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4 easy ways Aussie renters can save money

Small changes in daily routines can lead to serious savings.

Man holding rent money
More than half of renters have been slapped with an increase in their rent over the past 12 months, affecting Aussies who are already doing it tough. (Source: Getty) (Traceydee Photography via Getty Images)

The Aussie rental market has seen prices soar over the past few months and renters are looking for savvy ways to save.

The report from Compare the Market found that renters are now spending an average of $161 extra per month on rent, translating to an additional $1,932 per year.

The average Australian household is already grappling with the escalating cost of utilities, bills and groceries, and Compare the Market general manager of energy and utilities Anthony Fleming warned rising costs can have a significant impact on renters.

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"With the Reserve Bank of Australia raising the cash rate for the ninth consecutive time, many variable rate homeowners have had no choice but to pass on this cost to their tenants and increase their rent," Fleming said.

"Unless you can borrow from the Bank of Mum and Dad, these rental increases are really going to be felt across the board."

Fleming suggested that renters can keep costs down by making the following small changes around their homes.

1. Avoid washing clothes on hot cycles

Don't let your washing machine take you for a spin. Avoid washing clothes on hot cycles, as they can cost up to 85 per cent more in power bills than a cold wash.

"Opting for a quick cold wash can save you a ton of money in the long run," Fleming says, "and yes, your clothes will still be 'clean'. Just make sure to separate your clothes by fabric weights and colours."

Woman unloading dishwasher
You can cut down on the energy consumption of a dishwasher by using a cold wash, shorter cycle and ditching the dryer. (Source: Getty) (Olena Ivanova via Getty Images)

Additionally, instead of washing multiple small loads, wash a full load and ask roommates to contribute to the machine's capacity. For further savings, Fleming suggests hanging clothes outside on sunny days instead of using a dryer.

2. Use the dishwasher instead of hand washing dishes

People often don't realise using a dishwasher is actually more cost-effective than hand washing, especially when used fully loaded.

If looking to purchase a dishwasher, Fleming suggests it's worth paying a little more upfront to buy an energy-efficient appliance in order to save money long term.

"If your bank account will allow it, you should select a dishwasher with at least a 3.5-star Energy Rating as well as an easily accessible filter for regular maintenance," he says.

3. Use a fan instead of an air conditioner

It's no secret that electricity prices have soared to new heights, so now is the time to opt for using a fan during warmer weather rather than the air conditioner if you want to save on electricity bills. "It costs around 2 cents an hour to run a fan which is about 20 cents per day," Fleming says.

If you are using the air-con, however, consider setting the thermostat slightly higher. "You should ideally set the temperature around 25°C on warm days, but be aware that every degree cooler you set the temperature can increase your electricity costs by 10 per cent."

Woman in front of fan
Running the air-con on warm days may cost more than you think, which is why fans are a more cost-effective option. (Source: Getty) (fizkes via Getty Images)

Other factors that may impact your summer electricity bill include how often you run your air conditioner, the size of the unit relative to the space you're cooling and its energy efficiency rating. Fleming also suggests keeping cool by shutting blinds and curtains around your home.

4. Prep your meals

Don't let your money be eaten up. Meal prepping is an easy way to cut costs. According to a recent Compare the Market survey, the average Aussie spends $194.22 per week on groceries, but trolley totals vary anywhere from $80 to $300, depending on how often you eat out, and what meals you cook when you stay in.

"Meal prepping won't just save you money but will save you the brain power and effort it takes to make multiple meals by yourself," Fleming says. Buying in bulk, shopping for sales or splitting the shopping across supermarkets with the lowest prices are other ways of saving money.

Some tips for simplifying your meal prep:

  • Do a kitchen supply count

  • Make a list and stick to it

  • Try to focus on inexpensive items and foods you can incorporate into an array of meals

  • Peruse supermarket catalogues for specials and discounts

  • Buy frozen fruits and vegetables (which are usually cheaper than fresh)

  • Don't get sucked in to impulse buys at the checkout

Making small changes in daily routines can keep the cost of living down in the face of rising rental and household costs. By implementing these tips, renters can avoid putting pressure on their finances and save money in the long run.

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