Thanks to the wonders of the world wide web, cutting down on your spending is easier than ever. Yes, with just a few smart, savvy spending tweaks, you can boost your bank balance and keep your soy latte habit. So, how does it work? Keep reading to discover all the ways the web can help you save money.
1. Beauty products
While it can be hard to resist the sweet marshmallow scent of MOR’s popular body scrub, one jar will set you back a cool $40. Happily, the web is teeming with DIY skin care recipes you can make from the luxury of your flat, at a fraction of the cost. That’s the good news. The even better news is there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a newbie or an expert. To get started, head to Pinterest and search for terms such as “DIY moisturiser recipe” and “DIY scrub recipe.” Or try the same search terms on YouTube for video tutorials.
2. Gym memberships
Remember that Friends episode where Ross takes Chandler to the gym to lend moral support as Chandler tries to cancel his membership? Well, if you want to save money, you’re going to need to find yourself a Ross and do the same. The web has hundreds of free or cheap resources that will help you create new exercise routines. For starters, YouTube has thousands of video guides that talk you through everything from dance classes to yoga stretches. Then there are free apps such as 7 Minute Workout that offer HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routines guaranteed to make you break into a sweat. Finally, there are fitness gurus such as Kayla Itsines and Blogilates that work to motivate you, empower you and get you moving, all at once.
3. Books, music, movies and mags
You might be a culture vulture of the best kind, but that doesn’t mean you have to go broke while indulging your passion. Avid readers should bookmark Project Gutenberg, stat. Here, you can find more than 50,000 free e-books, ready for download at the tap of a button. That should keep you busy for a while. Music-lovers, rejoice. Between Spotify and SoundCloud, your ears will never be without a free tune (or two). Movie buffers can head to YouTube Movies for hundreds of free or cheap movies, ready to stream. (You’ll be especially pleased if you love a classic Hitchcock or a moving documentary.) And for old-school magazine fiends, your local library should be able to hook you up with an app through which you can download the latest issues of magazines, as long as you’re a library member. Done!
Whether you love them or hate them, ride-sharing services have disrupted the auto industry, and they’re here to stay. That’s no big secret. What might surprise you is the benefits of giving up your car and using services such as Uber, Taxify and Shebah as your primary mode of transport. (Maybe with some public transportation thrown in for good measure.) Between insurance, petrol, and maintenance, the overall cost of owning and running for the average Australian is $207.84 a week. If you do the sums, you may find that ditching your car for good and putting that money towards ride-sharing and public transport is your best bet. (Bonus: You’ll be doing your bit for the environment, too.)
5. Bank fees
It might shock you to hear, but according to research, Australians pay almost $800 million a year in ATM withdrawal fees. Worse, many of these charges are entirely unnecessary. If you find yourself paying hefty fees, take a look at the ways you can save. If you’re signed up to online banking, you should be able to set up automatic bill payments or monthly reminders to ensure you don’t pay late fees. If your bank charges for paper statements, make sure you set up email statements. Also, if you find yourself regularly using ATMs that don’t belong to your bank, you’re probably incurring a fee – sometimes up to $3 a transaction. Try to plan ahead to avoid these unnecessary fees for good. Finally, have you heard about online-only bank accounts? Typically, they’re savings accounts that offer no fees and higher interest rates. The catch? You can’t go into a bank branch and have face-to-face customer service contact regarding that account. If that doesn’t faze you, it might be worth signing up to an online-only account and taking advantage of the offer.