14 ways to stretch your dollars

Times are tough and prices seem to rise daily. If it’s not petrol, it’s electricity. If it’s not lettuce, it’s milk. Many small savings can add up to a bucketful of extra cash at month-end. Let’s look at a few ways to stretch your monthly budget even further.

1. Start meal planning
Skip the restaurants and takeaways. With just a little home meal pre-planning, you can save significantly in one of your largest budget categories. Use less meat and stretch your meals with beans, rice and vegetables. Bring food to work and skip the canteen or ready-made sandwiches at the shop next door.

2. Buy in bulk and generic
Buying meat in bulk and repacking saves hundreds of dollars. When you find a good deal on something not on your list but something you use all the time – buy it and save it for later. Coles regularly have 20 -50% off everyday items you could look out for. Generic and supermarket house brands also save money in the long run.

3. Drive less to save on fuel
Obviously, you will spend less fuel if you drive less. If you can, walk or take your bike. If you can’t, consider public transportation in some instances. Consider an electric or hybrid car if you’re in the market for a new vehicle. Use your voucher for fuel discounts on your grocery shopping receipt.

4. Stop unnecessary subscriptions
Thenewdaily.com.au reports that according to a survey by independent research company AMPD, three out of five Australians are paying for forgotten online subscriptions. This yearly total can run into the hundreds for some people. Can the gym membership and exercise outdoors.

5. Rethink your utilities
If you’re in a financial position to install solar panels, this can result in substantial annual savings for your family. If you’re not, rethink heating in winter and opt for blankets and other ways to keep warm. Even if you turn down the heat by 3-5 degrees, it could save some electricity. In summer, a fan uses less electricity than an air conditioner. Unplug appliances that you don’t use.

6. Shop for cheaper insurance
With insurance available for everything from your car to your life, shop around for the best deals. If applicable, group it with the same company to access better premium pricing.

7. Remember to negotiate
Where applicable, negotiate better deals. Check for new customer special offers and promotions.

8. Pay with money you have
Stop taking out unnecessary loans and credit cards. Try not to use your credit cards and do your best to use only the funds available for that month. Start moving in the right direction by paying off any outstanding debt. To save on interest, you can also contribute more to bond repayments.

9. Reconsider your beauty routine
Is it essential to spend thousands on the products you’re using at the moment? Are there cheaper options available that are also effective?

10. Sell unnecessary possessions
You will be amazed at all the unwanted and unused items in your house once you look for them! Take photos and sell them quickly and easily on Facebook Marketplace.

11. Learn to say “No”
You don’t have to attend every party or attend every after-work drinks with friends and colleagues. And you definitely don’t have to add the extra dollars for charity at certain shops. A simple ‘no thanks’ would do.

12. Check your tax assessment
Remember to keep your receipts of certain purchases during the year. When you do your annual personal tax, you might be surprised at the amount you could claim in your return.

13. Consider a roommate or tenant
It might not be for everyone, but if you’re single and need to cut your expenses, you could consider a roommate. If you have access to a separate flat or accommodation on your property, it can easily be rented out to supplement your income.

14. Join loyalty programmes
Subscribe to loyalty programmes such as Flybuys and Everyday Rewards and start earning points and extra dollars to spend on necessities.