Al’s ongoing list of saving money in 2024

I bought close to $30 in groceries this morning and paid for the lot only using silver coins, with nothing bigger than a 20 cent piece. Seriously, I reckon I was there for a good ten minutes amusing the young worker who keeps an eye on the self serve machines at Woolworths, feeding coin after coin into the coin slot and occasionally re-feeding coins it spat out into the refund tray. I walked in with heavy bags of coins freshly salvaged from my piggy bank and walked out with some dinners for the next couple of days, feeling so much lighter after letting loose with the spare change shrapnel.

And I have the feeling I’m probably not the only one scraping together the silver to pay for groceries this year. Times are tough and prices are ridiculous so welcome to Al’s ongoing list of saving money in 2024..

2024 – the year of the paycheck only stretching so far

After arriving back home from recovery in Melbourne, a whole lot of things happened at once. The family dog was due for her check up and injections, the family itself including myself needed our medications. Gas was due, an eye watering bill for electricity over a mucky sweaty summer arrived and I sent a partial payment to help it not wipe me out in the next pay cycle. Rent’s gone up twenty bucks a week this year, the car payment automatically comes out as does the phone. Both cars need petrol, dad’s taxi was busy over the weekend. Oh and I have an medical appointment in Melbourne this week, joy.
Wifey is in that unfortunate situation of being in between jobs at the moment waiting for places to call her back. There’s a couple of minor school excursions on the horizons and birthdays. ‘When are we going to get this?’ is a question I’ve faced more often than not as suddenly we find ourselves short on various things like peanut butter and garbage bags.

Now by themselves these things would be molehills. But together? Welcome to my mountain. And I don’t think I have it nearly as hard as some other people around the country especially with mortgage stress and the like.
However know that if you’ve looked at the calendar more often than not to countdown the days and possibly hours between paydays, then I’m with you brethren. Hopefully a tip or two in this ongoing list can free up some essential coins to help us both climb out of this crazy hole – because I’m tightening the belt, killing the non essentials and trying to make things last as long as possible and I figured that sharing what I do might be helpful in the right circumstances, so here we go.

Saving money in 2024. The list so far.

Before we start, if you’ve got any red hot tips yourself then please let me know in a comment below. The bigger this list gets, the more people it can potentially help so feel free to share it around and contribute if something you’ve done has given you a little more breathing space.

Saving money in 2024

Venture into the piggy bank – I don’t need to add to my debt pile so it’s always cash over credit card, coins preferable over the digital stuff. And this week as we looked at how much we had left, how many days we had left and what was needed to buy (naturally groaning at the result) it was time to open up the piggy bank, something I haven’t ventured into for…er…years. It turns out the five cents here, ten cents there spare change I found and dumped in there every time I cleaned the house added up to around $30 all up in the end and that helps big time than having to take another hit on the credit card.

The original plan was to bag it all up and take it to the bank before going shopping with the small windfall but suddenly we needed bread for school so I found myself taking those heavy bags to the shopping centre and paying for things one coin at a time.
Now handing it all over this way to someone behind the counter would be a nightmare (for them more than me), they’re already working hard enough and don’t need to play coin counter so if you’re going to do this then please for the love of saving money, hit the self serve pay machines. Go when it’s quiet (9:30am seemed like a quiet time given a lot of people are at work) and while you may find yourself standing there for a bit, it’s worth it in the end if your low on food.

Like I said at the start of this, I know I’m not the only one buying food with a pocket (or in this case) bags of loose change so I don’t really care if people look at me strangely like I’m pumping five cent pieces into the machine like they’re going out of style. They get paid, I get food, the family gets to eat. Job’s done!

Ha ha wait, no this isn’t even an option anymore!

Review your subscriptions – We had Netflix. And Disney+. Wifey signed up to Binge. And then I got Prime and somehow (not sure how) I was also getting charged for a Paramount Plus subscription on top of all of those too.
In the end though once we reviewed things, we found the kids digest far more free YouTube than they do shows on streaming services and in some cases some of these services barely got used at all for weeks on end. And so the majority have now been given their marching orders. As soon as I found out I was somehow paying for Paramount, I canned it. As much as I waxed lyrical on the benefits of an Amazon Prime membership at the end of last year I’ve barely used it since and with shows I like on it appearing sporadically, it’s cancelled now but easily renewed if need be. Out went Disney+ and bye bye Presto.

Meanwhile we also knocked down Netflix to Netflix with ads. Sure I hate ads but you know what else I hate? Paying $17 for the streaming service when I could use the ads as a toilet break and pay $7.99 instead.
Couple that with a lot of decent content on both ABC iView and SBS on demand and we’ve still got plenty of entertainment options for cheap nights in.

And yes, sometimes there’s even good stuff on free to air TV. I’m not sure where or when but apparently it’s there.

Review the apps that are costing you money – While Raiz and Spaceship are both useful investing apps to have on your phone, the meagre amount I was putting in fortnightly wasn’t doing much at all to counteract their fees which made possible investing a far more expensive experience than it should be. Since parting ways with them my number one investing app still remains buying partial shares on Superhero (even though I haven’t for the last few months due to tough times) but Plenti is also something to look at if you’re able to squirrel away some spare dollars here and there to invest into something.

working out a coffee machine

Take advantage of what your work offers – I used to buy a coffee a day from the cafe around the corner from the office and not really think about it, the only time getting concerned about the price being when they raised it and so I switched from a large bucket of caffeine to a medium one. But then they started adding a five percent fee because I paid by card and I started to wonder if things were worth it anymore for that post show drink and chat. Especially when you break out the maths:

One medium cappuccino with normal milk from the cafe around the corner: $6
That’s $30 a week.
Which is $120 a month.
Which is…$1440. Which if you saved all that coffee money over the year, could buy you a Google Pixel 8 smart phone outright at the end of it (at March 2024 Jb Hi-fi prices)

Luckily work invested in a whiz bang coffee machine and after butting heads with it on day one (see above), I learnt how to put it through it’s paces…and I haven’t gone out for a post weekday show coffee since. The machine’s there, the fancy milk’s there by request and there’s even cereal for those who need some breakfast (given I’m in there from 5:30am weekdays, it’s me, I love my breakfast.) See what’s on offer and take advantage if you can, especially if there’s special employee offers for services you already use like an all staff gym card and such.

The coffee isn’t the greatest brew known to man obviously but it’s miles ahead of instant and decades ahead of no coffee when doing a breakfast radio shift. Have a look around, you never know what your work can offer you.

Sell your unwanted stuff – Okay, so this one is pretty much a no brainer on this list of tips on saving money in 2024 but it certainly bares repeating if you’ve got a fair horde of junk that you’d not really doing much with. If you know what it’s worth (or think you do) pop it up on Facebook Classifieds or Gumtree. If you want to get rid of it fast, price it at a decent discount.

Yes there’s every chance you’ll encounter idiots along the way (that’s a given) but you never know who wants to buy your stuff unless you list it. And just think of the space you’ll make and the cash in hand when the weirdo who has been messaging you about it for 8 days straight finally comes around and buys it.

We’ve got mint for months!

Grow stuff at home (if you can) – Up until last month, I was cultivating a cherry tomato plant that my son brought home one day after walking the dog. The house up the road had a stack of them potted and ready to take home so he grabbed one, I planted it and kept up the watering.
Right up until the Aussie summer cooked the absolutely bejeezus out of the thing and it ended up in the green waste bin, a dried and shrivelled mess.
It hadn’t even grown any tomatoes either which was disappointing.

What has absolutely thrived through this summer and since we moved here? The wild mint out the front. Seriously, it’s the most stubborn herb I’ve ever met where it is, only deciding not to play ball with it’s growth plan when you dig it up and move it somewhere else, then it decides it’s fragile and dies on the spot. For use in cooking though? It’s brilliant. Wander outside, pluck a sprig, give it a wash and you’ve got fresh mint ready for everything from a Mojito to a delicious salad.
(Seriously, try this salad on for size with it, the family loves it!)

If you’re in NSW and your green slip is due – Whatever you do, don’t automatically pay the reminder notice from your current green slip insurer before taking a look at a possible cheaper option first. Greenslips.com.au is a government backed website where you can plug in your details as well as your cars and find the cheapest green slip on the market.

There’s even a site for the cheapest market Health insurance if you’re looking to save on your current insurance too.

Time to update (or scale down) your phone plan? – Whistle Out is a website dedicated to the best deals on phones (on a plan or prepaid) as well as NBN internet and even streaming TV plans. When I escape the on again off again in rural areas Vodaphone issue I’m currently gnashing my teeth at, I’ll be swinging by here first to get a good idea of what’s worth looking into.

(And if you can’t find anything that suits, just come back in a month as plans change all the time.)

Not sure what to cook with what you have in the pantry? – Oh boy are you going to have fun with the Supercook app then. I have no idea where this has been all of my life but after spending ten minutes on the weekend plugging in the food stuffs I could find in the cupboards and drawers, the free app suddenly coughed up 3041 options (above) I kid you not.
Over 3000 recipe links generated from the 28 things I put in. And the more you input, the more options you have. Also I enjoyed the rosemary syrup drink more than the kids did, refreshing!

Shop at Aldi first – While it doesn’t seem to have the full range of everything like a Coles, Woolworths or IGA might, Aldi does come pretty close and their meat certainly seems a bit more affordable when you’re working your way to saving money in 2024 (I’m a big fan of their dumplings – a bit more flavour than some of the fare at the other supermarkets.) A couple of things to note – the self service machine doesn’t seem to recognise discount stickers on things so if you’re holding something with said sticker on it, take it to an checkout with a human on it. Also be aware Aldi bags are complete rubbish. I have many recycled Coles and Woolworths paper bags that I reuse but the Aldi ones seem to be made of tissue paper..

TO BE CONTINUED AS THE LIST BUILDS!

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