Wouldn’t it be great if you had an extra few hundred dollars given to you for the holiday season? Take money matters into your own hands with these simple ways to save and make money.

Around the House

Start a loose change jar – At the end of each week, everyone in the household dumps their loose change from their wallets, pockets and purses into the jar. Make this your “fun jar.”

Start a weekly saving box – We did this last year and it worked wonderfully – for each week of the year, add that amount in dollars to their savings box. For example, week one, add one dollar, week 30, add 30 dollars and week 52, add 52 dollars. In one year, you will have a grand total of $1729!

Get visual – Keep track of your spending with spreadsheets, planners, vision boards or anything else that works for you.

Divvy up the money – For some families, using envelopes and divvying up the funds to keep track of each expense can help ensure you do not go over each month.

Use the 30-day rule – Avoid impulse buys by sticking to the 30-day spending rule. If you see something you love, give it a month. If you still need it one month later, then buy it. More likely than not, the impulse to buy the item will be gone by the end of the month.

Save and spend – Anytime you spend money on something indulgent, from a new pair of shoes to a coffee, add the same amount to a savings jar.
Be energy efficient – Turn lights off, reduce your shower times and reuse your bath water

Start your own garden – This will cut down on the costs of some of your fruits and veggies.

Declutter – This helps you find items that you thought you have lost and ensures you are not buying items you don’t need.

Go second hand – Op-shopping isn’t for everyone but you can find some amazing deals on clothing, toys and other household items.

Make your own cleaning supplies – Swap the expensive cleaners for baking soda, warm water and white vinegar.

Swap babysitting with neighbours – Babysitters are a killer when it comes to your budget. Start a neighbourhood babysitting system where you rotate with the other parents on your street.

In the Kitchen

Stay away from takeaway – It’s hard, I know… but reducing your weekly reliance on takeaway can save you $200 or more per month!

Freezer cook – Meal planning and freezer cooking is one of the easiest ways to save money on groceries and takeaway as well as save time in the kitchen.

Ditch one luxury each month – Swap your monthly hair appointments to every second month. Spread out your weekly spray tan to once every month.

Go Meat-free on Mondays – Plan a weekly meal that doesn’t involve meat. We spend about $10 on meat per family meal so swapping for more affordable veggies, lentils or beans can help.

Make lunches in advance – Pack all lunches the night before in case you wake up late. This avoids visits to the local café, pie van and tuck shop for the kids.

On Entertainment

Consider Netflix – You get a whole slew of movies, shows and kids entertainment. If you’re a movie watcher, then this is a great way to save on your weekly movie nights.

Set a limit on entertainment for the children – Our limit is $30 an hour. If an activity costs more than this, then it’s a no-go.

Think outside the toy box – Look for ways to entertain the children that are completely free – from making things out of cardboard boxes to looking for fairies in the backyard.

Entertain rather than go out – This saves you a fortune on public transport and meal costs. Ask your guests to bring a plate each.

When Out and About

Bring your own coffee – Invest in a coffee mug and avoid stopping on your way to work or out for the day.

Carry water and a small snack – No need to stop at the nearest servo if you are running errands and feel too hungry or thirsty to wait until you are back home.

Buy in bulk – It may cost more up front but it will save you a small fortune down the road.

Always bring a shopping list – And stick to it!

Go Homebrand – In many instances, you won’t even notice the difference in taste and quality (only in your bank account)

Pack food for road trips – And avoid the, “Mum, I‘m hungry, can we stop at Maccas?”

With your Finances

Save your credit cards for special occasions – Or even better, use a debit credit card so you are only spending money you have.

Switch to digital – Many companies charge a fee for printed versions of your bill. Make the switch to email and you could save a few dollars each month.

Always ask for better – Make it a habit of contacting your bank and requesting better interest rates every six months or so.

Get to know the EFTPOS machines – Stick to your own banks’ machine and avoid a $3 charge per transaction. Even if you are withdrawing money from a competitor machine twice a month, this adds up to close to $70 in one year.

When Gift Giving

Make gifts whenever you can – Homemade isn’t just more affordable but also so much more personal.

Swap gifts for vouchers – Rather than buying your partner a Valentines, Anniversary and Birthday gift each year, make a pact to give vouchers for free services instead… for example, a voucher to ten back massages.

Buy birthday presents during the toy sales – We probably go to around 20 birthday parties for other children every year. This adds up to a lot in presents. Look for gifts that are suitable for your children’s age group of friends and buy when these items are half off or heavily discounted. And then make sure you hide them from your own children.

Get the kids to make birthday cards – Avoid buying the $5 Hallmark card and get your kids to make their own cards instead.