How frugal are you? We audited ourselves against 70 frugal tips (Free Printable)

Our family is pretty frugal, and during the last year I believe we’ve cut our expenses significantly in response to the global uncertainty. That said I always believe there is room for improvement so I audited our household against 70 tips to cut expenses, save money and live a thrifty life.

Canstar being the legends they are recently produced the following article which I started reading ‘Frugal Living: 70 tips to cut expenses, save money and live a thrifty life’. Instead of just simply reading the article which you need to read I decided to do an audit to see if there were any areas that my family could improve upon.

If you want to do this audit on your own individual circumstances I’ve created a free printable below for you to try it for yourself

A screenshot of the free printable ‘How Frugal Are You?’

These are our results from doing the audit:

These are our results from doing the audit:

Frugal TipImplementedNeeds improvement
Spending Diary or Regular Expense Tracking
Write down your goals
Make Savings Fun
(Visual Tracking or Savings Challenges)
Self-awareness of emotional spending and avoidance of triggers
This is a constant battle
Join an online community (eg Facebook or Instagram community like She’s on the Money)
Start a coin jar
Shop at a physical supermarket
One shop, once a week
Use a shopping list app
Meal prep like a pro
Make use of leftovers
Use your own coffee machine
Swap meat for veg regularly
Buy frozen veggies
Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach
Buy generic brand versions where possible
Pay bills on time to avoid late fees
Monitor your bank balance
Audit your bank accounts to see if you are paying fees
Check how much interest you are paying on your credit cardN/A
Phone your bank and ask them for a discount on your home loan interest rate
Shop around for your car insurance regularly
Review your health insurance regularly
Review your personal insurance regularly
Review your superannuation fund
Track down lost money in bank accounts
Review your telecommunications contracts
In the last 6 months
Seek cheaper ways to connect internationallyN/A
Avoid streaming on your phone using mobile data
Review your electricity and gas use regularly
In the last 6 months
Pay yourself first (your savings / investments etc)
Use ‘Rounding Up’ programs
I do mine manually
Get your bills online
Get discounts on petrol
I could be better
Get bonus interest on your savings account
Organise your tax receipts
Check your family is registered for the Medicare Safety Net
Keep things in working order
Fix it yourself
Buy clothes that don’t need dry cleaning
I cannot remember the last time I needed dry cleaning
Make your own greeting cards
Start doing Secret Santa for Christmas
Check your calendar to save money on gifts (Plan ahead)
Delay gratification: Follow the 10 second rule
Delete stored debit / credit card numbers
Calculate the value of your impulse buys in hours of work
Use your local library (including online libraries such as the Libby app)
Make your own cleaning products
Look for coupons or cashback opportunities
Consider joining a customer rewards program
Shop out of season
Reuse, reuse, reuse
Rationalise your subscription services
Price match where possible
We need to do this more
Shared expenses: use splitting and repayment toolsN/A
Use air conditioning more efficiently
Get your head out of the fridge
The kids need improvement
Save on electricity and air dry clothes
We are mostly good at this
Freeze uneaten food
Save on water costs by using water savings techniques (timed showers, water saving shower heads etc)
Participate in free online surveys for cash
Take your reusable bags to the supermarket
Collect and cash in (Bottle Deposit Schemes)
Check your payslip
Grow your own veggies / produce
Propagate your own plants
Learn for free
I need to do some more research on this
Ditch expensive printers
We’ve compared ours and its one of the cheapest out there
Know your refund rights
Get help from a financial counsellor if you need itN/A
Table – 70 tips to reduce your expenses

The Verdict:

So we have successfully implemented 60 out of 70 of the Frugal Tips recommended by Canstar. In the next few weeks I’m going to work on some of our improvement areas and:

  • Start a coin jar
  • Meal prep
  • Check to see if we have any missing money
  • Consistently use petrol apps and discounts
  • Trial Secret Santa this year
  • Be a little more organised with gift giving
  • Calculate the ‘real’ cost of splurge items in relation to work hours
  • Take advantage of price matching more
  • Put more effort into drying clothes naturally
  • Find out about free study options

Overall this audit has been a really great way to check in and find a few areas to improve upon (and it didn’t take long at all). I highly recommend doing the same and the link to free printable is below:

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Where to find TAFE or student provided services that save you money

A couple of days ago I posted an Instagram reel on utilising TAFE or student provided services as part of my frugal tips. I had a lot of comments from those who also knew about these services (and loved them), and I had a few comments from those who didn’t know about these services. So today I’m writing this article to list some of the student provided services that can save you money, and where to find them.

For this article I’ve completed a quite a bit of research on where you can access these services and have listed them below by category and state.

Hair and Beauty (Massage section further down below)

If like me you don’t want to sacrifice your hair and beauty on the way to building wealth then consider getting a student to cut your hair or do your treatment. TAFE and vocational education providers are always looking for customers for the students to train on. All students are typically supervised so don’t worry you will still end up with a good quality cut / treatment at an amazing price.

StateInformation / Links
SATAFE SA – Location – Multiple see link – Hair and Beauty (Link Here) – They do hair, nail, tanning, waxing, massage and facial services. They offer 25% off of their prices to pensioners and students.
Colour Cosmetica Academy – Adelaide – Link Here
NTCharles Darwin University – Palmerston and Alice Springs – Hair and Beauty (Link Here) – They do hair, nail, tanning, waxing, massage and facial services. They offer an extra 25% off of prices to pensioners.
WATAFE WA – South Metro – Link Here
NSWThe Hair and Beauty Academy – Penrith – Link here
Contour College – Tuggerah – Link Here
QLDKatrinas School of Beauty – Morayfield – Link here
Demi International – Multiple Locations – Link here
ACTAustralasian Beauty Therapy Academy (Beauty – no hair treatments) – Canberra – Link Here
VICVictoria University – Melbourne – Link Here
TASTasTAFE – Hobart, Alanvale, Devonport – Link Here
Table – Student Hair and Beauty Locations

Restaurants / Cafes

Many years ago I completed a short course at my local TAFE and discovered that they have student restaurants that offer high quality restaurant or café meals at a fraction of the price. After doing a bit of research it turns out there are numerous TAFE and Vocational institutes that do this across Australia.

StateInformation / Links
VICRichards Restaurant – Broadmeadows – Link Here
Wangaratta Campus Restaurant – Link Here
Holmesglen Cilantro Restaurant – Link Here
VenU Restaurant – Footscray – Link Here
The Apprentice – Prahran – Link Here
St Georges Restaurant – Preston – Link Here
Prospects Training Restaurant – Ballarat – Link Here
WABentley Pines Training Restaurant | South Metropolitan Tafe – Link Here
SAGraduates Restaurant – Regency Park – Link Here
Tiros Restaurant – Regency Park – Link Here
NSWRubric Restaurant – Alexandria – Link Here
ACTCIT Restaurant – Reid – Link Here
QLDTAFE QLD offers a number of different restaurants across their campuses at Toowoomba, Southport, Warwick, South Bank, Ipswich, Cairns, Loganlea, Townsville, Whitsundays, Mooloolaba and Bundaberg. Link here
NTKarawa Training Restaurant – Palmerston – Link here
Desert Lantern Restaurant – Alice Springs – Link here
Table – Student Restaurant Locations

Massage

Who doesn’t love a massage. The prices in the below range start from as low as $25 an hour depending on your location and treatment. Most of the links below contain additional information on supervision, what you need to bring and hygiene regulations to ease your mind.

StateInformation / Links
VICEvolve College – Docklands – Link here
ALG Student Massage Clinic – Melbourne – Link here
QLDALG Student Massage Clinic – Brisbane – Link Here
Q Academy Student Massage Clinic – Brisbane – Link Here
Institute Massage Clinic – Brisbane – Link Here
Academique Clinic – Southport – Link here
Student Massage School – Brisbane – Link here
NSWALG Student Massage Clinic – Sydney – Link Here
ACTPivotal Therapies – Canberra – Link Here
Australasian Beauty Therapy Academ – Canberra – Link Here
WASouth Metro TAFE – Murdoch Campus – Link here
ACMM Student Massage Clinic – Perth – Link here
SATAFE SA – Massage – Adelaide Campus (Link Here)
Colour Cosmetica Academy – Adelaide – Link Here
Table – Student Massage Locations

Veterinary Services

These services are not as well published online as other student clinics, however I was able to find some student vet services which offer discounts.

StateInformation / Links
VICAdelaide University Small Animal Clinic – Link Here
WATAFE WA – Bentley Campus – Link Here
Table – Student Veterinary Locations

Psychologists

StateInformation / Links
QLDWellness Centre – CQUniversity
Table – Student Psychology Locations

Physio / Exercise / Occupational Therapy

StateInformation / Links
QLDWellness Centre – CQUniversity
Brisbane Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Physio / Exercise / OT Locations

Speech Pathology

StateInformation / Links
QLDWellness Centre – CQUniversity
Table – Student Speech PathologyLocations

Podiatrist

StateInformation / Links
NSWSydney Health Clinic – CQUniversity
QLDRockhampton Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Podiatry Locations

Dentistry

During my research on student led clinics I found several dental clinics that offer services to the public. Some of these services do require you to be on a health card so make sure you check before you book.

StateInformation / Links
NSWCharles Sturt University – Multiple Locations – Link Here
WAThe University of WA – Nedlands – Link Here
VICUniversity of Melbourne – Melbourne – Link Here
Dental Health Services Victoria – Link Here
QLDRockhampton Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Dentist Locations

Chiropractic

During my research on student led clinics I found a chiro clinic that offer services to the public. Feel free to contact me if you find others and I would be happy to add the links.

StateInformation / Links
VICChiropractic clinic – RMIT University
QLDMackay Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Brisbane Health Clinic – CQUniversity
NSWSydney Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Chiro Locations

Dermal and Cosmetic Therapies

During my research on student led clinics I found a several dermal and cosmetic procedure clinics that offer services to the public. Feel free to contact me if you find others and I would be happy to add the links.

StateInformation / Links
VICDermal Clinic | Victoria University | Melbourne Australia (vu.edu.au)
Melbourne – Student clinic procedures Archives – Aspire (aspiretrainingclinics.com.au)
WAPerth – Student clinic procedures Archives – Aspire (aspiretrainingclinics.com.au)
NSWSydney – Student clinic procedures Archives – Aspire (aspiretrainingclinics.com.au)
QLDStudent Medical Aesthetic and Laser Clinic – Grayclay
Table – Student Dermal and Cosmetic Procedure Locations

Please note this isn’t a comprehensive list of all student related services in Australia. There are likely many more out there and I would be keen to add more services to this article if you find any more. Feel free to contact me or add to the comments below.

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5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills

Do you want to save money on those nasty electricity bills. Here are 5 simple ways I save money on my electricity bills.

  1. Do a yearly electricity company review

Time to complete – Approximately 30 minutes

What do you need – Your last electricity bill. If you receive them online as a PDF you won’t need to print it out.

How does this save me money? – Grab your last electricity and / or gas bill and head on over to Energy Made Easy . This is an Australian Government power comparison website where there is no email sign up required to get a price comparison. I saved over $1000 in one year by making the switch to another provider (and I didn’t even go with the cheapest).

Make sure you use this government website (‘Don’t google electricity comparison website’) and avoid other energy comparison sites which may be paid a fee from energy providers to find you, and will also likely result in spam emails. Also your taxes pay for the free Energy Made Easy service so why not use it (I mean you’ve paid for it).   

Once you’ve input your details the site will provide you a comparison pricing of all the electricity providers in your area based on your last bill. Then you compare the companies available, and the terms of each one, and let the company make the switch for you.

It really is very simple and easy. I saved over $1000 in one year by making the switch to another provider (and I didn’t even go with the cheapest). If you do select a new provider and it happens to be ReAmped Energy feel free to use my link here for $50 off your first bill (in addition to the any savings you get from switching).

  1. Use Smart Plugs

Time to Complete – 30 minutes (including ordering the plugs, and setting them up)

What do you need? – Smart Plug/s (These can be any smartplug device you would like to use. I personally use TP-Link ones as they are available at my Hardware Store, the price point is reasonable $20 per plug, and the application to control them is free)

How does this save me money? – Have you heard of Vampire electronics? Well Vampire electronics use up electricity whether or not they are actually turned on and in use (eg your Computers, Microwave, Gaming Consoles, and TV’s). It’s estimated that Vampire electronics cost the average home an extra $200 per year (US Dollars) when not in actual use. To reduce the impact of vampire electronics smart plugs can assist you by turning off your electronic items for you. Smart plugs like the ones I use allow you to turn your electronic items off from your phone, and / or put them on timers via an application. This then reduces the vampire consumption of energy, and stops me needing to remember to turn off my electronics at the wall (which can be difficult for some electronics like microwaves).

An added bonus of using smart plugs is that I now have an auto shut down of devices for bedtime so my boys can’t sneakily access devices when they shouldn’t.

  1. Get a thermometer for your fridge

What do you need? – Fridge Magnet Thermometer (Cost between $10-20)

How does this save me money? – Heating and cooling costs likely make up the majority of your energy costs so having our Thermometer on the fridge means that we only turn on

  • Heating if the temperature goes under 18 degrees Celsius.
  • Cooling if the temperature goes over 25 degrees Celsius.

Why a fridge thermometer? Well its simply because its a high traffic zone in our house and its the best place for us to be aware of the temperature of the house.

We also have a few other heating and cooling hints such as we wear extra layers in the cooler months, and in summer we will try the fan first before popping on the air-conditioning.

  1. Be smart with your dryer

How does this save me money? – We all know this, but some of us like me who live in a colder climate may not always be able to avoid having a dryer all together so I have a few dryer tips.

  • Buy a Heat pump condenser dryer – yes the initial outlay may be more but your energy consumption will be less than half the cost of a traditional vented dryer.
  • Throw a dry towel into your dryer load. This will reduce the drying time which will reduce your electricity cost per load.
  • If you have the heater on for your own warmth then use an indoor clothes horse to dry your clothes as well.
  1. Get a Smart Meter from your energy retailer or consider purchasing of your own

Time to Complete – 30 – 60 minutes (including ordering the smart meter if required / or talking to your energy provider, and setting it up)

What do you need? – Smart Meter (Cost between $0 and $124)

How does this save me money? – You know the quote ‘What gets measured gets managed…..” well its one of my favourites and definitely true in regards to monitoring your energy usage via a smart meter (as long as you use it correctly and intentionally of course). The savings from the smart meter come from the idea that by having a smart meter you are more aware of what the energy usage for your electronic items is in your house, and therefore choose to be more intentional with using them. You may even choose to replace high energy usage items, and replace with a more energy efficient model.

Many will already have a smart meter, and therefore you should have access to clear and detailed insights into your electricity consumption. If you have a smart meter and don’t have access to any insights get in touch with your energy provider to see how you can access your smart meters data.

If you don’t have a smart meter and would like one contact your energy provider first as you may be entitled to a free one. Alternatively if like me you are not entitled to a free one then you can get yourself a Smart Meter and install it yourself. My personal favourite is this one called the Powerpal Smart Meter . Installation of this meter is simple and no electrician is required.

There are so many other tips to save money on your electricity out there. Feel free to add your own in the comments below.

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