Australia is facing two major economic issues for 2023: Inflation and the higher cost of living. Inflation swelled to an all-time high of 7.3 per cent last year, the highest it had been since 1990. Prices of goods and services followed, leaving many Australians trying to adjust their finances.
When the chips are down, Australians adapt and try to maximise what they have. The Australian government has also come up with measures to help more people to get extra funds.
Fortunately, there are ways to counteract these price changes. Many people have found ways to make budget cuts and ways to save cash without sacrificing their quality of life too much.
Australians Are Adjusting Their Budgets
Many Australians have found that slightly adjusting their regular spending habits can lead to substantial savings.
People have found a few effective tactics that work, such as adjustments in food and eating habits, and also regular expenses at home. Australian consumer guide website Finder disclosed some of these findings and they are practical choices that work.
Seventy-seven per cent of Aussies who regularly eat out have saved money by having more home-cooked meals. It has resulted in savings for many. Many people also started going out less, with 68 per cent saving on these expenses.
Simple changes in daily life at home are also effective savings countermeasures. Sixty-nine per cent of homeowners started turning off lights when not needed. It turned out to be one of their biggest budget savers.
Finder also disclosed that at least 2 in every 5 citizens, or 40 per cent, use fuel discount vouchers to save on petrol and fuel costs. Meanwhile, 1 in every 6 citizens prefers to just borrow nonessential goods and it has helped them save more money.
Saving Starts at Home
Finder’s data on these practical home savings is the most common and effective way to save cash. Australians are now focusing on saving on daily expenses through small money-saving changes at home.
Australian households can save more by being more energy efficient at home. Many households did this with just the simple turning off of lights. An energy-efficient home is one of the easiest ways to save more money aside from changes in eating habits and saving on utilities and supplies.
Just like turning off the lights, unplugging unused appliances also contributes to direct savings. This is another tip stressed by Finder’s finance expert Rebecca Pike: “Turning your appliances off could save you around $100 a year. Of all the ways to save on household bills, switching devices off at the wall instead of leaving them on in the background might be the easiest.”
Pike also suggested checking your appliances carefully: “Energy-efficient appliances will make a huge difference to your power bill and can save you $54 off your household bills each year. You can see how energy-efficient your appliances are by checking the star rating label – it’s usually plastered on the front of the product.”
Personal Finance Changes to Save Money
You can get additional savings from minor changes in your finances.
For starters, a minor change in your healthcare or health insurance may bring extra savings.
Pike suggested that “The easiest way to save is by switching to a policy that only covers you for the services you need. Alternatively, if you’re happy to use the public system, consider ditching your policy altogether. Private hospital insurance typically covers the same treatments as Medicare. The main difference is that private waiting times are often shorter and you get to choose the doctor.”
If the public health system can already take care of your health coverage, use it instead. Using Medicare instead could save you even more cash, depending on your healthcare needs.
“Take a quick look at your health insurance policy to see what you’ve used – or more importantly, not used,” Pike added.
Another important personal financial change is taking care of your bank account. Maximise your money instead of leaving it dormant.
Pike suggested a few changes that can add extra gains to your finances: “If your money is sitting in a regular transaction account, it’s worth switching to a high-interest savings account. Your money will earn interest each month – rather than just sit there – and, thanks to compound interest, you’ll earn interest on your interest as well.”
Finding Other Financial Ways
Making small changes to these elements of your expenses and daily living can contribute to overall bigger savings. They all add up.
While many Australians can use these tips and already do good, others may need a little more. Australians below the median income bracket may find more causes to save cash, such as maintaining their small businesses, school year expenses, or even sudden needs, such as house repairs, emergencies, or occasional cash deficits.
Resilient Australians have worked their way around these cash problems by selling items or possessions and taking on part-time work to augment cash flow successfully.
You can start right at home again by taking inventory of things you don’t need. You also have hidden opportunities in collectibles and valuables that are no longer essential to you. Discuss which items can go and what can stay in your home and sort them out. Remember to always check on their actual value versus their state and condition, so you can get the best pricing when you sell them.
You can do this inventory check whenever you are cleaning out and organising your stock rooms, garages, attics, and other home storage. Many of your possessions may be non-negotiable for selling, but there are many other items at home that you can convert to good cash.
Extra Work, Extra Cash
For many Australians, part-time work is another good option for earning money. You can put your skills to good use with part-time jobs or services that you can offer. There are also many work-from-home jobs or online jobs today that focus on one of your skills. Once in a while, you can also earn cash from seasonal part-time work, such as summer jobs, or mall jobs during the holiday season.
In case you are in between jobs, you can always take a personal loan while waiting for your new job. In extreme cases, you can also apply for Centrelink payments. The government has made increases in fortnightly payments, which are a great help for cash-strapped Australians. Make sure to explore all these options to maximise your cash yield.