Add up the savings, room by room

Saving is a way of life now and we can’t seem to go one day without the phrase ‘cost-of-living’ uttered on the news.

We are all trying to cut down on costs, so here are few ideas to eat into your weekly budget, room by room.


Unless your wash really needs it, only use cold water cycles. However, every now and again it’s a good idea to run a hot wash to remove any mould or detergent build-up.

You probably don’t need to use the full scoop of washing powder. Try three-quarters or half. Trust me, you probably won’t notice any difference.

And unless you need to, don’t run the spin cycle at full speed. I turned mine down a notch one summer and my electricity bill went down 7 per cent. It’s really only possible in hot dry days or climates, but surely that’s most of Australia?

Try to avoid the dryer. Clothes horses over or near heating points are a much more efficient use of your energy needs.

A friend who grew up in a culture that used a dryer for everything decided to use a clothesline after years of living in Australia and her electricity bill went down by a quarter.

Where possible, buy refills or concentrated laundry products instead of a fresh new packet every time. You will save money and space in your bin.

Fill up that machine. Running a half-empty load or just a few items is a colossal waste of energy and money. If you desperately need to wash something just hunt around for a few items to top up the load such as bathmats or tablecloths.

Never pay full price for laundry detergent or products. There is almost always a half-price line on sale at the supermarket. And if you haven’t already, try Aldi. They are considerably cheaper in almost every instance for cleaning products.


Ditch that second fridge. Canstar estimates running a second fridge could add as much as $144 a year to your power bill.

I think that figure would be conservative. Second fridges are usually older, out-of-date models and probably don’t run efficiently. Many also are housed in environments with fluctuating temperatures such as a shed or a back room, making them work even harder.

Keep an eye out for discounted gift cards. Coles and Woolies often offer discounted cards and they are also often available through loyalty programs such as Qantas Frequent Flyer.

Also, consider joining Woolworths Everyday Rewards. You get a bunch of extras for your shop and they regularly offer bonus offers.

Shopping tips:

Buy the cheaper ‘ugly’ fruit.

Buy on special, buy two if they are on half-price special. And consider buying basics such as rice and pasta in bulk and then splitting the cost with friends or family.

Try to buy seasonal produce.

Eat less meat. You would have to be living under a rock not to notice the escalating cost of meat lately. You save yourself hundreds a year by ditching meat a couple of days a week.

Shop around. Go through the supermarket catalogues and buy specials if you can.


If you haven’t already, switch to a low-flow showerhead. If you live in Victoria, you may even be eligible for a free low-flow showerhead.  

Canstar Blue estimates you can save $400 a year on water bills by replacing a 15L/min showerhead with a 5L/min one.

Try to keep those showers short and sharp. I’m afraid despite my cheapskate ways, I fail this one regularly.

The bathroom is another situation where you could save money and landfill using refills for items such as handwash, shampoo and conditioner.

Lounge room

Turn the damned TV off. Running a television while no-one is in the room is wasteful and annoying. I hope my children read this.

Only heat or cool the rooms you are using. If you can close vents, close doors or turn off heating panels in rooms you aren’t using, do that. It’s hard in today’s modern open-plan style, but still possible.

Invest in door snakes. Yes, they are extremely daggy, but no-one wants a draft.

And don’t forget to shop around for a new energy deal. Don’t pay loyalty tax to a company that will simply keep putting the prices up because they know you won’t leave.

Close the curtains during extreme hot and cold weather and consider investing in thermal curtains next time you upgrade. You don’t have to spend a packet, you can buy basic ones at Bunnings and Target.

For the long-term, consider planting deciduous trees outside windows that receive a lot of summer sun to provide shade in the warmer months.

Even better if they are fruit trees. 

Do you keep an eye on energy costs? What are your energy-saving tips? Why not share them in the comments section below?

Also read: Sobering truth about your spending power as you age

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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