Have you ever looked at your bank account and thought, where did my money go?! Whether it’s a holiday, a new wardrobe, a wedding or a next-level birthday pressie for your boo, we’d all love a little more cash stashed away in our savings. If you want to watch your savings stack up, stop wasting your money on these things – it’s amazing how much they add up!
Don’t worry, we’d never tell you to give up your wine! Just be smarter about how you sip. When you head out for dinner, choose a BYO restaurant. That bottle of rose will taste even sweeter when you know it only cost $15, rather than wasting your money on $60 the restaurant would charge. And if you’re going out for drinks, pregame at home or hit a happy hour first to make the most of half-priced cocktails/sangrias/vodkas.
Banks charging you to withdraw your OWN money is preposterous. If you pay $5 every time you use an out-of-network ATM, take your business to another bank. There are plenty that don’t charge fees. Or, just tell yourself: if your bank’s logo isn’t on the ATM, steer clear!
Foreign transaction fees
Jetsetters, this one’s for you. Many credit cards add a 2-3% foreign transaction fee to every purchase you make overseas – which really adds up. When you’re travelling, your best bet is to load money onto a debit card (like Travelex), or carry cash. The less you swipe your Aussie card, the better.
Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with Uber? The app is almost too convenient to the point where, if you’re bouncing around from bar to bar, you can end up spending $$$ on transport. Save it for when you’re in a rush, or when everything’s going wrong and you cannot deal with public transport.
Deliveroo, MenuLog, UberEats… You might save time by having your dinner delivered, but you’re wasting your money for that convenience. Order takeaway instead, and swing by on your way home to pick it up. That’s $5 in your pocket. Boom.
$1 here, $3 there, $6 at the movies (#hateuhoyts) – all of these are ridiculous prices to pay for hydration. To state the bleeding obvious, water is FREE, so drink tap water like the proud pleb you are! For eco-chic points, ditch the plastic and buy a stainless steel or glass bottle.
Anything at the movies
With its overpriced popcorn, lollies and soft drinks, the concession stand is a temptress. Grab a few goodies, and you’re guaranteed to pay more than you did for the movie ticket. So, go to Woolies to stock up on snacks. Most cinemas don’t care if you bring your own food, as long as you’re discreet about it.
Buying lunch every day
Blowing $10-20 on salads, sandwiches and soups every day is MASSIVELY wasting your money. Unless you have a long, leisurely lunch break, you’re probably popping into the local grab-and-go joint or food court, and the meals are never memorable. You can save hundreds of dollars a week by bringing your lunch from home. Whip up a salad or sanga yourself, or cook double the food for dinner so you have leftovers. Easy!
Let’s do the math: if you buy a $5 latte every day, that adds up to $1,825 a YEAR. That’s a flight to Europe! Invest in a Nespresso machine, and even if you make your own coffee most days, you’ll save a ton of money in the long-run.
Unused gym membership
Are you a gym rat? Attagirl – you can move on! But if you legit can’t remember the last time you stepped foot into the facility (no judgement, every sign-up starts with the best intentions), it might be time to cancel that $50/week membership. Now, you don’t need to resign yourself to feeling like a little dumpling. Find a class that you love, and buy a package. Go to outdoor classes – they tend to be cheaper – or yoga in community halls. Swim at the local pool, head to the YMCA, or follow free training apps and YouTube videos. Hello, fitspo!
First up, Foxtel. With all the streaming services out there, there’s literally no reason to have cable – unless you live with your football-obsessed bf. Cut the cord and stick to Netflix and Stan. Speaking of, you can save by sharing your passwords and splitting the cost with your bestie/bf/parents. The same goes for Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal Apple Music… And while we’re on the subject, do you really need all of them?!
Playing around with beauty prods is fun, and no-one would ever take that away from you. But there are some sneaky ways to save. Instead of wasting your money on all-Dior-everything, only splurge on the products that sit on your skin for the longest, like foundation. For on-trend prods, like glittery eyeshadows and bold lippies, and things that dry up quickly, like mascara, choose the cheaper option.
Like makeup, spend the most money on the products that stay on your face, like serums and moisturisers. The Cetaphil cleanser from the chemist will do just fine!
Do you do a big, smug shop on a Sunday, only to throw out wilted lettuce and overripe fruit the next week? You tried! To stop wasting food and money, try shopping more often. That way, you’ll only buy what you need. Another trick is to load up on frozen foods, like blueberries, carrots, peas etc.
In most cases, AirBnbs are cheaper (and more charming), plus they give you the local experience. PS. Check out our tips for scoring cheap flights!
For some things, the no-frills brand is more than fine – think toilet paper, cleaning products, and certain groceries, like herbs and spices. You can even go generic with medicines like ibuprofen (aka Panadol/Nurofen) and the Pill. The ingredients are usually identical.
Reading can be an exxy hobby! While nothing – nothing – beats cracking open a crisp, new book, you can stop wasting your money by starting a book swap with your friends or buying the eBook or audiobook (especially if you think you’ll only read it once). To take it up a notch, you can join the library. They’re free and an absolute goldmine of books, magazines, newspapers, music and movies, so get your nerd on!
Google your car first, but 9 times out of 10, regular petrol will do the job.
New to budgeting? Read our guide to creating a budget.
Budgeting tips by Katia Iervasi