit me up if you have any questions.