“Wow, I’d better fill up now – petrol is under $2.” That’s what I caught myself thinking the other day. 

A few years ago – even a few months ago – the thought of paying more than $2/litre for petrol would have blown our minds. Now, it’s totally normal. Isn’t it crazy how quickly we adapt?

The thing is, though, that while the cost of living has spiked dramatically (not just petrol, but milk, eggs, a latte from your local café) your income probably hasn’t. Sure, it’s increasing steadily over time, but wages don’t generally ebb and flow like our day-to-day expenses do.

It’s why your family’s budget isn’t stretching as far as it did a few months ago. In lieu of increasing your income, the only other solution is to reevaluate your outgoing costs – and luckily, there are plenty of ways to do that.

Buy in bulk

Let’s get one thing clear: we’re not promoting panic buying. Hoarding supplies isn’t just inconsiderate to your fellow shoppers, but it’s also a great way to create unnecessary waste and spend unnecessary money while prices are high. Rather than thinking years ahead, consider what your family will definitely need in a few months time. Do some research to see whether you can save money by buying more dishwashing liquid, toothpaste and, yes, toilet paper in one go or if it’s better to stagger your purchases over time. The results might surprise you.

Cook in bulk

If you’ve bought food items in bulk, you’ll need to carefully plan how you’re going to use them. Meal prepping doesn’t just save your sanity during busy weeks – it’s also a great way to use up every single thing in your refrigerator. Here’s where it pays (or rather, saves) to get creative. If your favourite breakfast is Greek yoghurt and muesli and your kids love taco night, did you know you can use plain yoghurt as a healthy substitute for sour cream? You don’t need to follow recipes verbatim – get experimental and waste not, want not.

Reevaluate your bills

Auto-paying your bills is convenient, but it’s also a great way to wind up paying more than you have to. Whether it’s your energy and insurance company or your favourite gym, businesses (literally) bank on their customers becoming complacent and not bothering to do the research that will tell them they’re getting ripped off. Chat to your friends and family members to find out what they’re paying, and use those handy comparison websites to compare a list of providers at the click of a button. Finally, check your bank statements to see if there are any sneaky subscriptions you no longer use, but still pay for each month.

Travel smarter

We’re all hankering to get overseas, but perhaps now – considering the cost of flights and accommodation, not to mention food and tours – isn’t the best time for an all-inclusive holiday? There are still plenty of adventures to be had in your own backyard, and we’ve rounded up heaps of them on our website. If you do want to jet off, opt for the deals that will make your holiday more affordable. The tourism industry is still struggling and there are great bargains to be found if you’re willing to be flexible. Also, why not look into doing a house swap or offering to be an overseas house or pet sitter to save on accommodation?

… Not just abroad!

Travelling smarter also means considering the ways that you get around town. We all know that petrol is one of the fastest-rising expenses right now, so make sure you’re saying as much as you can at the pump. Rewards programs and fuel discounts are two of the easiest ways to do it, but you could also try chatting to the friendly cashier at your local to find out when prices are expected to drop (they know more than you may think!). Failing that, why not just ditch the car and opt to walk or ride wherever possible?

Sell unwanted items

The secondhand clothing market is booming, and now is the time to cash in. Would you prefer a crisp pineapple or those shoes that have been sitting at the bottom of your wardrobe for years? Whether you set up a Depop or Poshmark account, establish an Etsy or Ebay storefront or you go to your local consignment store or second-hand market, there are so many ways to trade in your unwanted items for cold, hard cash. This list of places to shop pre-loved is a great place to start.

Save on your fitness

Can you put a price on your fitness? In these crazy times, some of us certainly can. If being part of a close-knit community or working out in an Instagrammable studio gets you out of bed and onto the mat, keep doing it. But with boutique gyms costing roughly $60/week as standard nowadays, it’s easy to get caught up paying way more than you once would have. Why not chat to your gym owners and see if they offer a part-time membership? That way you can still attend a class or two a week for a fraction of the price, and supplement your fitness routine with cheaper workouts like surfing, walking, running and bike riding.



haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.