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Seven surprising ideas to help you save money

August 27th, 2015

Saving money begins with thinking before you spend. Here are seven ideas which will help you pay less for some of life’s most necessary items.

Australia is one of the most expensive places in the world to live, with data released this year showing it remains at or near the top of a wide range of categories of goods and services for cost.

The research, compiled by Deutsche Bank, showed Australia was 12 per cent more expensive than the US, while Sydney and Melbourne were both in the top 10 most expensive cities to live. Just 14 years ago, Sydney was in the top 10 cheapest cities to live.

According to the research, five-star hotel rooms in Sydney were 232 per cent of the cost of a similar room in New York, but Melbourne was only 72 per cent of the price.

Two litres of Coke in Sydney cost one-and-a-half times the typical price in New York, while Melbourne is only 18 per cent more expensive. On the other hand, beer is slightly cheaper in Sydney and Melbourne than the Big Apple.

Australians pay more for a pair of Levis jeans or Adidas runners than Americans, but generally less than many Europeans.

But you don’t always have to make sacrifices to save a dollar – sometimes you just need to think outside the square.

Here are a few ideas to get your bargain-hunting brain ticking over.


1. Try your luck with the banks

Credit cards have long been an easy way for banks to bolster profits.

If something hasn’t gone your way, at least have a crack at remedying the situation.

I was recently slugged a $250 annual credit card fee after forgetting to cancel the account in time (I’d signed up on the back of a worthwhile deal initially).

After ringing the bank to let them know I’d be cancelling because of the high fees, I was instantly refunded the money. Hoorah!

It’s worth trying the same thing with overdraft fees and mortgage interest rates. And flex your muscle as a consumer – demand a better deal and if you don’t get one, move to a friendlier bank.


2. Find a cheaper way to replace your printer ink

It’s certifiably crazy that it’s often cheaper to buy a new printer than it is to replace the cartridges. And it’s also terrible for the environment.

Instead, you could cut costs by buying a quality printer with refillable ink tanks, try the slightly messier option of cartridge refill kits, or search for bargains on sites such as thriftylink.com.au.


3. Wedding? No, I’m just having a party

Avoid terrible bills. Get married without the usual costs.

Love and marriage may go together like a horse and carriage. But any mention of the big day also sends prices skywards.

Cut cake costs by ordering a non-traditional wedding cake.

Personally if I was tying the knot I’d be tempted to order an UberBLACK to the ceremony. You still get a driver and a luxury vehicle to boot, and could even save enough to send your family there in style too.


 4. Scrap the gym

If you have a gym membership and go at least twice a week then work away. However if the only thing being worked out is your wallet, look around for free or cheap alternatives. For example my local council offers free zumba, yoga, pilates and group fitness classes.

For short bursts of activity, keep an eye out on daily deals websites such as Groupon.


5. Book domestic airline tickets in another currency

Blogger Amanda Paul, of Bargain Chick, says buying domestic airline tickets in another currency can be a great way to save money, if you dare.

She suggests investigating the cost of paying for your flight in Japanese yen via Expedia.

“Create an account and adjust the language to English which should make things a lot easier for you.”

Then proceed as you would with any other airline booking.

“The carriers – Virgin, Jetstar or Qantas – are reputable brands and the site accepts Visa or MasterCard transactions,” says Ms Paul.

She tried this experiment on a return flight from Sydney to the Gold Coast and saved about $50.


6. Consider ditching the car hire insurance

Insurance is generally a good idea. For a relatively low cost you can protect yourself against much higher costs when something goes wrong.

Car hire rental deals can sound cheap until you pick up the car and get slugged for expensive insurance.

Consumer watchdog CHOICE suggests another alternative if you’re hiring a car in Australia – and that’s taking out a domestic travel insurance policy.

CHOICE found that most car hire companies will charge between $19 to $34 a day to cover your excess, while taking out domestic travel insurance does the same thing for around $35 for five days.

Of course, some high-end credit cards also offer travel insurance, so check if yours does before shelling out anything.


7. Get paid to give your opinion

If you need to save some money and have a few spare hours up your sleeve, paid market research can be an easy way to make some extra cash, says Ms Paul.

“I’m not talking about $20 here and there. You can earn hundreds of dollars for a little bit of your time depending on the project,” she says.

Ms Paul says companies such as Stable Research, Purple Corporation and Red Galah come with good reputations.

However, she warns that it’s best to thoroughly research online-only companies before parting with your details.


Larissa Ham writes for The New Daily. Click here to visit the New Daily website.

This content was provided by the New Daily. The views expressed are not necessarily those of First Super.