Simple changes can save you money

The cost of living is not going down anytime soon, so it’s time to get your savings on with these ‘swap out’ tips.

Make it yourself instead of store bought

You don’t have to be a domestic goddess (or god) to make a lot of stuff at home for cents in the dollar. Salad dressing, coffee at home, Napoli sauce, pasta and bread can all be made at home with some simple upskilling.

If making bread seems a step too far, try pizza bases or focaccia. They only require a few steps and they are pretty much idiot proof. They are the only yeast-based products I can cook with any certainty of the outcome.

Along the same vein is making ‘takeout’ instead of buying it. It’s possible to knock up a serviceable takeaway meal at home, often for a fraction of what you would pay, and it’s very often healthier. Bonus savings on delivery fees as well.

Read: How to build a bigger emergency savings pot

Swap premium 98 or 95 petrol for 91

Petrol prices are a hot topic at the moment and a simple way to cut down on this unavoidable expense is to look into swapping out premium for a lower grade.

Of course, this only works in a limited number of situations. Not for one minute should you consider dropping down a grade if you are driving a high-performance car, but if you are tootling around in the latest Porsche, petrol prices probably aren’t even on your radar.

Check with the manufacturers to see what they recommend, or this information is very often on the inside of the fuel flap. 

Comparison site Canstar crunched the numbers and found swapping from 98 to 91 can save you up to $248 a year based on an average $2000-year petrol bill.

Swapping fresh milk for powdered

Poor memories of meals with a family member means I will almost never resort to this one, but it has its merits.

Powdered milk is a good substitute if you do a lot of baking, and indeed some people prefer the taste for cooked products.

It can also be mixed with fresh milk to make it go further, and of course is a lifesaver for people living in remote areas.

Read: What is ‘hypermiling’ and can it save you money on fuel?

Go generic

Generic supermarket products have come a long way since they were introduced in the 1960s. Gone are the days of cardboard cereals and toothpaste that would strip barnacles off an ocean-going liner.

It pays to shop around and test some substitutes for your favourite branded products, but you might be pleasantly surprised at the quality and taste these days.

Take it up a notch and try Aldi’s range of generic products. You get a double dip with this step. Not only are Aldi’s prices generally cheaper but its generic products add another level of savings again.

Rolled gold cold

According to Canstar, washing clothes in cold water can save up to $105 per year.

Thankfully, cold water washing products have improved over the years and unless your clothes are particularly soiled, most items can be washed in cold water.

However, it doesn’t hurt to put a hot wash through now and again, as it keeps the machine much cleaner.

Savings can also be had with your dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers also have an ‘eco’ setting that runs through either at a shorter time or temperature or both and it’s worth experimenting with that cycle to get the best out of your machine. We’ve found it was good enough for all applications and don’t use anything else.

Read: What’s your money personality and how can you improve it?

Buy second-hand or hire

Op-shopping is a popular pastime these days. Gone are the days when it was only done with shame. And frankly, it’s hard to go past when a shirt can cost you $5 instead of $105.

If you have the sort of lifestyle that requires a little bit more bling, look into hiring that special outfit.

Most metropolitan centres have shops that specialise in hiring evening wear – there are two in my suburb alone – or hop online and a quick search should turn up plenty of options.

Check the fine details though; some require the outfit to be dry-cleaned and postage can add significantly to the cost.

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