14 inventive ways readers have saved on a budget

When times are tough, sometimes Aussies look outside the square to cut back on their spending.

Many of us have felt strapped for cash at one point or another, so we asked our readers to share with us—what was the most inventive thing you’ve done on a budget to save money?

This was part of a competition we ran on Facebook recently.

Thank you everyone for entering. Below are some of our favourite responses.

How to cut back on electricity

1. I moved the clothes dryer into the shed, so I wasn't tempted to use it unless it was absolutely necessary. It saved us a heap on our electricity bills.

2. We started up an electricity challenge with our kids. We represented our regular electricity usage by putting Smarties in a jar and then let the kids eat whatever we managed to save that quarter.

Ways to save on food

3. Tomatoes were abundant in our garden and with our friends growing their own food too, we’d regularly meet and swap our home-grown goodies, leaving us all with enough ingredients to make a variety of salads.

4. My old man and I would routinely bring a thermos full of sausages to the footy, along with some buns and sauce, so we could make our own hotdogs and save on buying things at the game.

5. At university I’d make myself a three-course dinner with toast being the main ingredient. Entree - buttered toast. Main course – cheese and Vegemite toast. Dessert - cinnamon sugar toast.

6. I entered a free pie-eating contest so I didn’t have to spend money on food that day.

7. I lived on two-minute noodles for a month. I saved a packet although I'm all noodled out and can't bring myself to eat them anymore.

Avenues to reduce unnecessary spending

8. I committed to a spend-free day once a week. Placing a one-day embargo on all purchases made a huge difference at the end of the year.

9. When I was young and wanted something, I’d flip a coin. Heads meant buy it, tails meant save the cash for another day.

Methods to cull clothing costs

10. I joined a clothes swap with other new and expecting mums so I didn't have to buy all my maternity clothes at retail price.

11. My best friends and I started an online revolving wardrobe group, where we’d post photos of all our outfits so we never had to buy anything new for a big event.

Tips to add to your money box

12. I’d keep all my $5 notes and 50c coins. It was amazing how they’d add up and it was a great lesson in self-control.

Ways to make the most of the second-hand economy

13. We’d gather items we were no longer using—books, clothes and toys—make some muffins and toffees, then make a day of it by setting up a stall at the local markets.

How to benefit from DIY

14. I did all my beauty work at home—hair, waxing, tanning, nails—and saved a tonne of cash.

Need assistance?

If you want help creating a workable budget, try our online budget planner calculator.

Also check out the AMP Bett3r Account, which may make managing your money easier, as you can divide your money into pay, save and spend sub-accounts.

Meanwhile, you may find some of the following articles of interest:

Manage your money the smart way

The new AMP Bett3r Account is a smart bank account that helps you manage your money and save for your goals.

Find out more

Budget planner calculator

Use our Budget planner calculator to assess your current financial position and how much you may be able to invest. 

Start budgeting today

Managing your money

Find out how you can make a big difference to the opportunities and lifestyle you enjoy today and tomorrow with our online module. 

Begin module

Sign up to News&insights

Sign up to News&insights for a chance to win an iPhone 7 (PRODUCT)RED™ Special Edition.

Sign up now

Important information

Show more

Any advice in this page is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters. AMP Bett3r Account is issued by AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, AFSL 234517. Consider the terms and conditions available on request by calling 13 30 30 or at amp.com.au/bett3r and whether this product is appropriate for you. Fees and charges apply.

Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any decision. Except where liability cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage.