Man hands credit card online shopping

How to keep your spending under control while still living your life

Keeping your spending under control when you have a family can seem difficult.

The Australian Institute of Family studies found that even in the first year as parents, your newborn can cost you up to $13,000. And that’s not including what comes next—education, school fees and stationery, childcare and extracurricular activities, but having kids doesn’t mean you have to stop living your life. With our top tips to curb your spending habits, you’ll be able to still enjoy some of  life’s little luxuries.

Put aside 20% of your weekly/fortnightly wages

The first thing you do when your wage appears in your bank account is to transfer 20% into a high-yield interest account. You can use this money for when unexpected costs crop up or you want to treat the family to a fun day out or a holiday away. Try to keep enough money in case of emergencies (root canals, extra-large power bills, house repairs).

Round it up

Some financial institutions allow you to round up your card purchases to $1 or $5. So, when you make a purchase the extra can be transferred into your savings account or towards an eligible home loan. You’ll be surprised at how fast you can accumulate savings to spend on lunch with friends or an evening out on the town.

Always plan out your meals for the week

Only purchase what you need when you are grocery shopping and stick to what’s on your list. Shopping on an empty stomach or with the kids in tow can make grocery shopping an expensive outing. By having a meal plan for the week, you can avoid relying on Uber Eats due to having missing ingredients. With the money you save from being a frugal shopper, once a month you can treat the family to brunch at your favourite cafe.

Keep an eye on your subscriptions

It’s easy to accumulate lots of little bills that disappear from your credit card from purchasing apps and streaming services. You can save money by not having access to Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime, Binge and Disney Star. Stick to one streaming service at a time for one device. When you’re sick of Netflix, switch to Stan for a month. Most of the streaming services have free-trials, so also make sure you’re taking advantage of that.

Review your service providers regularly

One of the biggest mistakes families make is sticking with service providers (electricity, gas, internet, mobile providers, insurance) is because they think it’s too mu

ch hassle to make the change. You could be missing out on some huge savings. And those savings could go towards those designer boots you have been eyeing up but couldn’t justify spending the money. If you don’t use it, lose it

The kayaks that haven’t been used since you purchased them. the heels that you loved but hurt your feet, the small appliances you thought were perfect at the time but just gather dust—sell them! Go to car boot sales, local bric-a-brac markets or use an online platform such as Gumtree or Facebook marketplace. Not only will it declutter, you’ll get money to grow your Whitsunday holiday fund.

Use reward cards

Whenever you’re shopping, be sure to take advantage of reward programs. Use FlyBuys, Everyday Rewards or Qantas Points to receive discounts or accumulate points which you can later convert into gifts.

Travel off season

By travelling during non-peak times, you can pick up significant discounts on accommodation. Shop around before you go on holiday. By contacting hotels directly, you can sometimes get better deals than you can by going through third-party apps such as Trivago or Always ask if there are free upgrades. if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. You’ll be surprised at the benefits you can get if you also mention that it’s your wedding anniversary/birthday—a free bottle of bubbly, or perhaps chocolates, maybe even dinner for two. It all saves you money.

If you need help getting your spending under control but still live without dining on instant noodles for a month, talk to our friendly financial specialists. We can help you create a budget, minimise your tax and provide you with a myriad of tools that will save you money.

This content was produced with the help of Gerry Incollingo, the MD of LCI Partners, a firm that specialises in accounting advisory, lending, wealth, property, insurance and legal.

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