According to a 2009-2010 survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, an Australian household spends an average of $1,236 per week on goods and services. Of this, more than half goes to the top three household expenditures: housing costs (18%), food (17%) and transportation (16%). Recreation, which came in 4th on the top expenditures list, comprised 13%; while the rest of the total weekly budget went to miscellaneous goods and services, household services and operation, medical care and health expenses, household furnishings and equipment, clothing and footwear, household utilities, alcoholic beverages, personal care, and tobacco products.
Published in September 2011 and based on Australian household expenditure in the last 12 months leading to June 2010, the study also shows a 38% increase from the $343 per week average spending revealed in the preceding survey (2003-2004). Part of the reason for this increase, according to the ABS, was inflation. In fact, based on the consumer price index (CPI), prices of goods and services had risen by about 19% during the period between the two surveys. With the continuously rising cost of living in the country, savings precede the list of things that get sacrificed in budget allocation. With the tons of things an Australian household has to spend for, saving up for the rainy days gets removed from the list of priorities, resulting in more expenses (and even problems) when emergencies and other unplanned expenses arise. The good news is there are several ways to save extra money and still be able to spend for necessities. Here are some tips on where to cut down costs and how to build an emergency pool that you can dip into in case of emergencies.
1. Evaluate your monthly bills.
Except for utilities such as water and electricity, make a list of all the bills you pay each month, along with the average amount that you shell out for them every payment day. Go through each one and evaluate which ones can be (1) gotten rid of, (2) reduced, or (3) availed for a lower cost from another provider.
2. Conserve energy.
Not only will you get to help save the environment, you will also be able to reduce utility costs.
• Review your energy consumption and see where you can cut down usage. Are you using too much computer or TV? Is your air conditioner on even during fine weather? Are you using too many lights? • Look at your bulbs and in case they’re still incandescent, replace them with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). CFLs consume less energy and last a lot longer than most other types of bulb.
• Use appliances and fixtures that help you conserve resources such as water-conserving toilets and energy-efficient appliances.
3. Be a smart shopper. Before going out to shop, especially for grocery shopping, be sure to make a list of the things you need and prioritize them. As much as possible, suppress the urge to buy more than what you really need. It also pays to avoid shopping on an empty stomach. Shopping when hungry makes everything seem inviting, increasing the tendency for you to overspend. Avoid bringing your credit card or checks unless absolutely necessary. Use cash as much as possible. Use discount coupons from the Internet and compare prices to see which ones offer the best quality for the most affordable price.
In a nutshell, there are three expenditures that you can cut down on to be able to get you that extra money for savings: bills, utility consumption and shopping. Effective use of your resources entitles you to have leeway for other more important things. To really make sure you get to saving, here’s a BONUS TIP: Open a savings account.
By opening a savings account (or several savings accounts), you will be able to store your money in a bank for safekeeping. You wouldn’t have to take hold of it, so there is less risk of losing it accidentally or of you spending it on a whim. You can also earn interest off it.
Kyle Kam is a writer for Discount Queens, offers advice to make couponing work for everyone, no matter the situation or motivation, from novice to pro. Kyle often writes for several finance blogs and teaches people how to make the most out of their money.