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.
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 buckets.
Meanwhile, you may find some of the following articles of interest:
Check out these five hallmarks of a money-smart life.