Tips and tricks for cutting costs

Discounts, offers and rewards programs

Cost of living is impacting people across Australia, with everything from rising interest rates to the weekly grocery shop contributing to the strain. While there isn’t one catch-all solution, there are different ways you can tackle the financial squeeze.

Reward and discount programs may not seem like you’re saving a huge amount, but it adds up over time. If you’re shrewd enough to save a little bit on food, entertainment and even travel, you’d be surprised how much money you can keep in your pocket.

A great way to keep track is by using a budgeting tool. These insights allow you to identify areas where you could save money or find extra value.

With cost-of-living pressures, it’s never been more important to take advantage of ways to save money. 

1. Discounts on dining and entertainment

Often one of the first suggestions when it comes to saving is cutting back on unnecessary expenses, like eating out and going to the movies. But if you’re savvy, there are ways you can still enjoy these activities without paying full fare.

There are apps you can use to get discounts on your restaurant bill. In fact, if you’re not too fussed about where you’re going to dine, you can save a decent amount on your meal, plus you can try out somewhere you’ve never been before.

If you’re hanging out for a trip to the movies, you can save a few dollars by going earlier in the week – most cinemas offer discounted prices on Mondays and Tuesdays.

2. Cut down on the cost of essentials

There are some things you can’t go without. Everyone needs to put food on the table and petrol in the car. Fortunately, scoring a discount is still possible.If you’re happy to change up your grocery shopping routine, there are plenty of deals available. Sign up for Everyday Rewards (Woolworths) and Flybuys (Coles) and check the relevant apps to see what specials and offers are available that week.

Another smart option is redeeming for gift cards through your credit card rewards program, which can then be used to purchase everyday essentials. Think buying an Amazon gift card and using it to buy toilet paper or dishwashing tablets in bulk.

You can take the same approach to fuelling your car. There are many apps dedicated to finding the cheapest petrol around your area. You can also take advantage of 7-Eleven Fuel Price Lock to ensure you’re getting good value for money no matter where you are.

3. Save big on major purchases

Large expenses like a holiday can seem unrealistic when you’re trying to budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your dream getaway. Planning how much it’s going to cost and what you need to make it a reality is a good start.

You can put a dent in the overall cost by signing up for frequent flyer and credit card reward programs. There’s plenty of them out there but try to stick to one or two programs so you can accrue one currency instead of having small points balances that never seem to accrue fast enough to redeem.

You can access Webjet redemptions through NAB Rewards, Velocity lets you pool family points, which can reduce the price of flights, and if you’re trying to save on accommodation, using Visa Perks may get you a discount.

Other cost of living saving tips

Even the savings from simple changes – like taking public transport, or car-pooling to save on petrol, or swapping your magazine subscription for an online one instead – can really add up. Remember, the short-term pain of giving up what you love will be worth it when you’ve saved for your first home deposit or that overseas trip.

1. Save up those lump sums

Treat any unexpected windfalls or lump sums – such as work bonuses, tax returns or cash gifts – like forced savings, and put them in your savings account immediately. They can really add up in the long run.

2. Think before you buy

‘Mindful consumption’ is a good habit to get into. The next time you’re tempted to make an impulse purchase, walk away and give yourself time to think it over, even if just for an hour. Chances are you’ll realise you really don’t need it after all.

3. Sell unwanted goods

Cleaning out your cupboards and getting rid of things you don’t use doesn’t just free up space, it can lead to some extra savings too. Try selling your unwanted items on eBay, Gumtree, or at a good-old fashioned garage sale. 

4. Cut back on those little luxuries

More often than not it’s the smaller, everyday purchases that start eating into your budget. Make coffee and work lunches at home, or invite friends over for games night instead of going out. 

Source: NAB

Reproduced with permission of National Australia Bank (‘NAB’). This article was originally published at

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