Reader Tips – Ways to save money on a tight budget

One of the top benefits of budgeting is helping you stay on track to reach your financial goal and stopping you from spending money that you don’t have. There are so many tips shared for all areas of life. However, what one does may not suit another. That’s what I love most about this community – sharing ideas and learning from each other. Quite a few readers emailed me some of their money-saving tips, all to help with your budget.

Here are some tips from the community on ways to save money on a tight budget. I hope you find some that you can try.

Thank you so much to the readers that contributed their tips. There are some great ideas in here and I find it interesting to learn how others save their money and reduce living costs.

  • We withdraw our budgeted spending money out of an ATM each week. Once that cash is spent that is it, that way you have to stick to your budget and can’t go over using your eftpos card! – Sarah

  • Whenever I have leftovers from dinner, I freeze it in single meal containers. Make sure to label the contents. I keep a written list of all the meals in the freezer then when we have a really busy evening or just don’t feel like cooking, everyone can look at the list & choose their dinner! Super easy & basically a free meal. – Liz

  • I write out my shopping list and check my list out against Woolworths and Coles online and pick the cheapest. This also helps me stick to my grocery budget. – Emma

  • My best money saving tip would be to always pay yourself first (in the way of savings) because no one else will do it for you! – Janine

  • My money saving tip is in regards to shopping around for medicines at various chemists. I can save over $662 a year on medication costs simply by shopping around. I sat down one day & made a list of my family’s medications and started ringing around to various branded chemists to compare prices. The results were unreal and for me I can save hundreds per year by shopping at Chemist Warehouse. I have noticed the same extreme price differences with antibiotics that are not required often, but the savings can be huge just by making a few phone calls. Again, same box, same brand!- Nancy

And thank you so much to special reader, Caroline, who left all these helpful money saving tips:

  • Do not be supermarket loyal. If you have a supermarket rewards card, use it if it benefits you.
  • Scour the internet for supermarket codes that will help you save money. This also includes supermarkets. That stated, there is no use spending 30 minutes in a car to save 30 cents. Be smart with how you spend your shopping budget.
  • Start up a small stockpile at home. Check for specials and if you have the budget for one item at normal price and it is at a discount, consider getting another.
  • If a product is not on a shelf or out the back of a supermarket, ask for a raincheck if the product is on sale that week.
  • If you have an automobile association card, check what discounts and offers (if any) that you may also be entitled to.
  • Meal plan and cook from scratch as often as you can. The overall monthly savings can be substantial. Batch cooking is another option.
  • Run an inventory of what is in your refrigerator, freezer and pantry before heading out to shop so that you do not waste food, products or money unnecessarily.
  • Create a, “Master list,” of your household’s needs over a 12 month timeframe. Include in the list: each item (include all food, household items and drinks), how many that are used within this timeframe, total approximate cost, and actual overall cost.
  • When shopping at clearance sales, ensure that you work from a list. I use a list of what is required, by whom, their preferences and size (where applicable for clothing).
  • There can always be room for improvement. Hence, search the internet, read books, listen to well informed and knowledgeable people regarding finance and household savings.
  • Check supermarkets’ own websites for the best deals for your household. Moreover, fruit and vegetable markets, bakeries and butcheries may also have a better deal than some supermarkets.
  • Remember the idiom, “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.” It is your money until you hand it over. It is up to you where and when you decide to do so.


What’s your top budget/money saving tip?

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Chris July 18, 2017 - 10:39 AM

There is a great book called the $21 challenge where basically, you are only allowed to spend $21 for a week on groceries. During that week you have to use up everything you can in your pantry and freezer. It really helps with teaching to meal plan and to stretch ingredients. That week taught me so much and changed forever the way I supermarket shop. Its a great thing to do once every month or so.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 20, 2017 - 2:50 PM

Oh wow, $21 is incredibly impressive for a grocery shop!!! I will have to check out this book. Planning meals around the food still in the pantry and freezer is a great way to cut back on grocery and food costs.

Kez @ Awesomely Unprepared July 18, 2017 - 6:20 PM

I think the meal planning tip has been the best one for my family. Also, I highly recommend budgeting regularly. I pay bills all at the same time (right after pay day) and make sure to calculate in expenses and some savings (even if some months it’s more than others). I also agree with not being supermarket loyal. Go where the bargains are. And remember just because something is cheap doesn’t make it a bargain! It’s only a bargain if it is actually needed in the first place or if you can break down cost per use to be reasonable!

Lisa July 25, 2017 - 9:13 PM

I buy the entertainment book each year in July for $65 and it gives lots of 2 for 1 vouchers at food places like subway for when we are out and about. It also has 5% off Woolworths giftcards and 10% off david jones, to mention just a couple of the discounts. Using this I save hundreds each year. I have the digital book on my phone so whenever we are out and about and have to eat or grab a drink we use the ‘near me’ function to locate discounted cafes etc nearby.

Di Luxton October 16, 2017 - 5:14 PM

Food tips:- Drink tap water, not only is it free, it reduces your environmental impact…BYO coffee- imagine $4 extra in your your pocket everyday for a year = over $1400….add more vegetarian meals to your diet…grow your own vegies…avoid packaged products…MYO alcohol (or don’t drink at all), BYO lunch, for a romantic dinner date, how about a picnic blanket somewhere picturesque- a bottle of wine, fresh prawns and sourdough..Don’t fall for gimmicky diets that make you buy shakes, tablets, prepackaged food-quit sugar instead.

Pay your utility bills on time by setting up direct debit and getting the pay on time discount…shop around and find the best retailer for you. If you have solar-make sure you take advantage of this and use it..Another tip is to question discrepancies on your bills…if you don’t understand a charge, call the retailer-sometimes they can make mistakes (last week to be precise)

Quit smoking…good for your health and hip pocket

Holiday locally…have a staycation and don’t spend a cent on accommodation…visit local places

Minimise outsourcing….

Beauty budgeting… you need to colour your hair and get it cut every 6 weeks….do you need to get your nails done…do you need spend a fortune on make up or can you have a basic make up kit….do you need to spend more than $20 on a reasonable moisturiser……if you do need these things, maybe these could be gift ideas for your birthday or Xmas instead of getting a gift you don’t like or potentially regift to someone.

Petrol savings….plan your trip to the shops to reduce journeys…stick your school kids on public transport to get to school or maybe they are old enough to ride or walk…car pool to work

AND with Xmas coming up, be brave and suggest with your extended family the idea of Secret Santa- one present instead of many (I mean do we need more stuff)…..

STOP trying to keep up with the Jones family!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife October 17, 2017 - 8:59 AM

These are all great tips Di. Thanks so much for sharing. I really like the idea of Holidays in your local area, there is so much to see and do around us


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