Budget Betty: What could you save by removing extras from your shopping?
Are you throwing money away every week on your shopping? Think online shopping for clothes you absolutely don’t need, or popping into a nice store because you like the look of something in the window and then walking out having spent $300. It’s okay – we’ve all been there.
But putting thought into saving money on your shopping in Australia can help you to keep your bank account healthy, which means you’ll have enough money to pay your bills and payments and subscriptions on time. This means you won’t add any defaults to your credit report, which would affect your future ability to take out a loan. To get an idea about what your credit report looks like now, request a copy from Credit Simple.
What do Australians spend their money on?
Australians spend $11.7 billion every year on meat products, according to MoneySmart, but only $2 billion a year on improving brain functions (with things like studying or reading). As much as $14.6 billion is spent on gadgets and fashion – more than people spend on meat and seafood combined ($14.1 billion).
Trading Economics reports that in the second quarter of 2017, Australian households spent more than $243 billion on consumer products, which is the highest spending has been since records began in 1959. It was up from almost $242 billion in the first quarter, and doesn’t look like slowing down.
The average Australian household spent $69,166 on general costs in 2012. If you spend more than that, and can’t really afford to, you need to find ways to save money on your shop in Australia (it’s not as hard as it sounds). Expenses on medical bills and dental care are difficult to avoid and can’t be cut down, so don’t worry about that sort of expenditure. Instead, focus on the small things like your food shopping.
How can you cut down on small expenses?
How much does your weekly food shop cost? Chances are you can dramatically reduce this expense simply by planning your meals at the start of the week, and look for the best deals, rather than the best brands. Marketing is a sure-fire way to encourage consumers to buy a product, so try to look beyond fancy packaging and choose products that are cost-effective and still hold nutritional value. You don’t need the coolest pasta brand. Settle for a home brand from your supermarket and save a few dollars.
By planning your meals at the start of the week, you can cut down on waste purchases. These occur when you buy something you think you need, only to find that you already have it hiding away in your fridge or cupboard. The new product you bought might expire before you use it because the other was already open, or you’ll have to throw out what you already had to make use of the new purchase. It’s really just throwing money away, even if it is just a few dollars. It all adds up.
When you have a menu set out, you will know exactly what ingredients you need, and also what you don’t. Removing extras from your shopping trolley in Australia should really start with them not being there in the first place – avoid putting an extra packet of biscuits in, don’t get suckered in to buying something you really don’t need just because it’s on special, and keep an eye on what your kids put in the trolley.
Keep unnecessary extras out of your trolley by planning your meals at the start of the week.
What about for larger expenses?
Are you seeing major transactions on your monthly credit card statements that shouldn’t really be there? Clothes shopping and buying unnecessary homewares are major culprits for hurting your bank balance, which could in turn affect your ability to pay your bills on time, which may result in a default on your credit report.
It’s harder to train yourself out of impulse buys, because impulses by definition cannot be controlled. We have to train ourselves to avoid caving in to our shopping impulses if we want to protect our bank balances. Try to only go shopping for clothes (and only to affordable stores) when you really need to i.e. when another item falls apart or you need something for a special occasion.
The same goes for homewares. Nobody needs three different sets of cutlery or new china crockery just because it’s on sale. It’s not a good excuse to buy unnecessary kitchen clutter, or another throw pillow, or more coffee table books, so stay away from your favourite shops unless you really need to visit (only go if something breaks or goes missing and you need a replacement).
Keeping defaults off your credit report starts with ensuring your bank balance is stable and you have enough money to pay the bills. Resisting the urge to buy extras on your weekly food shop or from your favourite stores can help you to save enough money to always make your payments on time. For more information about your credit report, get in touch with Credit Simple today.
Francis is Credit Simple's resident content writer and social media guru. He's passionate about saving money, so we pay him 5 cents to go out and fetch the team coffees every morning. Thanks Frankie.All stories by: Francis Church