50+ Everyday Ways to Save Money in 2024

The cost of living in Australia is high and seems to keep getting higher, leading many of us to feel the pinch and try to cut back on the money we spend.
Last modified: 15th May 2024
William Jolly  |  

According to research by major bank NAB, the cost of living is the largest cause of stress among a majority (57%) of Aussies, and 25% of us are concerned about making ends meet. Nearly 30% of Australians feel they’re worse off financially compared to 12 months ago.

Everything from groceries to utilities, housing, and even a cup of coffee costs more today than yesterday, so saving money wherever possible is more important than ever.

Finding ways to save money can be tricky, though. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve compiled the ultimate list of money-saving tips and tricks. In this article, you’ll find more than 50 (75, to be exact) everyday ways to save money and ease the pressure on yourself.

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Top ways to save around the house

Here are a handful of easy ways you can save money without having to leave the house!

1. Use your aircon less

Running the aircon can make up as much as half of the typical household’s energy bills during summer in Australia. Rather than relying on your aircon to maintain a comfortable temperature, utilise natural cooling methods such as opening windows, using fans, or wearing lighter clothing.

2. Check your aircon temperature

According to Energy.gov.au, every degree higher on your aircon can save between 5% - 10% on energy use. Set your summer air conditioner to an energy-efficient 24 - 26 degrees Celsius.

3. Upgrade old appliances

Household appliances, including refrigeration and cooking, use around 33% of all energy in the average Australian home. For every star rating higher on an appliance, you could save 30% on dishwasher running costs; 25% on washing machines and dryers, and 20% on TVs - you get the idea.

While the initial outlay may be costly, energy-efficient appliances can result in substantial savings over time.

4. Avoid ‘standby’ power

Many devices use power, called' standby' mode, even when not in use. According to Choice, switching your appliances off at the wall can use up to 10% less energy.

5. Wash with cold water and avoid the dryer

Australia is the sunniest continent on Earth, so make the most of it!  Letting your clothes dry in natural sunlight can save you roughly about $100 per year!  

As 80–90% of the energy a washing machine uses goes toward heating the water, using cold water instead of hot when washing can save you heaps.

6. Use energy-efficient lightbulbs!

LED bulbs reportedly last about five to ten times longer than other lightbulbs and use as much as 75% less energy. Replacing ten halogen lightbulbs with LEDs could save more than $650 in 10 years.

Using natural light whenever possible can also lead to long-term savings.

7. Limit water usage

‘Water heating’ is the second biggest energy consumer behind heating, accounting for 15% of the typical household’s energy use. Simple changes like taking shorter showers, fixing leaks promptly, and only running full loads in the dishwasher or washing machine can help reduce your water bill.

8. Use water-efficient showerheads

Low rates for showers are on the water rating label in litres per minute (L/min). A water-saving showerhead can use as much as 50% less water than a standard model, resulting in significant savings over time.

9. Turn off lights when not in use

It's a simple habit, but turning off lights when you leave a room can contribute to lower electricity bills.

10. Improve your insulation in any way you can

Proper insulation - how well your home retains heat - is one of the cornerstones of an energy-efficient home. 

Good insulation helps keep your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer, reducing the need for heating and cooling and thus lowering your energy bills. Ceiling insulation alone can lower your heating and cooling bills by 20%!

Check out our home improvement loans to help pay for insulation upgrades.

12. Exercise at home

The average gym membership costs $81 per month, But according to Finder, 50% of the Aussies with a gym membership go less than once a week!

Save on gym memberships by creating a workout routine that you can do at home or outdoors. Going for a run if you can is a free way of getting intense exercise.

13. Learn basic home repairs

By learning to do simple tasks like painting, fixing leaky taps or minor electrical repairs, you can save on hiring professionals. 

Of course, it’s always recommended to consult a professional if you aren’t 100% sure about what you’re doing. If you need to hire a tradesperson, get quotes from more than one before making the call.

14. Make your own cleaning products

Homemade cleaning solutions using ingredients like vinegar and baking soda can be just as effective as commercial products and far cheaper.

15. Reuse, reuse, reuse

Rather than throwing things away, find ways to reuse items. For example, glass jars can be used for storage and old shirts can become cleaning rags.

16. Don’t use too many streaming services

According to research by ING Bank, the average Australian spends $105 monthly on payments for services they no longer use. Arguably the most crowded subscription field is streaming for movies, TV shows and music, as the average household owns a subscription to 3.4 streaming services.

Review your subscriptions regularly and cancel any that you don’t use frequently. Sharing subscriptions with friends or family members can also save money.

Top ways to save on food and drink

There’s plenty to be saved in the kitchen. According to Foodbank Australia, food waste costs the economy around $36.6 BILLION annually, about $2,000 - $2,500 per household!

Here are some practical ways you can save money on food and drink.

17. Drinking tap water instead of bottled

Bottled water can be costly to both your wallet and the environment. Save money and reduce plastic waste by drinking tap water whenever possible.

Consider a one-time water filter purchase if you're concerned about water quality.

18. Plan meals in advance

Meal planning reduces the likelihood of impulse buying or resorting to costly takeaways. It can also ensure you use all your groceries, reducing waste.

19. Buy in bulk

Grocery app Frugl found in its latest Grocery Price Index (GPI) that food prices rose nearly 10% in 2022. More recently, Compare the Market research identified groceries as the biggest household financial burden (32%), ahead of mortgage repayments (24.1%), rent (15.2%) and energy costs (7.7%). The average weekly grocery spend for households jumped from $170 in September 2021 to just shy of $200 mid-way through 2023.

The cost of going to the shops to buy the essentials has never been higher, so there are savings to be made by buying larger quantities. Buying non-perishable items in bulk can also result in substantial savings over time. Ensure you have adequate storage and that the items will be used before expiration.

20. Cook in bulk

Once you’ve bought these ingredients, preparing meals with them in large quantities can save time and money. Leftovers can be frozen for later, reducing the temptation to order takeout.

21. Freeze leftovers

As above, don’t let that leftover food go to waste! Freeze it for a quick and easy meal another day, preferably in separate containers, so you don’t have to defrost it all at once.

22. Swap meat for veg

Meat tends to be more expensive than vegetables. Having a few meatless meals each week - or just eating smaller portions of meat - can save you plenty.

23. Shop seasonally

Seasonal fruits and vegetables are usually cheaper and fresher. The Seasonal Food Guide can help you identify what's in season.

24. Make coffee at home

The average price of a medium, basic coffee in Australia is about $5, according to the ABC. Many of us need at least one drink of this sweet nectar to function daily, possibly two, three or even four!

The cost of buying coffee regularly adds up, so naturally, you can save money by brewing your coffee at home or investing in a quality coffee machine.

25. Grow your own food

Depending on the crop, you can save a significant amount by growing your own vegetables. Plus, it's a rewarding hobby.

Of course, this may not be possible depending on your circumstances, but it’s worth considering if you have the option.

26. Eat out less

Research by SevenRooms in 2022 found that Aussies spend $91 monthly on restaurants, bars and cafes. Promisingly though, that’s a 29% drop from the $129 monthly average before the cost of living squeeze hit.

That’s still over $1,000 a year, so try to reduce the fancy meals out if you’re looking for things to cut back on.

27. Think twice about Uber Eats and takeaway

Australians spend an average of $60 per week on delivery food through apps like UberEats, Deliveroo and Doordash, which is over $3,000 a year! DoorDash is the most used at $60 per week, followed closely by Uber Eats ($59) and Menulog ($53).

While these services can be convenient, the food is more expensive before you even factor in the delivery fees and other additional costs.

Delete the apps off your phone if you’re using them too much!

28. Pack your own work lunches

If you spend $10 a day on lunch, that's almost $2,500 a year. Bringing lunch from home can cut this cost significantly.

29. Avoid convenience foods

Ready meals and pre-packaged foods often come with a high price tag. Cooking from scratch is usually cheaper and healthier.

30. Always bring a shopping list

Did you know that Aussies spend more than $13 billion yearly on impulse purchases? Much of this comes from buying things you don’t need at the supermarket. For example, most supermarkets and stores offer a host of chocolate, lollies, magazines, drinks and more at the checkout, which is when you’re most likely to buy something on a whim.

A rigid shopping list can help you stick to your budget and avoid impulse buys. Another good tip is to eat before you go shopping!

31. Ditch the supermarket loyalty

The CHOICE 2021 shopping basket price comparison survey named Aldi the cheapest supermarket, much more so than Coles, Woolworths and IGA. According to CHOICE, you could save up to 54% off a shopping basket of 29 regular household items with Aldi.

More recently, figures published by Finder in 2023 also showed Aldi edging out Coles and Woolworths on prices for grocery staples such as dairy, meat and snacks. 

But shoppers who regularly shop at multiple chains instead of showing loyalty to one save the most money: as much as 20% - 40% off their weekly shops. Loyalty schemes at supermarkets can also make you spend more by encouraging unnecessary purchases.

Shop based on price, not points.

32. Reduce your alcohol consumption

Australians spend an average of $32 a week on alcohol. At over $1,600 a year, that’s a lot of money to spend on drinks. While it might not be easy for some, cutting back on nights out or drinking at home can lead to significant savings and health benefits.

33. Consider a meal subscription

While they seem expensive upfront, meal subscriptions can be cheaper than buying individual ingredients, especially if you often waste food. Just ensure to compare prices carefully.

See our analysis of the best food delivery subscriptions here for more information on which one you should choose.

Top ways to save on the fun things

Having fun can cost a lot of money these days, whether it’s buying nice clothes to go out, watching your favourite movies and shows, or just finding an activity to do.

Here are some of the most practical ways to save money without compromising on enjoying life.

34. Limit online shopping

More than 5 million households participate in online shopping each month, to the tune of over $62 billion annually! It’s a huge money sink for lots of Aussies: Finder reports that the average person spends 4.4 hours each week browsing online sales and spends $228!

By restricting your online shopping, you can avoid impulse purchases and potentially save hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually.

35. Use the '30-Day Rule' before buying

Before making a significant purchase (think hundreds of dollars or more), wait 30 days. If you still want it after a month, consider buying it. This can help you avoid unnecessary spending and save substantial amounts.

36. Repair before you replace

Often, repairing an item can be much cheaper than replacing it. For example, repairing a broken phone screen can cost as little as $80, while buying a new phone can cost hundreds of dollars at a minimum.

37. Know your refund rights

Australian Consumer Law protects you with automatic guarantees that goods and services will work and do what they're meant to. Knowing these rights can save you money if something goes wrong, as you are entitled to a replacement or repair.

38. Watch out for discounts and promotions

Regularly checking websites and apps for discounts and promotions can save significant amounts on your purchases. It can be painstaking work to do so all the time, but there are countless opportunities to take advantage of things like rewards programs, cashback offers, buy-1-get-1-free type deals and more.

39. Buy second-hand

Whether you need new furniture, clothes, kitchen appliances, or even a car, the second-hand marketplace can be a much more efficient way to shop. Sites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace can be great places to buy and sell used items: 86% of Australians have bought pre-loved items at some stage, according to Gumtree.

40. Buy generic brands

Research from Compare the Market shows about 75% of Australians are choosing home brand options to help cope with the cost of living crisis. When comparing 15 popular items, Compare the Market’s research found the savings to be greater than $200 in one month.

Often, generic brand groceries are just as good as name brands but at a fraction of the price.

41. Avoid BNPL & payday loans

Buy now pay later (BNPL) services and payday loans can have high fees and charges. ASIC reports one in six BNPL users have either become overdrawn, delayed bill payments or borrowed additional money due to a BNPL arrangement.

42. Share subscriptions with family & friends

Many streaming services allow multiple users on one account. Sharing these subscriptions can significantly reduce costs. If your family or friends are freeloading off your accounts, bill them for it!

43. Find free activities

Instead of paying for entertainment, find free activities in your local area, such as hiking, going to the beach, or visiting free galleries and museums.

Top ways to save on transport

Transport is one of our biggest expenses. According to the latest AAA Transport Affordability Index, the typical Australian household spends more than 16% of its income on transport. In the year to the September 2023 quarter, the cost of transport - such as fuel, repairs, insurance, registration, and even public transport - rose 13%!

Here are some ways to ease the burden of paying for transport in Australia.

44. Use public transport where possible

RAC’s 2023 Car Running Costs guide found that the cheapest car to run in Australia still costs more than $740 every month once you factor in all the costs such as:

  • Fuel and servicing,
  • Loan repayments,
  • Depreciation
  • CTP insurance and comprehensive insurance

Using public transport can greatly reduce these costs. AAA’s data, for example, found the average weekly cost of public transport is around $21 per person.

45. Walk or cycle where possible

Walking or cycling not only saves money on transport but also provides health benefits and is better for the environment. Do so as much as possible if you have the option.

46. Is carpooling an option?

Carpooling can split the costs of petrol and parking, saving you money. Plus, it's a greener alternative to driving alone.

While it might be a bit awkward initially, carpooling to work with a colleague who lives near you is just one example of when carpooling makes sense. You could also carpool with other parents to drive your kids to school or drive to work together with a partner or housemate.

47. Get your car serviced regularly

Regular maintenance can prevent costly breakdowns and increase the lifespan of your car. A simple oil change could cost a little over $100, but a full engine replacement due to lack of maintenance can run into the thousands.

48. Can you sell your car or downgrade it?

Owning a cheaper car can significantly reduce insurance, registration, and servicing costs. As mentioned before, the cheapest car to own is a light vehicle - MG3 Core - at around $740 per month. The most expensive kind of car - an all-terrain 4WD - can cost nearly $1,600 per month to run on average!

Not only can you save on running costs by downgrading, but you can also pocket a nice bit of cash.

49. Buy used cars over new

If you’re in the market for a car or are looking to downgrade, buying a pre-loved car over a new one is a great way to save. 

A new car loses roughly 20% of its value in the first year. Buying a used car lets someone else take that depreciation hit instead.

50. Consider car subscriptions instead

Car subscriptions can be a cost-effective alternative to car ownership, especially if you don't need a car daily. Costs vary but may include registration, insurance, servicing, and even roadside assistance.

Some car-subscription companies available in Australia include:

  • Carly
  • Simplr
  • Subscribacar
  • HelloCars
  • CarBar
  • Uber Carshare (Car Next Door)

51. Keep your car’s tyres inflated

Properly inflated tyres can improve fuel efficiency by up to 3%, according to the US Department of Energy, as every 1% decrease in tyre pressure results in a 0.3% reduction in fuel economy.

Check your tyre’s air pressure every few months and inflate them accordingly.

52. Use petrol-finder apps

Fuel is a massive expense for anyone with a car. The average yearly spend per household on fuel in Australia is $5,300! That’s nearly a quarter of all household transport costs on just one thing!

Apps like Petrol Spy, MotorMouth, or the My 7-Eleven app can help you find the cheapest fuel in your area, saving you hundreds of dollars annually.

53. Improve your fuel efficiency when driving

Smooth driving, not carrying unnecessary weight, and using air conditioning sparingly can all improve fuel efficiency and save money.

Top ways to save on your bills & finances

Now, this is the not-so-fun part: saving money on everyday bills you don’t want to pay for but need. Switching from products like insurance or mortgages can be a pain, but it is absolutely worth it. For example, in 2019, it was revealed that customers renewing their existing insurance policy paid 34% more than new customers.

Take some time to do the following to make sure you don’t pay the ‘loyalty tax’.

54. Audit your bank account and cancel direct debits

As mentioned earlier (see point #16), Aussies waste an average of $105 monthly on payments for things they no longer use. As many as one in three (34%) admitted to signing up for something out of boredom alone!

Regularly reviewing and cancelling unnecessary direct debits can save you hundreds each year. Comb through your bank accounts and do a spring clean of all your outgoing payments, eliminating ones you can do without.

55. Budget!

This might seem obvious, but having a budget can help you identify areas of unnecessary spending and help you save towards a goal. ASIC suggests saving at least 10% of your after-tax income.

If you’re struggling with making a budget manually, plenty of apps and websites can do it for you:

56. Compare & switch savings accounts

You could also be paying a loyalty tax on your savings account in the form of a lower interest rate. In 2023, the ACCC found that banks had not been passing on higher interest rates to savings accounts and deposits at the same pace as home loan rates. 

According to the Reserve Bank, the average interest rate offered on savings accounts by the Big 4 Banks was 4.90% p.a. as of November 2023. However, based on Canstar data, interest rates are currently as high as 5.70% p.a.

Regularly comparing and switching to higher-interest accounts can increase savings over time.

57. Compare & switch car, home insurance

Unfortunately, insurance can be pretty expensive, and two of the biggest insurance policies you’ll probably have are car and home/contents insurance. 

Premiums on these insurance policies increase yearly; if you haven’t switched in a while, you could likely find a better deal elsewhere. Canstar analysis found that Australians could save up to $700 by switching from one of the pricier car insurance deals on the market to a cheaper option.

58. Compare & switch health insurance

Private health insurance premiums increase yearly, and not all policies provide good value. For a combined hospital and extras policy, you can expect to pay anywhere between $125 and $291 per month, which leaves lots of wiggle room to spend less.

Regularly comparing and switching policies (or not using them if that’s the right choice) can save you thousands.

59. Compare & switch energy providers

Default electricity prices across Eastern and South Australia increased by a minimum of 19.5% as of 1 July 2023, but you can get a better deal by comparing plans between different providers. 
By actively comparing and switching electricity and gas plans to a better one, you could save between $120 and $404 annually.

The Australian Government has an energy comparison tool called Energy Made Easy to help you find a more affordable plan.

60. Compare & refinance your mortgage

Even with interest rates climbing rapidly in the past 12 months or so, there are still plenty of home loans with more competitive rates than your current one. 

Refinancing your mortgage can potentially save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan, even with just a few percentage points difference.

61. Try to find cheaper rent

If you're renting, consider whether you could move to a cheaper property or add a housemate to the mix. This won’t always be possible, especially in a tight rental market, but it’s still worth investigating.

62. Review mobile & internet plans

With technology constantly improving, mobile and internet plan prices can drop. Regularly reviewing your plans can ensure you're getting the best deal.

63. Cancel or pay off your credit cards

Credit card interest rates are often high. Paying off your credit card debt can save you significant amounts in interest.

Once you’re debt-free, consider cancelling any credit cards you don’t need. Around 20% of Australians have two or more credit cards!

64. Consolidate your debts

Debt consolidation is a process where you eliminate multiple debt repayments by bringing all your existing debts together into one loan, offering you greater control of your repayments.

If you're juggling multiple repayments, see if a debt consolidation loan is right for you.

65. Automate your savings

Setting up automatic transfers to your savings account(s) can force you to save without thinking about it. Just don’t withdraw from these savings!

66. Roundup spare change to savings or investments

Some banks and apps offer a roundup feature that automatically rounds up transactions and deposits the difference into your savings or investment account. Every little bit helps!

67. Make extra loan repayments

Making extra repayments on your home, car or personal loans can significantly reduce the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan. If you can pay out any of your current loans entirely, this can lead to immediate savings.

68. Schedule your loan payments and bills for payday

Scheduling payments to occur on the same day you get paid can help ensure you have enough money in your account to cover key expenses. You don’t want to get hit with any missed payment fees!

69. Watch out for ATM fees

Using an ATM not associated with your bank can result in unnecessary fees, ranging from $2 to $4 or $5 each time. Those small fees can add up quickly; using your bank's ATMs or getting cash out at the checkout can help you avoid them.

70. Be mindful of scams

Australians lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022 - an 80% increase from the previous year! Investment scams were the most common, followed by dating & romance scams, false billing and phishing (dodgy links) scams.

Being mindful of potential scams can help protect your money. Head to the ACCC’s Scamwatch website for more information on how to avoid and detect scams.

See our Security Tips page as well.

Top ways to save by making extra money

Sick of playing defence? Go on the offence against the cost of living by making some extra money on the side.

71. Sell things online

Websites like Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace are great for finding second-hand items at a fraction of the retail price. According to Gumtree’s Circular Economy Report for 2022, as many as 86% of Australians have unwanted or unused items lying around the house.

If all those items were sold on the second-hand marketplace, the typical household could earn a handy $7,000!

72. Rent out your spare room

According to The Room Xchange, there are 13.5 million unused bedrooms in over 10 million homes across Australia. If you’re one of the many Australians with a spare room available, renting it out could pocket you hundreds of extra dollars each month. 

Just know that renting out part of your house has tax implications, so you should consult the ATO or a tax professional.

73. Rent out your car

If your car is often unused, consider renting it out through platforms like Uber Carshare (previously Car Next Door). Depending on your vehicle and location, you could make over $1,000 a month.

74. Rent out your car space

If you have a parking space you don't use, you could rent it out using platforms like Parkhound. According to Parkhound, you can earn over $3,000 a year renting out a single parking space.

75. Get a side hustle

Use your skills or hobbies to make extra money in your free time, aka a side hustle. Nearly half (48%) of the Australians surveyed by ING in 2023 either have or are planning to start a side hustle.

This could involve freelance writing, graphic design, tutoring, dog-walking, lawn-mowing or anything else you're good at.

Need some extra funds for big expenses?

At Jacaranda, we have different types of loans to help you pay for life’s major expenses, expected or unexpected:

Download our FastMoney app or apply online, and you can have the funds you need in your account on the same day2.

The information on this website is for general information only. It should not be taken as constituting professional advice from the website owner - Jacaranda Finance. Jacaranda Finance is not a financial adviser, and the content on this page does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the website information relates to your unique circumstances.

Jacaranda Finance is not liable for any loss caused, whether due to negligence or otherwise arising from the use of, or reliance on, the information provided directly or indirectly by use of this website.

Written by - William Jolly

Content Manager
William is the Content Manager at Jacaranda Finance. He has worked as both a journalist and a media advisor at some of Australia's biggest financial comparison sites such as Canstar, Compare the Market and Savings.com.au, and is passionate about helping Australians find the right money solution for them.

You can get in touch with William via williamj@jacarandafinance.com.au.
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