Trying to save, but don’t know where to start? At Freedom Aged Care, we know it can be challenging to stick to a budget, so we have collated a few tips and hacks on the best deals and budget options for seniors.
Firstly, we recommend keeping track of your finances with the free budget planner provided by the Australian Government. Sign up to MoneySmart to use the budget calculator, which allows you to save and amend your budget. You can also export your results into an Excel budget spreadsheet for convenience.
Best budget meals
Consider meals you can buy in bulk, and store in Tupperware to eat over time. Meal options like chicken soup, vegetable stews, beef lasagnes are some examples of delicious lunch and dinner ideas that don’t poke holes in the pocket, but keep your tummy filled.
For fresh food meal ideas, Coles offers $10 Feed my Family recipes. While these meals may be a little over $10, due to the cost of things like condiments, if you are actually only cooking for one or two people they can be frozen and eaten over the next week. Alternatively, if you are currently at one of our Freedom communities, you could start a meal share with fellow residents. Whether it be once a week or every night, this will cut down your shopping list and time spent cooking. So, why not create a rota and share the cost of meals, the responsibility of cooking, the joys of eating and the opportunities for endless dinner parties?
You can also always eat the meals created fresh onsite at our Freedom communities, read all about our fresh and nutritious meals here.
Best budget supermarket
When you go to the supermarket it’s best to shop once a week to avoid those tempting impulse buys. We recommend Aldi for your budget friendly weekly shop, which has been elected by Choice.com.au as the most affordable supermarket for groceries in 2017.
Best budget clothes
Completely on trend, thrift stores are taking Australia by storm with their affordable clothing prices and support of worthwhile organisations. These treasure trove shops are a great opportunity to support the community and fill your wardrobe.
Best mobile plan
For those who are looking for the best price, Jeenee Mobile offers sim packs at $9.90 a month (+ $10 setup fee) with 1GB data a month depending on the contract, unlimited calls and texts. Set up direct debit and pay on the month-to-month plan.
Best internet and landline plan
TPG offers a no lock in contract ADSL2 + at $49.99 a month with unlimited calls within Australia and just 20GB of data for those who aren’t big internet enthusiasts. For those who need unlimited data, Optus offers a $60 a month deal (with calling packs for an additional $5 a month).
Best landline plans
For anyone who doesn’t need internet, Telstra offers pensioner discounts for landline phones. Visit a Telstra store or call them on 132200 to make further enquiries.
Best energy saving initiatives
Those dreaded energy bills really eat into the savings, so we have listed a few suggestions on how you can minimise your gas and electricity bills:
• Use energy saving lightbulbs
• Turn the lights off when you exit a room
• Use an electric kettle rather than a stove and only fill it with the amount of water you need
• Put the lids on pots to reduce time cooking
• Only run the washing machine on a full load
• Hang clothes out to dry rather than using a clothes dryer
• Use water wisely when bathing and doing the dishes
• Switch off appliances at the wall
A recent survey has shown that the average Australian spends 40% of their energy bills on heating and cooling their place of residence. Here are our top four tips to best manage those hot summers and cool winters:
• Use a fan or ceiling fan over air conditioning where possible
• Only heat or cool rooms that you are using
• When heating a room, close all the doors and windows
• Set your heating and cooling to a specific temperature as every degree above 20℃ can add 10% to your heating bill and every degree below 24℃ uses 5% more energy.
We hope that the above budgeting tools will help you to stick to your budget and allow you to continue to live your life to the fullest.