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Five simple ways to make every dollar count

No need to turn the couch upside-down to find some extra change. Rather than counting every dollar, make every dollar count.    

1. Pay bills in full
Paying bills in fortnightly or monthly installments can be a good way to cope with financial stress without having to break the bank. However, most companies will offer a cheaper rate if you pay your bills in a lump sum.

Squirreling away smaller chunks of money into a high-interest, low-fee savings account throughout the year is a great way to prepare you for those large bills so that you’ll be able to pay them in full without having to lose out on anything.

2. Consider using direct debits
Setting up a direct debit takes the stress out of managing recurring bills by automating payments to a designated service provider.
By paying either fixed or flexible amounts, your bills will always be paid on time, saving you from potential late fees.

Businesses will also offer discounts or incentives to encourage you to set up a direct debit account, potentially giving you another avenue for saving money.
However, it’s important that you check your bills before a withdrawal is made to make sure that they are correct and you have enough to cover them. Otherwise you risk facing overdraft fees from the service provider and possibly your bank. 

Before you set up a direct debit, make sure you trust the business and know how to cancel it in case the need arises.

3. Take regular stock of your fridge and pantry
Whether it’s in the brand, excess items, impulse buys, or routine purchases, you’re sure to find your grocery bill riddled with hidden savings.
Doing your best to use up everything you already have (particularly perishables) before shopping again is a great way to reduce your grocery bill. If there are still things you need, write down a list before you go out and stick to it.

A good way to cut down on buying too much food is to do a meal plan at the beginning of the week so you have a clear idea of what you need and how much.

Preparing meals or perishables after a shop and freezing them is another great way to ensure your food lasts longer. And if nothing else, you can always freeze good old leftovers.

Better still, there are usually coupons at the end of your receipt which can add to your savings in your next shop.

4. Take advantage of coupons and senior discounts
You can find discounts for older adults almost anywhere – from public transport, to recreational activities, hotels and restaurants – often advertised as a ‘concession’ or ‘senior discount’. And even where one isn’t visibly available, there’s no harm in asking for a cheeky 10 per cent off.

Applying coupons can also help you recoup anywhere from 10-50 per cent off your purchase.

While they might only be small savings in the short term, regular use will soon lead to much more meaningful sums which you could potentially put towards bills or treating yourself.

5. Decluttering your life (and your finances)
There’s nothing like the feeling of sitting in the sun with a cup of coffee and a magazine or newspaper in hand. And their arrival can be something to look forward to. But often we get that same material and put it aside, telling ourselves we’ll come back to it later.

Cancelling your subscriptions could help you save around $50 or more a year, and with so much content available on the internet, you won’t have to miss a thing.

Keep an eye on your television subscriptions and insurance coverage as well to make sure you’re not paying for unnecessary extras.