Cutting expenses

To cut expenses, look at flexible costs first.  Can you spend less on, shoes, movies, coffee, lottery tickets, snacks or your sky TV package? Can you manage your spending better? For example, can you find ways to avoid ATM fees or banking service charges?  Can you make sure your fines (e.g. parking tickets) are paid on time so they don't compound to a bigger bill? Can you make better plans of your week's grocery shopping so no food is wasted? Can you make sure that you're paying your credit cards on time and that they're under their limits or better yet, pay off your credit cards completely every month?


After you've trimmed the fat, look for ways to save on regular expenses.  Pack your lunch from home.  Combine errands so you use less gas. Better yet, walk, bike, or carpool to save even more. Find better deals on your utilities such as changing your phone/internet, or power to another provider.  Barter with friends and neighbours for services and goods. For example, your neighbour might lend you his lawnmower in the summer if you will help him rake and bag leaves in the Autumn. Look for bargains on food, and sales on clothes, and entertainment. Take advantage of freebies, such as open-air concerts and health screenings.


Cutting expenses does not equal to "stop buying", shopping smartly can save a lot of money for certain items.  For example, purchase bulk when non-perishable items are on sale (e.g. shampoos and nappies), and be aware of the different pricing at different places even for the same item (e.g. cigarettes at dairies and supermarket).


It helps to have the support of others who are trying to save. It's hard to talk about money - but, if you're trying to cut costs, it's really important.  Tell your friends and family that you're working on your financial independence and ask them to support you.  Don't feel guilty if you'd rather have your friends over for pizza than go out to that new restaurant that would also mean you'd have to pay for a baby sitter. 

Resist the temptation "to keep up with the Joneses."  Keep in mind the long-term goal of financial stability.  


Being able to live within your means is a self discipline that not everyone is capable of, so take pride you are taking actions to achieve a better financial future.


There are also heaps of practical tips available in our Forum section.  Pop in to introduce yourself and let us know what you goals are. Find support and share your experiences and tips with people who are going down the same road and those who have being down this road before.


Did you know: Below is the proportion of total household expenditure (%) in 2007.  How does your spending compare?



Transportation 16%
Recreation and culture ; 15%
Housing and household utilities 14%
Food and non-alcoholic drinks 13%
Resturants and hotels 10%
Miscellaneous goods and services 9%
Household contents and services 8%
Clothing and footwear 6%
Communication 3%
Alcholic drinks, tobacco and narcotics 3%
Education 3%
Health 2%

* source: National Statistics 2007




Simple things to do to minimize bank charges:

1. Check your account balances regularly and make sure there are no unexpected fees. Banks can make mistakes too, and often small amounts will go unnoticed unless you are in the habit of checking. Create a fees category and use the "Category limit" feature to warn you of unexpectedly high activity in your bank fees.

2.  Some banks charge as high as 10 for each failed automatic payment. If you do get pinged with a fee for a fault on your part, ring the bank up. Most banks will waive the fee if it was a genuine mistake or unintentional oversight, especially if you have a lot of business with that bank, e.g. a mortgage.