The price of just about everything is going up at the same time right now, so how can you save money on everyday costs?

For families who are busy but desperately need to cut down their monthly expenses during the current cost of living crisis, I’ve looked at seven different bills and zeroed in on one thing everyone can try to get that bill down.

From groceries to filling up the car, here’s how to stretch your budget the furthest:

Personal finance expert Joel Gibson has shared his best tips to cut down on everyday expenses. (Graphic: Orla Maher)

Shop at more than one supermarket and ideally one of them should be Aldi.

That’s because every major price comparison, from my own to Aldi’s own to CHOICE, has found Aldi’s cheaper by anywhere from 10 per cent to 25 per cent.

Shopping at more than one provider each week or fortnight also allows you to save even more by, for example:

  • Making the most of the big weekly half-price discounts at Coles and Woolworths as well as the cheaper Aldi essentials
  • Doing an occasional bulk-buy mission to Costco or to a farmer’s market for extra savings
  • Buying some speciality items from the majors while still getting the cheap Aldi essentials (I need to buy certain gluten free stuff in the big supermarkets, for example, so I do that and then hit Aldi for dairy, meat and super-cheap dishwasher tabs)
Spreading your weekly shop across several supermarkets will likely increase competition. (Supplied)

Use the new breed of apps to find the cheapest.

If you just pull in at the first servo you see when the fuel light comes on, it can cost you as much as 50c/L more, which adds up to $20 a tank for a Corolla or $40 a tank for a big SUV.

Petrol stations on the same street sometimes charge a difference of 50c/L especially when petrol prices are spiking back to the top of the regular price cycle.

In fact, I’ve even seen differences of up to 70c/L in extreme cases.

But thanks to technology, you don’t have to drive around looking for the cheapest fuel anymore. Just take 2 minutes before you exit your driveway checking one of the apps and you’ll know who has the cheapest fuel and also whether the cycle is currently at the top or the bottom.

My top 3 national apps are:

  • Petrol Spy
  • EzySt
  • Fuel Map Australia
Huge variations in the price of different service stations can be eliminated with a simple app search. (Peter Rae)

Switch electricity plans every year.

Most plans only last a year anyhow and then they move you to another (usually inferior) deal.

Most states now allow you to switch providers to save money and it takes a matter of minutes to do so, which is why around 2 million households do it every year.

There are hundreds of dollars between the best and worst deals. The easiest way to find the cheap deals is to use the government websites:

  • In NSW, SE Qld, SA, ACT &; Tas: www.energymadeeasy.gov.au
  • In Victoria: www.compare.energy.vic.gov.au
  • In WA: switch gas at www.wattever.com.au
Australians tend to stick with their energy providers – to the detriment of their hip pockets.

This is the amount you have to pay if you make a claim. Most insurers have a standard excess but you can choose to increase or decrease it, which in turn alters your premium.

If you increase your health insurance excess to the maximum of $750, for example, it could knock a couple of hundred dollars off your premium. Ditto for car and home insurance, which often have excess options up to $1000.

Of course, you’re betting on not having to make a claim – if you do, you’ll have to pay more at the time.

It’s a gamble, but raising your excess would likely reduce your yearly premium. (Supplied)

Not all of us can sell a car, of course, but if you can, there’s maybe never been a better time to do so.

And of course, petrol is expensive right now, so the less fuel you need to buy, the better.

Not only did used car prices shoot up by more than 50 per cent in some cases during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a shortage of supply of new cars, but there are more alternatives than ever before.

As usual, there’s public transport and cycling. But these days there are also a range of carshare and car subscription companies as well.

Check out these options, for example:

  • www.GoGet.com.au
  • www.Carnextdoor.com.au
  • www.Carbar.com.au
Aussies love their cars – but not everyone needs the expense of a new vehicle, or even a vehicle at all. (Supplied)

Turn them off and on like a TV.

This is also known as “stream-hopping”. The streaming services don’t want you to know how easy this is, but if you log in on a laptop and go into ‘account’, you can cancel for a month or two and then revive your subscriptions.

When you cancel, you’ll maintain access until the end of the billing month before they cut you off, and they’ll remember your settings and favourites for months so don’t worry about losing those.

You can switch on a service, binge their best content for a month or two, then turn it off and switch on another.

If you’ve got multiple subscriptions, another good rule is to allow each member of the household to pick one service and limit your subs that way. I call this the “pick a winner rule”.

Of course, you should also share subscriptions with other members of your household. Technically, you’re not allowed to do so with family and friends who live elsewhere, but Netflix estimates 100 million of its 220 million subscribers are sharing passwords.

“Stream hopping” will reduce your overall monthly spend without drastically hitting how much content you view. (Supplied)

Do the balance transfer trick.

The best way to save on credit cards is to either pay them off every month or – if you don’t – pay them down and chop them up.

One way to do that is the Balance Transfer Trick. Go to a comparison site such as www.finder.com.au or www.canstar.com.au and click on “Balance Transfer Cards”.

You can sometimes pay no interest on the balance you move across for up to three years, which makes these the perfect three-year interest-free loan while you pay down the balance.

Ideally, pick a card that also has a low or no annual fee and a low or no “balance transfer fee”, then:

  • Transfer your balance
  • Chop up the old card
  • Divide the balance into 36 monthly instalments and set up a direct debit from
  • your pay each month for that amount
  • Leave the new card in a drawer and try not to use it, ever

This trick only works if you’re disciplined enough not to rack up more charges on the new card. Good luck!

Joel Gibson is the author of KILL BILLS! and EASY MONEY (coming January 2023). Catch his money-saving segments on Nine Radio, TODAY & Twitter @joelgibson.

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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