Who doesn’t love saving money? I know I do – so much so that’s it’s become a joke between my husband and I. I love a bargain or a heavily discounted item and since becoming a mum, the purse strings have tightened a LOT. Since leaving full time work, I’ve found a few ways to save money and make my measly dollars stretch just that little bit further.
1. Observe the Fuel Cycle
If there was one thing I learned by driving my toddler to swimming lessons every Tuesday, it was that fuel prices seemed to have jumped 20 or 30 cents overnight. And they had – the Perth metro area has a fairly regular fuel cycle in which prices are typically the highest every Tuesday and gradually get cheaper until Monday, before the cycle starts again. I always make sure to get fuel by Monday night at the latest. You can check the fuel prices in your area here.
2. Think about the way you do your grocery shopping
There are lots of way to save on groceries:
• Make a meal plan and a list and stick to it!
• Try ordering your groceries online and having them delivered – this can help you avoid leaving with things you don’t need
• You could also try shopping at alternatives to the big two supermarkets, such as Aldi, Spud Shed, which some people believe are genuinely cheaper. You just need an open mind!
• Check out your local greengrocer or Farmer’s Market
3. Look for ‘reduced to clear’ items at the supermarket
I’ve become somewhat obsessed with checking the meat fridges at my local supermarket and picking up items that have been reduced to clear. I then plan my meals for next week based on these bargains. Most of the time there’s nothing wrong with reduced to clear meats, dairy products, vegetables and groceries – sometimes they are nearing their ‘best before’ date, or sometimes the packaging is a bit untidy. You can freeze meat and some dairy products such as cream, yoghurt and even cheese!
You can also try buying some items in bulk and freezing them, such as meat, which can be cut up into portions. Buying in bulk usually means a lower cost per unit or kilo.
Look for discounted groceries
4. Discover Perth’s hidden seconds and discount gems
Perth has a number of discount outlets offering various products. For example, Miss Maud, the popular Swedish coffeehouse dotted throughout Perth, has a discount and seconds shop. Yep – they sell off all their unsold cakes, slices and muffins, plus pies, sausage rolls and other savouries. For more information, read on here. Steggles, one of Australia’s largest producers of fresh and frozen chicken, has an outlet in Osborne Park, while if you are renovating your bathroom, check out The Bathroom Outlet, also in Osborne Park. Then there is, of course, Watertown, Perth’s premier outlet brand destination, which sells clothing, homewares, sporting goods, gifts and so much more!
Discounted cakes at Miss Maud’s outlet shop (Image: Shannon Meyerkort, Perth Mums Group)
5. Look online for Perth’s best deals
Getting out with the kids gets expensive after a while, so I scour online shopping sites such as Groupon and Scoopon for deals to Perth’s play centres, cafes, animal attractions, high tea and so much more. They might be half price entry or a discounted meal, and any saving is a win in my book. You could also consider investing in an Entertainment Book, although a lot of the deals for play centres do tend to be ‘buy one, get one free’ which works out to be half price anyway. Try and have a look at the book first to see if it is a wise investment for your family.
Another way to save money is to invest in an annual pass for places you visit frequently, such as the Perth Zoo or Adventure World.
The Perth Zoo annual pass has saved me a lot of money in the past 12 months.
6. Pay less at the cinema (and take your baby or toddler!)
Alternatively, if you love going to the cinema, try going to a mums and bubs session – they are usually a fraction of the price of regular tickets and you can take preschool children of any age with you! For more about baby-friendly cinemas, read on here.
7. Find the best free activities in your suburb
If you really want to refrain from spending any money, there are HEAPS of free activities happening around Perth every week, including events at your local library, free activities at shopping centres during school holidays, parks, playgrounds and water play. The Perth Mums Group website has a list of free activities around Perth along with an extensive list of articles about Perth’s Parks and Playgrounds.
Free water play at Kwinana Adventure Park
8. Embrace the second hand revolution
The second hand market in Perth is now worth millions of dollars, with children’s items one of the most lucrative areas for both buyers and sellers. Children grow out of clothes, cots, prams and toys so quickly that sometimes it just makes sense to buy second hand. You can look in op shops, scour Gumtree or Facebook Buy, Swap and Sell pages. You can even have a go at selling and make money instead of spending it! And you’ll free up some space in the house – it’s a win-win!
9. Check out store rewards cards
Some rewards and loyalty cards are better than others – for example, Baby Bunting offers a 5% discount on goods when you sign up to a VIP loyalty card. When you sign up to a Woolworths Rewards Card, you can claim 4c per litre off fuel at Woolworths Petrol stations, while a Bonds & Me loyalty program entitles you to 20% off in Bonds store and online. Check out The Thrifty Issue for a huge list of Australia’s loyalty programs.
You can buy lots of Bonds with 20% off! (Image: Bonds website)
10. Try shopping around for a cheaper rate
Home, car and health insurance are all big costs to the household budget, so why not shop around for a cheaper rate (check out iSelect or Compare the Market.) You could also be paying too much on your premiums for things you no longer need, such as pregnancy.
What are your favourite money saving tips and hints? Feel free to share in the comments section and let the mums of Perth into your best money saving secrets!