1. Track your expenditure. Use a diary or if you have a Smart Phone use an app such as iXpenseit.
2. Keep track of your tax deductions and file all receipts.
3. Use tax returns to pay off debt and minimise interest.
4. Ensure your registered as a family for the Medicare Safety Net rather than as two individuals. This will lower your Medicare Safety Net Threshold. Also keep receipts for any out of pocket medical expenses. You can claim a 20% tax offset.
5. Ask your bank to review your accounts to make sure you are getting the best deal.
6. Limit ATM transactions to once a week to avoid excess fees. Only use your own bank’s ATM.
7. Review your home loan package. Research competitors and pressure your lender for a better deal.
8. Check with the Australian Tax Office to see if you have any lost super and consolidate.
9. If you earn less than $61,920 make extra contributions to your superannuation. You are eligible for the governments co-contribution scheme.
10. If you have internet, home phone and mobile bundle and save.
11. Update your work skills. Check if your eligible for the governments free Productivity Placements Program – www.deewr.gov.au.
12. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.
13. Make your own fertiliser. Compost or invest in a worm farm. Not only will you save money but you’re helping the environment.
14. Never water the garden between 10am and 2pm. Water is evaporated and lost in the heat.
15. Place a bucket in the bottom of the shower and use to water pots around the house.
16. Cook and freeze your own biscuits, slices and cakes. Not only is it cheaper – it tastes better.
17. Make your own cleaning products. Vinegar and eucalyptus a great household cleaners.
18. Pack rather than buy lunch each day – you will save hundreds.
19. Plan meals, never shop without a list and never shop hungry. This prevents impulse buying.
20. Switch to supermarket brands.
21. Buy in bulk and save. Cook larger portions and freeze.
22. Reduce the number of packaged convenience foods your purchase. Buy fresh. It’s cheaper and better for you.
23. Try cheaper nappy brands.
24. If possible, breastfeed. It’s good for baby, convenient and free.
25. Make homemade baby food. Buying two jars a day can cost in excess of $1000 per year.
26. Shop with cash rather than credit and stick to a budget.
27. Shop at clearance centres and factory outlets.
28. Plan to shop during sale periods.
29. Swap to energy efficient globes and water saving showerheads.
30. Consider purchasing second hand white goods or display models which come with a discount.
31. Wash in cold water and dry clothes on the line rather than in the dryer.
32. Wash your own car – let the kids help, it can be fun.
33. School holidays – consider a house swap – www.aussiehouseswap.com.au
34. When travelling with the kids – pack food and drinks and stop in parks and reserves.
35. When travelling consider hostels as opposed to hotels.
36. Use libraries rather than buy books. You can also borrow children’s dvd’s and cd’s.
37. Shop at charity stores. Good on your wallet, good for charity, good for the environment.
38. During school holidays contact your local Council to find out about free holiday activities in your area.
39. Take the kids for a bushwalk and a picnic.
40. Having a dinner party – make it pot luck. Everyone brings a dish and the expense is shared.
41. Join a local playgroup, a fun and inexpensive way to entertain your toddler.
42. Establish a babysitting circle and trade services with friends.
43. Organise a toy exchange. Swap toys your children no longer use.
44. Barter with friends and family e.g. a basket of ironing for some home cooking.
45. Refrain from buying bottled water, take your own, its free and better for the environment.
46. Save on Christmas wrap, use brown paper and dress with ribbon or let the kids decorate it.
47. Save on Christmas cards – supply your children with craft supplies and have them make cards for you.
48. Save on Christmas decorations. Make paper wreaths and window decorations with the kids.
49. Purchase LED lights for decorating the house. Though more expensive to buy they are cheaper to run and last longer.
50. Make homemade Christmas gifts e.g. food or set a family spend limit. Secret Santa is also a good way to limit expenditure in large families.
Thank you to Bree Katsamangos for submitting this post.
Bree Katsamangos is the author of Twinkle in the Eye, a blog which allows women to share the experience of motherhood. You can visit Bree’s blog at www.twinkleintheeyeblog.com