Retirement affordability suggestions

In this four-part series of articles, we’ve chosen 20 of your best tips.

Retirement affordability suggestions

Based on the results from our Retirement Affordability survey, we know our members are a bunch of savvy spenders and savers. So, in what will be a four-part series of articles, we’ve chosen 20 of the best and simplest tips provided and offer ways in which they can be achieved.

1. Household tips
Your tips: Limit cleaning products to vinegar methylated spirits and bicarbonate of soda instead of using dozens of expensive products. And use cold water as much as possible for washing clothes.

It’s a great idea to use what you have in your home as natural cleaning products, not only are they generally cheaper, using less of harsh chemicals is better for the environment and your health. Using natural products also takes a little more elbow grease, so there is also an associated fitness benefit.

For some suggestions on what to use, and for which purpose, read out article ‘Four natural cleaning products’.

2. Manage your power usage
Your tips: Install solar panels. Reduce electricity. Be careful with power.

While all these are great tips, it’s often the standard supply charges that make reducing power bills difficult. The cost of installing solar panels may be prohibitive.  And given that the Government is about to cease investment in small-scale solar projects, this will remove this method of cost reduction for those who don’t own their own home or live in an apartment or unit and can’t readily install solar panels themselves.

First step is to compare your current charges against what is being offered by other energy retailers. To do this, you should compare: 

  • the supply charge, (fixed daily amount)
  • the price (tariff) you are paying for energy (how many cents per kWh or MJ)
  • discounts offered and to which charges they
  • incentives on offer
  • contract period and payment options (e.g. direct debit, BPay, Centrepay, monthly billing)
  • price increase terms and whether you can fix the price for a certain period
  • any fees, including early termination fees or incentive payback terms.
  • any fees for a paper bill or credit card payments.

Once you have decided on a new energy retailer, or decided to stick with your current provider, then you should look at how you use your power. These 10 simple tips may help reduce the energy you use. 

Dress correctly
Layering clothes and wearing wool helps keep you warm in winter, which should enable you to turn your heater down.

Drop the thermostat
Every degree above 20 can add 10 per cent to your heating bill and in summer, set your thermostat to 26 degrees or above to save on cooling costs.

Wash clothes in cold water
No only is it better for your clothes, you can save around $115 per year by washing your clothes in cold water. Using the shortest cycle possible will also help cut costs.

Fix your fridge
As your fridge is always switched on, making sure it’s sealed and stacked properly is key to using your energy efficiently. Ensure your door seals are tight and don’t over fill your fridge. To ensure the motor doesn’t over heat, your fridge should also have at least a 10mm gap between it and any wall.

Stop standby power waste
Up to 10 per cent of your electricity could be used by gadgets and appliances that are on standby. You can simply ensure everything is switched off, or install standby power controllers that switch appliances off when not in use.

3. Cook in bulk, using cheaper ingredients
Your tips: Cook nourishing soups and freeze two or three varieties, cook other dishes double amounts and freeze for future use.

It goes without saying that soups and stews are hearty meals that can be made in large amounts and frozen. Less expensive cuts of meat and vegetables that may be about to spoil can also be used, making such dishes incredibly economical. Throw in the use of a slow cooker and you also reduce your power bills.

Why not try our recipes that are great for doing all of the above, or share your own?

4. Give the high street a miss
Your tips: Shop at factory outlets. Shop for clothes at OP shops

Unless you’re looking to dress at the cutting edge of fashion, then shopping at large chain stores or expensive boutiques isn’t really necessary. Op shops not only sell goods for less, you usually find better quality clothing that people may simply have grown out of or no longer wear. And remembers, you’ll also be help a worthy cause. This handy site can help you find op shops in your area, with customer recommendations to help you choose which ones are best.

Opshop.org

Factory outlets are another good place to get good quality clothing, footwear and even household goods without paying high street prices. As the goods are often from last season, they are sold at a much lower price. The only downside of factory outlets is that they tend to be out-of-town. You can, however, always get a group of friends together to share the transport costs and make a day of it.

Check out AFO.com.au for details of outlets that are in your vicinity. 

5. Idle hands…
Your tips: Keep busy through work as a volunteer.

Take your mind off the long days and remove the temptation to spend by volunteering at your chosen charity or organisation to keep yourself busy. Not only will you be doing some good, you’ll also be giving yourself the chance to make new friends and keep active.

Ask around to find out what opportunities are available or search on VolunteeringAustralia.org

Click 'Next' to read Part two and the next five tips

    1  2  3  4  Next





    COMMENTS

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    14th Jul 2015
    11:53am
    Good, money-saving tips, but having read them I feel sad for those needing to follow all of them if they have worked hard all their life and find this necessity in their retirement years.
    marls
    14th Jul 2015
    1:11pm
    fully agree with you
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    10:18am
    Too much Home Brew ! :-)
    LiveItUp
    3rd Aug 2015
    2:32pm
    Cold water ginger beer is very easy and cheap to make. I usually make ginger beer, a ginger and turmeric beer and also a lemon beer over the summer months.
    KB
    11th Aug 2017
    10:20am
    Being frugal might also mean you can spend the money on luxuries.
    particolor
    11th Aug 2017
    7:26pm
    YES !! Like the POWER BILL !! :-( :-(
    The Land of Milk and Electric SHOCKS !! :-( :-( :-(
    BnT
    14th Jul 2015
    12:25pm
    I agree with you but if you have retired or are close to retirement you probably did not have the benefit of superannuation etc in your earlier working life so will be lucky to have any substantial super. Couple that with any marriage breakdowns, moves to get work etc and your savings have been further reduced.... so even though you may have worked hard all your life, these tips are invaluable to help you retain some dignity as an older person.
    BnT
    15th Jan 2016
    12:46pm
    Who are you BnT - you are using the same sign off???
    btony
    14th Jul 2015
    4:26pm
    The best thing I did was change to controlled load 1 for hot water, its half the rate and doesn't heat up during the day, only at night, saves a heap. Doesnt cost anything to change over , but if you want to change back in less than 12 months it usually costs 60 bucks
    Debbie McTaggart
    15th Jul 2015
    10:14pm
    This is a great tip btony, thanks. Any more you have will be most welcome.
    Miss Elizabeth
    21st Jul 2015
    10:23am
    Many thanks Debbie, will get on to,some of these.
    Empress3
    21st Jul 2015
    11:40am
    We usually have a BBQ on the weekend and I use charcoal and or wood. At the same time I cook all the meat, snags and roast and some veges like corn in the BBQ enough for the week.
    Saves using electric appliances. A quick zap in the microwave and they are ready. We practice cost saving because we can not that we have to.

    21st Jul 2015
    11:45am
    You forgot to mention to look for items of value that rich people throw out!
    My idiot rich neighbour across the road, earns mega-dollars working for a huge oil and gas company, and he drives high-end luxury vehicles.
    He owned an Audi and then apparently sold it, as it disappeared from his garage.
    Next thing, I spot him throwing out a full set of Audi rims and tyres onto the verge, for the local rubbish collection.
    I sauntered across and inspected his "rubbish" and found the tyres averaged about 40% tread and the rims were genuine Audi alloy rims.
    I picked them all up (simply rolled them across the road! LOL), advertised them on Gumtree, and sold them within 3 days for $240! I love having super-rich neighbours! LOL
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    2:54pm
    Done the same here ! Sold The Microwave and kept the Fridge ! It was better than My old Silent Night !! :-)
    jeffr
    21st Jul 2015
    12:43pm
    One Factory Outlet I would not recommend is Sketcher's at Olympic Park,Homebush, Sydney. These runners cost us $135:95, went on line and they were $80. This was a few years ago but worked out at the time to be a 75% Rip-Off (My opinion). My advice shop around and check first.
    Blossom
    21st Jul 2015
    12:57pm
    I have found brand new clothes in op.shops that still have the retailer's labels on them. Others appear to be either new/near new. A friend of mine has 3 daughters. One of them was going to something special and had grown out of most of her clothes anway. She saw a dress she liked at Target but it was $39.00. Her Mum took her to an Op. shop and found the same dress for a fraction of the cost. She bought the dress for her eldest daughter, a lovely blouse and skirt for one of them, and a thick jumper for the youngest one for a total of $43.00. None of them appeared to have been worn at all. Some churches also occasionally have fetes or garage sales. I managed to get 100% cotton brand new blouses (shop label still in them) for a fraction of the cost for an elderly lady who suffers with acute dermatitis at a Church Garage Sale.
    Rae
    14th Jan 2016
    3:57pm
    Yes Blossom some very exclusive brands end up at op shops.

    When going on a long cruise I buy formal dresses or ex bridesmaid gowns at a second hand store that stocks a decent range. I usually pay around $20 for each one. After the cruise I donate them to the local high school drama department.

    When flying I only take the bare minimum and buy local op shop gear to wear in season donating it back to a charity at the end of the trip.
    Debbie McTaggart
    27th Jul 2015
    10:57am
    Thanks for your suggestions. The more we can share, the more we can help those who are trying to stretch their dollar!
    particolor
    15th Jan 2016
    7:21pm
    My Curb side Gutter Fridge is still Kicking, 8 Years after we loaded it into a Ute !! :-) :-) Loved the Price ! NIL ... :-)
    LiveItUp
    31st Jul 2015
    10:53am
    Sounds all a bit too complicated for me. Bank charges and charge backs to continue checking. Trying to work out all the bits and pieces you have paid off your bills. I just use cards and have all my bills direct debited. Usually have enough rewards points for a return flight every year and as a life member of YHA the accommodation isn't too expensive. Use rewards cards for shopping discounts.

    I have solar power and hot water so electricity is taken care of. I also use prepaid mobiles.
    zwaaltje
    31st Jul 2015
    4:05pm
    I believe most of these money saving tips we, hubby and I, have applied right through the time since we migrated in 1980 and even before. So that is not such a problem trying to keep the budget in check. Just would like to pass on that when we arrived in Australia we could only afford the basics in food, with shops like Franklins and the Coolstore. One thing I was very grateful for were the opshops at the time. (We did not have those were we came from). We would not have survived without those opshops and I still love them. Still find great bargains. Now my daughter is a mum of 2 kids and she shops in opshops, getting real bargains. Her kids, aged 5 & 7 are looking forward to go there and getting a lot of toys/clothes for their pocket money. When they have outgrown what they bought they will donate things back, including clothes and toys they were given for presents. I think this is a great way of teaching the next generation what it is all about.
    LiveItUp
    3rd Aug 2015
    3:12pm
    Best thing about op shops is the recycling and teaching kids just because they don't want it any more then other people do.

    Op shops can be a lot of fun.I went on a bus trip awhile back and after having lunch we all had time to spare so we hit the op shops and we all had a ball trying on stuff and finding stuff for others etc. Even the ladies running the ops shops enjoyed themselves so much so they made us all a cup of tea as well in one shop. Everyone boarded the bus in their new attire to the amusement of the bus driver. Everyone agreed on the way home that it was the highlight of the trip even though it was not planned as part of the trip. A prize was even given the best dressed picked from a draw of the hat by the driver.
    Pinky
    31st Jul 2015
    8:46pm
    We save money on our grocery bill by eating 2 or 3 vegan meals a week. Look for recipes on the Internet. There are thousands of nutritious recipes and no meat or fish costs, but you still consume plenty of protein from plant based foods. We were fully vegan for 2 years about 5 years ago and our food bill dropped dramatically. Very healthy way of eating. Once you get your head around the mystery of not eating animal products, it's great. Give it a go, heaps of lovely recipes.
    Rae
    14th Jan 2016
    4:01pm
    Yes pinky I find lentils a great substitute for ground beef in taco, lasagne and spaghetti dishes. Other beans work well too but the grandkids will eat the lentils without a fuss for some reason the larger beans are not so well liked by them.
    worker
    1st Aug 2015
    11:35am
    Become a Australian citizens employee eg member of parliament because when you leave this
    employment or are not required by the boss (eg Australian citizens ) you will get life time monies an other perks handed to you and need not be concerned about the age pension etc.

    You can go to weddings and other personal functions as well has having trips around Australia all paid for by your past empyoyer.What a great life.
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    10:24am
    BON Voyage ! :-)
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    10:21am
    NO MONEY TO SAVE ! :-(
    particolor
    8th Feb 2016
    10:25am
    Update !... I won $41.85 in Saturday Lotto ! :-) Will I have to Declare it ? :-(
    cockrone
    3rd Aug 2015
    10:31am
    The problem with buying "home" brands is we are putting the remaining Australian companies such as Birds Eye etc. out of business - We need to buy Australian and keep our local companies thriving - Who knows where the cheapest Home brand stuff comes from???
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    10:42am
    I wondered where the Stuff that John West Rejected went too ? :-(
    Squeak54
    3rd Aug 2015
    11:58am
    The majority of "home" brands are actually sourced from our local companies anyway - might be the end of a run.
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    12:31pm
    It is mainly and SOME of it is no different from the Name Brand ? Sugar is a Good example ! :-)
    PlanB
    3rd Aug 2015
    1:59pm
    I agree Cockrone, I buy Aussie NEVER imported rubbish, I always check the small print to see where it was sourced from
    LiveItUp
    3rd Aug 2015
    2:24pm
    With some products it is just a matter of changing the label in the factory production line eg sugar teabags. I rarely buy anything other than the basics myself and cook from scratch so I know what it is I'm eating.
    LiveItUp
    3rd Aug 2015
    2:30pm
    If you have a health care card a lot of places now have food shops where you can buy food etc. I regularly donate to the local food shop with my excess produce which they just give away as it was donated. They told me if they have to buy it from the food bank then they have to recover the cost. I've only been to the front counter of my local store so I can't comment on what is for sale or what prices they charge.
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    2:43pm
    Bonny.. A friend and Myself went in out of interest some time back and found that all their prices were Very Very Reasonable !! :-) Nobody should starve in this Country ! :-)
    LiveItUp
    3rd Aug 2015
    3:00pm
    The lady at the food shop told me that they catered for anyone with a health care card and the more people that shopped there the quicker they would grow and be able to help more people. So if you have a health care card then by shopping there you are helping them grow and not taking from the less fortunate.
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    3:58pm
    We both had Health Care Cards and Registered ! Bough some Items that would have cost us a Monza at Woollies and Coles ! :-)
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    4:01pm
    PS.. I still pop in there now and again ! They have an OP (Junk) Shop right next door ! :-)
    41Alpha
    3rd Aug 2015
    2:34pm
    Just a quick question regarding Pensions. Late last year I was advised by Centre Link, to move my super funds into a Income stream, before the first of January 2015.
    The reason for this was to avoid the changes to the deeming rates etc. Would you know if this is still the case, or has the government changed this ?
    particolor
    3rd Aug 2015
    2:38pm
    No Idea ? But I moved mine under the Mattress with what is going on in this Country ! :-)
    shanners
    3rd Aug 2015
    4:26pm
    As of Jan 2015 the system has changed. Any income stream started after that date has the new rules applied. It's not actually changes to deeming rates but the amount that is included in the income test for the age pension.The new system is far less generous.
    Sundays
    14th Jan 2016
    12:59pm
    Yes, and one of the few changes which were grandfathered. If you moved your money into an income stream as advised, then you are better off (income is exempt, so more age pension) provided you don't change super funds, or open a new super account
    jackie
    14th Jan 2016
    1:28pm
    Great tips but they still aren't going to stop the never ending price increases to keep companies happy making profits on top of profits whilst squeezing the blood from the poor.
    particolor
    19th Jan 2016
    9:36pm
    See PIXAPD Below !! :-) :-)
    What a Spend Thrift ..I bank $860 and live off 1 Pension a Month ! BEAT THAT ! :-)
    I Love BSA's <3 :-)
    BnT
    15th Jan 2016
    12:48pm
    I agree with what BnT said but a bit disconcerting when someone has the same sign off.
    PIXAPD
    19th Jan 2016
    9:26pm
    The aged pension with supplements and rental assistance is enough to be able to save $600 a month...simple.
    PIXAPD
    8th Feb 2016
    11:09am
    SAVE $6000 or more a year from the Aged Pension with supplements? EASY...not a problem..even when renting.
    particolor
    8th Feb 2016
    11:55am
    When are You going to move out of Your Mothers RENT FREE Back Shed ? :-)
    PIXAPD
    8th Feb 2016
    12:40pm
    particolor HA HA AH you ought to be in comedy
    particolor
    11th Aug 2017
    7:18pm
    I've been retired for 6 Years now And I've decided I cant afford it :-(
    Can I go to Best Employment or somewhere to look for a Job ?? :-)
    DavidB4
    15th Feb 2016
    2:24pm
    Easy way to save money and live better = replace Toilet Paper with a Hand Bidet Sprayer. For under $50 you can get one online and easily install it yourself with no new plumbing required. You'll enjoy superior, healthier hygiene and it also helps with constipation and hemorrhoids. See Bathroomsprayers.com.
    particolor
    15th Feb 2016
    8:45pm
    Even Cheap is the Muslim method Left hand full of Rocks ! :-) :-) :-)
    KB
    11th Aug 2017
    10:19am
    It does not matter whether you are retired or not it is good to be able to do some repair projects at home or find some one who can because plumbers can cost the earth for simple leaky taps.Our grandparents were thriftier than us. My mother sewed and knitted all our clothes. My father grew a lot of vegetables. We also had hens.
    particolor
    11th Aug 2017
    7:23pm
    I've always fixed anything Broken or in need of Repair !! :-)
    Now I have a Problem ! The neighbours know about this and bring all their Junk to my place now for Repairs :-( :-(
    robmur
    26th Jun 2018
    3:58pm
    We are fulltime retirees. Hence, during winter the ducted heating is on about 15-17 hours a day. Add in the cost of using a clothes dryer at least twice a week, a dishwasher at least three times a week, plus all the other electrical appliances - TVs, computers, electric oven etc, then in summer the ducted cooler gets a belting. The electricity bill is a big cost for us. There are number of ways we can manage our gas,electricity and water bills. We pay using the smoothing method ie. the same amount per month per year, pay on time and pay by direct method from our bank. At the moment we are looking at the local council's invitation for aged pensioners to have solar panels installed via the Solar Savers approach. Twenty four Melbourne councils are offering this. No installation fees, a low interest bank loan if required and a guaranteed check on ones power usage to ensure the amount of electricity put into the grid will create a saving per month. This can be used to off-set the loan if a loan is taken out. We are waiting to see whether our home is a good place to have solar panels installed and the quote is to our liking.

    We also by lot of our everyday general needs like toothpaste, razor blades, most male and female incontinence products, male and female toiletries, house, clothes, dishwashing and dishwasher requirements in bulk, either through Amcal-on-line or e-Bay. Both offer great discounts and often free postage through Australia Post. With e-Bay one needs to spend a little more time checking the cost of products from one supplier to another. We never run out of any product, the deliveries are on time and saves having to pay supermarket prices, unless their on special. Highly recommended.


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