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Tips on frugal living (for the financially struggling)

Community Member

Hi everyone,

So I thought it would be helpful for anyone who (like me) is financially struggling to share tips and tricks on how to make a dollar stretch that much further. I was inspired by Dizzy and her wonderful advice on anther thread.

Here are mine:

1. Do the bulk of your shopping at Aldi (it's a LOT cheaper than Woolworths or Coles for the most part).

2. Wait till the afternoon/late evening to stock up on bread at supermarkets as the prices are often heavily slashed.

3. Your freezer is your best friend to keep cheap/discounted groceries that you buy in bulk.

4. Plan your meals to save money and avoid waste.

5. I understand that obviously you can't always do this but (& always check with your doctor/pharmacist first) see if you can ask for the generic brand of meds.

6. If you live with other people, you will probably eat better if you all chip in.

7. Markets and op shops are great for updating your wardrobe.

8. If you live in an inner city suburb, see if there's a not-for-profit local food co-op to get really cheap veggies and fruit.

7. If you're a bit of a TV junkie, Netflix is a lot cheaper than Foxtel.

8. Many (phone) service providers offer $10-$12 vouchers for cinema movie tickets. Use those to save at the cinemas.

9. Candy bars at the cinemas are notoriously expensive. Buy your snacks from a supermarket.

phew...that's all I have for now.

I WOULD love to hear your tips!

Thanks in advance!

Dottie x

29 Replies 29

Community Member

Hi again,

I forget to add always carry your student/pension/etc card on you.

Some shops offer discounts to students and pensioners.

I can't afford to shop at, say, Topshop and Glue (for example). But for those of you who can afford it, I think some stores (all?) give you a 10% discount if you show your student card.

And I'm pretty sure iTunes offers a special for students (might look into that myself).

Okay, I'm wiped. Catch ya around.

And again, if anyone has any tips, please share!

Dottie x

Great tips Dottie!

I would also add that as a student, you can save on bills by doing uni work at uni to lower your internet ahahah

...Maybe also taking shorter showers and looking at the free meals and discounts at the back of receipts,

If people wanna be particularly stingy, they can always not flush after using the bathroom and stocking up on toilet paper rolls from school or public restrooms, not saying I have ever done this but it does sound like a money saving tip ahahaha

Gabby x

Hi Gabby,

Awesome suggestions! Love it!

Thank goodness for free uni wifi 😊

Oh yes, good one. I do like to collect various vouchers on the back of receipts too.

The not flushing one made me laugh. It's not entirely a bad idea although I'm not sure how my housemates would feel if I did that ha, ha.

Dottie x

Community Champion
Community Champion

I'd also recommend buying a second hand bike and either walking or riding as much as possible. It's annoying at first, but you eventually get used to the idea of riding and walking everywhere, even avoiding public transport. Saves money and makes you healthier.

Hey Dottie, this is a great thread, and I expect pretty useful for a lot of people. As we touched on in the CafΓ©, I've done my time as a student and know all about living on next to nothing. I also have appalling financial luck in general, so it's been top priority for me to be good with money. I do have a few tips.

  1. Maybe instead of not flushing, put a full water bottle into your toilet cistern (just an old 1.25-2L Coke bottle or something is fine). The cistern ​still fills to the same level so with the bottle taking up space it will use less water.
  2. In stares where cans and bottles can be taken to a depot for a deposit, do so instead of throwing them out. You'd be surprised how much you can get out of taking in the beer and soft drink bottles/cans after a house party.
  3. When making a budget, include entertainment. If you don't, big blow-outs are likely to occur because you're not having any fun and start to go nuts.
  4. If you have finite debts (i.e. paying off a car or TV, rather than an ongoing bill), aim to wipe out the smallest first. Allocate as much of your budget as you can to it, and put any spare cash onto that to ditch it as quick as possible. Once it's gone, allocate the portion of your budget from that to the next biggest debt so you're paying off more at a time and knock it out quicker.
  5. When you cook, do a big batch and freeze portions. That way you use less power/gas and have lunches ready for work, uni, etc. that you don't have to buy when you're out.
  6. Hot water bottles and blankets. You'll save on power at night, and can water any plants you have from them when the water goes cold and you have you change it.
  7. If you're bad at saving, get your work or Centrelink to take out extra tax from each pay. Even $5 a week adds up if you're getting it back annually in your tax return. It can then be stuck in a high interest savings account to make a few extra dollars.

Just a few ideas to start off with. I've found them handy.


Er, states, not stares in point 2. Nice work, auto-correct.

Hi James and Blue,

Thanks for the awesome tips 😊

James, maybe it's time I get my hipster on with the bike idea ha, ha.

Blue, incredible suggestions!

No. 1 is pretty ingenious. Gotta hand it to you.

I also really like the one about budgeting to include some semblance of a life like entertainment. That's a good one.

Hmmm...as for the old cans and bottles. That gives me an incentive to offer to help my housemates, uh,"clean up" after their parties ha, ha,

Oh yeah, autocorrect can be pretty creator at times

Community Member


See autocorrect hates me too apparently...nothing personal πŸ˜‰

Dottie x

Community Member

Great tips everyone!

I have a dilemma now, as I've been trying to tell myself that shopping at Aldi can't make that much of a difference because I didn't want to ride my bike to multiple shopping centres to do the shopping. πŸ˜›

Walking and biking is a key ingredient of my lifestyle at present. It's good for my budget, good for my physical and mental health, good for controlling impulse shopping, and good for helping me develop planning skills and patience (gr argh).

My suggestion to add is using Gumtree and second hand stores for household items and furniture. I've moved a lot and it's been a relief to always get what I need at an affordable price pretty much everywhere. It helps me not become snobby about the decor too, haha. Eclectic is a valid style choice, right?