No two people have the same goals or plans for the year, but we can all agree that saving some coin doesn’t hurt. And with those different goals and plans comes different savings strategies. But regardless of what 2018 has in store for you, we’ve got 25 tips to help you save from cheap travel, to getting a handle on your home loan to rethinking that piece of plastic that’s burning a hole in your wallet.
1. Book your airport parking spot now
If you car has a date with the airport’s parking lot while you travel, it’s a good idea to book your spot the day before you travel. In fact, you could save up to $40 if you pre-book through the official Sydney Airport Parking website.
2. Avoid foreign exchange at the airport
It’s safe to say that you’ll rarely - if ever - be offered the best exchange rate at the airport. Go online instead and compare foreign exchange rates from other providers to score the best possible conversion for your holiday budget.
3. Go online and bundle tickets
While taking your kids to multiple theme parks will put a smile on their faces, it’ll put a frown on yours once you check in on your bank account. Places like Groupon offer discounts of up to 50% on theme park tickets and attractions. It might also be surprising to know that providers like NRMA offer a 10% discount for their members who pre purchase vouchers for popular attractions, like Taronga Zoo.
4. Stay humble
We all like to get a bit fancy with our meals when we travel but unfortunately, not all of us can afford to live it up like a Kardashian. Instead of frequently dining out while in a foreign country, opt for the local market to satisfy your grumbling tummy. It’s not only cheap, but often way more authentic!
5. Be picky with your travel insurance
You only want the best when you travel and your travel insurance is no exception. Mozo’s travel insurance comparison tool can help you find a great deal as you’ll have access to 232 travel insurance policies. Just make sure to thoroughly read your PDS to be aware of any limitations and exclusions before signing the dotted line.
6. Abuse your rewards card
Let’s face it, some of us travel just for the shopping, so if you’re planning on turning your trip into one, big retail splurge, it might be worth using your rewards credit card to do so to rack up a few more points. Just remember not to go overboard, while keeping an eye out for those pesky foreign transaction fees.
7. Or use the points you already have
But if you’ve already collected a generous amount of points on your plastic while on Aussie soil, now is the time to cash them in! Not only will you be able to indulge with some retail therapy, there’s heaps of travel goodies up for grabs, like scoring a new set of luggage or a flight upgrade.
8. Be sneak and skip the foreign transaction fees
Foreign transaction fees can dampen any holiday but there is a sneaky way to avoid them - a prepaid travel card or a travel credit card that doesn’t charge fees, like the 28 Degrees Platinum Mastercard.
9. Go local with your sim card
Having a local sim card on your side means local rates instead of expensive international charges, and if you get one in the area that you’re staying in, you’ll only have to pay a few dollars, keeping your budget in check.
10. Get your cooking skills on
If you’ve been lucky enough to score accommodation with an oven, stove or microwave, take advantage of this and cook your own meals! This will give you the chance to play around with the local ingredients while immersing yourself into the culture.
11. Go cheap with transport
You’ve already forked out heaps for the plane ticket, spare your wallet the pain of having to cough up hundreds for taxis or Ubers as well - public transport is always king.
12. See the city for free
No matter where you are in the world, it’s likely that there will be free walking tours available in any major city. To find out when the next free tour is on, simply head to the tourist information centre.
13. Switch off and zone out
While it’s easier to pop in and out of home leaving appliances still switched on or on standby, did you know that this can account for 10% of your energy bill? So remember to always switch off before you head out.
14. Ditch the aircon and fall in love with fans
Yes, your aircon spoils you with cool air but it also has the potential to sting you with a painful energy bill. Save your wallet by switching to fans to keep yourself cool, they don’t use up as much energy as an aircon and let you cool only the rooms you want to.
15. Wash your clothes in cold water
While you may think you’re giving your clothing the luxury treatment by washing them in warm water, in reality it actually doesn’t affect the quality of the wash. So skip the warm water and give your favourite pair of leggings a nice, cool wash to save energy.
16. Have fun for free
What can give you a great view in your own city for free? The great outdoors. Just because you’re on staycation doesn’t mean you’re confined to the four walls of your home, so get yourself on route to national parks or the beach!
17. Make some financial changes
Since holidays are all about recharging and having a clear mind, why not use it as an opportunity to refinance your home loan. This is a really good idea for Aussies who haven’t looked at their loan features in a while, as there’s a good chance of a better, more competitive deal out there.
18. Get minimal with your home
Get proactive and declutter your home of old furniture, decorative pieces you no longer need or use or appliances that are collecting dust. Then, sell it all on Gumtree to make some extra cash!
19. See movies at a discount
Because discounts for the movies can be found everyday, not just on Tuesdays. If you’re an Optus or Telstra customer, you could score yourself $10 movie tickets! Just don’t forget to pack your own snacks and drinks, or you’ll have to pay the unnecessary $8 for packet of Maltesers.
20. Start packing your lunches
Did you know that Aussies could be saving $2,400 a year simply by bringing a packed lunch to work? Not only is this budget friendly, it’ll give you the opportunity to start bringing more healthier and nutritious options.
21. Blast debt with a balance transfer credit card
If it’s debt bringing you down, it might be a good idea to think about getting a balance transfer credit card in 2018. Say you’ve got a $5,00 balance on a credit card with a 17.99% interest rate. Making monthly repayments of $420, you’ll be debt free in 1 year and 2 months - and have paid $549 in interest. If instead, you put that on a balance transfer card with a 12 month interest free period, you can make the same monthly repayments, pay no interest and clear your debt within a year.
22. Grow your list of loyalty programs
We all have our favourite places to shop or eat at but don’t always take advantage of their loyalty programs. Depending on the store, you may be able to get certain items for free, at a discount or be the first to know about any specials they might have, purely because you’re a member. These are generally free to sign up for as well!
23. Only buy quality items
It’s the minimalist way to buy less quantity and more quality. For instance, if you opt for cheaper sneakers to work out in, they may fall apart sooner than you anticipated, forcing you to buy another pair. However, splurging once on a single pair of high quality sneakers could last for years.
24. Test drive a 'promo-code' month
If you’re looking in the right places, some stores are always holding sales or are giving out discount or ‘promo-codes’. For a month, test this out and only purchase things that are on sale or can be bought with a coupon code. Then, track how much you’ve saved by calculating the difference between the full price and the discount price you paid.
25. Set up automatic payments
Avoid getting hit with any late payment fees by setting up automatic payments online through your bank account. It’s a good idea to do these for bills that you know will remain the same, like your gym membership or home loan repayment. You could also do this for your credit card or energy bill, just make sure that you’ll have enough left over to support your everyday spending.
Need more tips for a frugal 2018? Then head over to our Life and Money hub!