With the renovations pending, the bills are piling up, so now is the time to reassess our spending. The one thing I've learnt, is it is very easy to overspend without realising it. So I've been looking at ways to cut costs without altering our way of living.
I've realised the trick is to be organised, and each year, re-evaluate. Laziness can cost us greatly. We saved approx. $600 by switching car insurance. For all services you use that have competition, it is worth shopping around before each renewal. If you do this with energy, phone bills, internet etc, it could save you thousands.
Look at petrol prices, if the stations near you offer the same price, then look at the bonus you get with it, flybuy points turn into supermarket cash or Virgin points can be spent on hotels or flights. If you can't get a lower price, at least get a discount later on, but make sure it is one that you will use.
With Christmas coming, start on the list now. As things go on sale, or there are gifts with purchase, then be prepared. If you have a lot of people to buy for, it helps not to have the whole credit card bill hit in January.
At the Supermarket, look at the specials. You don't have to alter your list, just buy ahead non perishables when on sale, or switch chicken for beef if there's a discount.
For me, the big one is the credit card fees. We were spending easily $30 a week just to use the card. This is easy to reduce, if the vendor is passing on the fee, use bpay or eft instead. If your card gives points, use them to pay the annual fee.
My aim is to shave dollars off our cost of living without any of the enjoyment of our lifestyle...I've set myself a three month challenge, in which to monitor it.
These are just my ideas - what's your budget busting suggestions? (As I'll need all the help I can get!)