AS the cost of living continues to rise, frugal parents are heading online to share their top money saving tips.
Avoiding snack food, learning to sew and going vegetarian are just some of the ways families are making their dollar stretch further.
The list of budget-trimming hacks also suggested swapping the gas guzzling heater for a warm blanket and choosing homemade over store-bought.
Consumer finance specialist Lisa Montgomery said that even very small changes can add up to big savings.
“We don’t always pay attention to little amounts of money,” she said.
“But it can add up to be hundreds of dollars at a time and that’s much better in your pocket than with a (utility) supplier.”
Montgomery said one of her top tips was to look over transaction statements and highlight any unnecessary subscriptions or direct debits.
“We tend to ‘set and forget’, so check to see if there’s anything that you’re paying for that you’re not using anymore,” she said.
“There’s huge savings to be had by doing a quick audit,” the consumer expert said.
Montgomery also suggested checking to see if household appliances are performing efficiently and switching off power points when not in use.
“It’s very simple to test appliances to make sure they’re not sucking more electricity than they should be,” she said.
The list compiled by parenting website Kidspot proved when it comes to saving money, mums know best.
Deanna Tsiantakis, 28, considers herself a savvy spender. Along with caring for 11- month-old son Dominic, she posts items on buy swap and sell groups to save a buck.
Ms Tsiantakis said furniture, homeware, baby clothes and nappies are the most popular items to sell online.
“People are responsive on Facebook, and I sell things quickly. Usually I can put an item online in the morning and have someone picking it up by the afternoon,” she said.
Buying expensive necessities in bulk was another way parents can save, the Melton West mother said.
With the extra money coming in from selling items around the house, Deanna was renovating her home without breaking the bank.
“Most homeowners want to buy new furniture but don’t want to spend. This way, we are updating our house without any out-of-pocket costs,” Ms Tsiantakis said.
TOP 20 BUDGET-TRIMMING TIPS
1. Put any coins into a big money bank that you can’t open. When it’s full, cut it open and deposit the coins into your bank.
2. Go vegetarian. Meat is so expensive, so a few nights a week we’ll keep it meat-free to save money.
3. Don’t buy any of those chemical cleaners. Good oil’ elbow grease, vinegar, bicarb soda and hot water do the trick.
4. Learn to sew. With very basic abilities, you can make everything from bedspreads to curtains to pillowcases, saving lots of money in the process.
5. Turn all standby appliances off to save on electricity.
6. Only use the ATMs associated with your bank — you’ll pay extra fees when you use another bank’s ATM.
7. Take home ‘scrap’ paper from work, cut it in half to make note pads and for the kids to draw on and for phone messages etc.
8. Make all baby food yourself, it’s not hard and doesn’t take that much time.
9. Walk, rather than drive, to school, preschool and play group and save on petrol and car costs.
10. Go to the library. You can get magazines, CDs, DVDs and books to borrow for free. See if there is a toy library in your area.
11. Plan the meals for the week and only buy ingredients for them in one big shop a week.
12. Don’t buy snack-sized snacks for kids for school. Make your own or buy large packs and split them up yourselves.
13. Watch out for cheap kids’ movies. Hoyts and Village have films for kids for about $5 a ticket and are constantly changing them.
14. Usean envelope system where you allocate a certain amount of funds to different envelopes for your weekly sending, e.g. groceries $150, petrol $60 etc.
15. Lay-by when the sales are on. Whether it’s clothes, toys or bigger items you need.
16. Don’t have a credit card. This way you can’t spend money you don’t have.
17. Take turns among our friends at babysitting each other’s children. Take the kids to free library craft sessions and playgroup for $1 per family.
18. Grow your own vegies and share them around. You’ll be amazed that it will rub off on others. Saves money, food miles and is better for your health and the environment.
19. If it costs more than $40, you have to sleep on it.
20. Cook double batches of meals and freeze the leftovers. This stops you getting takeout on those busy days and saves on oven usage.
Published in The Herald Sun