You’re sitting at your desk at work and a notification pops up on your screen. It’s a message from your property manager: your rent is going up by 15%. 

Right under it, in your inbox, is the notice from childcare: “families can expect a fee adjustment of $5 per day to account for the rising costs of food, utilities and fuel.”  

Fact of the matter is: chat to your colleagues and friends, and you’ll hear a similar story, over and over again – everyone is feeling financial pressure at the moment.

With prices skyrocketing across so many areas of life’s expenses, that little bit you save across the board could mean a huge difference in your budget. 

So, without further ado, we’ve curated the web’s top tips to keep you nimble through the rising cost of living. Here goes:

1. If you have a mortgage, check your home loan conditions.
If you’re coming up for a lease renewal, prepare and negotiate. 

Your living arrangements are a good place to start looking for savings. 

If you haven’t yet reviewed your home loan, there’s no time like the present. While there is some debate regarding how the Silicon Valley Bank collapse will affect the rates rises1, or whether an 11th hike is on the horizon, an opportunity still exists to better align your home loan to your future goals. 

After all, there’s more to a home loan than just an interest rate. A mortgage health check could present opportunities to revise loan terms, interest rate, home equity, your LVR, offset facilities and assess how you’re positioned towards your financial objectives. 

The following practices may also help you better manage your mortgage in general2

  • Review your interest rate every year;
  • Have your salary paid directly into your offset account;
  • Consider making extra repayments when you have a little extra cash to pay down your loan faster;
  • Have money in your offset account to maximise interest savings; and
  • Avoid missing repayments by setting up automatic payments.

On the flip side, if your landlord has passed down their expenses and raised your rent, you’re not alone. According to SQM Research3, the weekly cost of a rental property has risen by 18% in the past year. In capital cities the situation is even more dire – with an average 24.6% increase in the same period. 

Mid-term in your agreement? You’d be wise to plan ahead. You may want to put feelers out to understand how the rental property market is faring and what it will mean for you when your lease is up. 

Should you find your rent is below market price, use this time to prepare! Consider provisioning some extra budget for a likely adjustment or start setting some money aside each week to move to a new place.   

If your lease renewal is coming up, it could be a chance to negotiate the proposed increase. Use your positive tenant history or commitment to staying long term as bargaining chips to request improvements on the property. There might be no way around the rent hike, but you could feel a little less heated about it if the owners agree to add in air conditioning or a new coat of paint.

2. Review big ticket expenses

When feeling the pinch, pull out your bank and credit card statements and have a look at all the recurring expenses. Unused gym or club memberships, outside school hours activities or hobbies can add up. 

Plus, it’s possible you’ll find subscriptions you don’t even recall. A 2022 survey4 showed that 39% of respondents had scheduled payments they had forgotten about, or no longer used, with the top categories being:

  • Transport tolls (14%)
  • Electricity/gas bills (14%)
  • Entertainment subscriptions (11%)
  • Car rego/car rental memberships (11%)
  • Phone bills (7%)
  • Child care (6%)

Is there anything in your budget you can live without or that you’re not using to its full potential? Cut it out!

Be honest with yourself, the gym subscription that has been waiting to be used ‘tomorrow’ for the past three months is probably not essential in the short term. Cancelling it could add an extra $30 to your monthly budget! 

But, if you’re not ready to part with the goal of fitting into your skinny jeans by 2024, you might be able to make a saving by switching your activities from monthly to annual payments, or perhaps by scaling back for a while to trim the fat off your budget.

3. Sharing (streaming services) is caring

Six billion dollars is how much Australians spend on subscription entertainment a year, according to a recent article by The New Daily5

Logically, a quick way to save is to review your streaming services and consider strategically culling one or two… 

Or, if you’re not keen on missing out on season 2 of Yellowjackets on Binge, try sharing your multi-screen subscriptions with your mates.

Sharing is caring, as the saying goes, and it can also be cost effective. Get your family, friends, or housemates in on the action. You can even swap subscriptions – you offer Netflix and Nat adds you to her Spotify family plan! Everyone wins. 

4. Not today, Takeaway. Not today. 

One sure way of eating up your budget is to… well, to eat it away. 

With the daily rush of modern living, eating out or ordering in is convenient, we get it. But, it  can also quickly chew through your disposable income, $20-$30 at a time. 

Set yourself an eating in/out budget and try to stick to it as much as possible. 

And if you’re serious about chopping your takeaway costs, consider deleting apps from your phone to remove temptation and filling your freezer with ‘fakeaway’ alternatives to cook at home. 

Leave eating out for special occasions!

5. Meal plan and grocery shop online

Grocery prices are on the rise and, with everyone constantly on the go, it’s all too easy to resort to a last-minute run to the drive-thru or to fill up the shopping cart with good intentions and loose plans.

But, being intentional in your kitchen can be a key ingredient to getting on top of your budget. And that’s where meal planning comes in. 

It takes a little time on the front end, but it’s a game changer. 

Plan out what you want to eat for the week ahead – including snacks and desserts! Make a list with everything you’ll need, checking that you’re making good use of menu items that can crossover from one meal to the next. 

Open a couple of tabs on your laptop or phone to compare prices at your preferred grocers and get shopping! You’ll find that buying your groceries online will help keep you on track with your meal plan, remove the temptation to overspend and allow you to schedule the pick up or delivery around your busy schedule. 

Tantalising tip: don’t forget to cook extra servings for leftovers as an alternative to takeaway on low-energy evenings.

6. Be energy efficient

First thing’s first, switching energy deals or providers can deliver substantial savings with minimal impact to your lifestyle. 

There are several comparison apps, local government websites that you can use to assess plans against your current usage rate. 

Once you’ve tightened up the cost of your energy bill, there are also easy hacks you can make at home to keep your power expenses as low as possible. 

Even paying attention to the thermostat can make a considerable difference. For example, every degree outside the Goldilocks zone (in winter: 18 to 20 degrees, in summer: 24 – 26 degrees) could cost users 10% extra on their bills6.

Make sure appliances and heaters are switched off overnight and when you’re not there and be on the lookout for savvy ways to save, like using fans, which tend to use less energy than air conditioners, or smaller space heaters instead of heating the whole house. Or, an electric blanket could also be a cheaper alternative on cooler nights. 

For more tips on how to save on electricity costs, click through to our blog 8 Tips For Saving On Your Electricity Bill.

7. Tighten up your budget buckets

Double-dipping or dipping into the wrong proverbial bucket? Take time to routinely review if there’s leakage in your budget. 

When you compartmentalise your reserves and discretionary spending by assigning your expenses and savings, you can more readily identify problem areas and the buckets need to be topped up or levelled out. 

Hopefully, this will keep you on par or close to your expected levels. But, if you’re regularly reaching into your emergency bucket for non-essentials, consider choosing a different account and reducing your ease of access!

8. Know where the cheap fuel is

According to the Australian Automobile Association’s (AAA) Transport Affordability Index, Aussies paid a weekly average of $100.39 for fuel between April and June last year – representing a 26.4% increase compared to the first three months of 20227.

At that rate, a motorist would have spent more than $5000 on fuel, making transportation the ultimate budget-sucker! 

The good news is, with everyone feeling it in their hip pocket, there’s no shortage of apps developed recently to find where the cheap fuel is. Government apps and websites like NSW FuelCheck, MyFuel NT, and FuelWatch provide retailer generated information, while MotorMouth, GasBuddy and Waze often compile data reported by users and may not be as current.

Although the 7-Eleven fuel app allows you to lock in your price of fuel for up to seven days, don’t let it stop you shopping around for the best deal at the browser.

And remember, if you have to go waaaaayyy out of your way to get the best price, do your maths to decide if the pursuit of cheaper fuel is worth it or not. 

 

Hopefully these tips will be a good place to start for you. For other strategies for saving on fuel, car expenses or stretching your budget with a side hustle or non-traditional job, hop over to www.nimble.com.au/blog.

 

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Disclaimer: Please note this content is provided as general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situations or needs. For advice tailored to your financial situation, it is advised that you seek guidance from an accountant or financial advisor. The above post refers to application software (“App, Apps”) that is not affiliated or associated with Nimble. We do not have any control or responsibility over the content of the Apps. Use of the Apps may be subject to further terms and conditions imposed by the App provider, the owner of the mobile operating system and/or other related parties. The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post. The information contained in this article is correct at the date of publication.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. https://www.reuters.com/markets/rates-bonds/domestic-data-not-svb-collapse-focus-rate-hikes-australia-top-bank-analysts-2023-03-14/
  2. https://rateseeker.com.au/why-you-should-get-a-home-loan-health-check/#
  3. https://sqmresearch.com.au/weekly-rents.php?national=1&t=1
  4. https://www.savings.com.au/news/aussie-unused-subscriptions#:~:text=No%20sign%20of%20slowing%20with,on%20online%20subscriptions%20in%202022
  5. https://thenewdaily.com.au/entertainment/2023/03/12/subscription-television
  6. https://www.smh.com.au/property/news/how-to-save-money-on-your-home-energy-bills-in-2023-20221221-p5c84g.html
  7. https://www.drive.com.au/news/australia-fuel-cost-100-per-week-first-time-on-record/

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