How to have champagne taste on a beer budget
Living the high life on a modern budget can be hard work – and if it comes to choosing between your day at the spa and paying the electricity bill, we all know which has to go. Or does it? Take a look at how you can keep enjoying life’s little luxuries without breaking the bank.
These days, ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ can be really hard work! There’s the caviar, the Ferrari, the Gucci shoes, the villa in Tuscany, the yacht, the personal tennis coach … and by the time we’ve got all that sorted out, finding a bit of cash to pay the bills can be a serious pain in the neck! All right, we might not need to go quite that far in our quest to live the good life, but there’s no denying that having a few little luxuries makes everything more fun. But with the cost of living in Australia on a continual upward spiral, families are searching for new ways to stretch their dollars further – and many are resigned to the fact that they have to make some sacrifices, and give up a lot of the things that really make life worth living.
Or do they? The recent rise in popularity of coupon websites in Australia is proving that it really can be possible to satisfy your taste for the finer things in life and stick to a budget at the same time.
Once confined to shop-a-dockets, voucher books and specialised ‘rewards’ programs, coupons and discount sites are becoming increasingly common – in fact, the market is the fastest-growing sector in online retailing, with one site ranking in Australia’s top 10 online retailers this year.
And what are they offering? Well, you name it! Luxury dinners? There are coupons for that. Expensive beauty treatments? There are coupons for that too. Extreme adventures, holidays, wine, flowers, movie tickets (check out Just the Ticket), groceries (take a look at Off Your Trolley) … if you can think of it, chances are there’s a coupon for it.
As a nation, we’re not shy about internet shopping – online retail spending for 2010 totalled $19.3 billion, and trends suggest that this figure will increase to $33.3 billion by 2015. By now, ‘everyone’ knows that it’s possible to get a great deal online – but coupons remain underused in Australia. Now, as budgets get tighter and technology advances, thousands of Aussies are discovering that wanting to save and wanting to spoil yourself don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Coupons and discount sites can offer an amazing array of deals, but it’s still important to shop smart and ensure that you’re really getting value for your money. If you’re into saving money, tips like these are going to be just your thing!
Deal or no deal?
Just because it’s cheap doesn’t automatically make it a bargain. Take a good look at the quality of the item and be honest about how much you want it before you part with your cash. Remember that cost really isn’t everything – a slightly more expensive item you’ll use all the time is better value than a dirt cheap one you’ll ‘lose’ in the back of the cupboard in under a week.
Play the field
There are loads of voucher sites offering great deals everyday, and most are free to join. Your best saving possibilities will come from playing the field, so don’t limit yourself to just one. Register for all the sites offering the kinds of deals you’re interested in and enjoy the excitement of seeing what pops into your inbox each day!
Check the fine print
Make sure you understand the conditions of the deal before you hand over your cash. Some of the deals need to have a particular take-up before they become valid, others are only available for limited times or limited sessions – and there’s no point getting a bargain if you can’t use it.
When times are tight, our little luxuries are often the first things that have to go, and doing without just creates more stress for families that are already under pressure. That’s why these coupon deals can be so fantastic – they let us have a bit of luxury without spending a fortune to get it, which makes sticking to the rest of the budget much easier. So get online and get deal hunting – with a bit of savvy shopping you’ll be able to taste the good life and leave those Joneses in the dust!
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Tags:cost of living in australia, saving money tips, best saving
Analaura Luna is an author, wealth adviser and founder of Your Family Your Money. Your Family Your Money’s goal is to simplify traditionally complex financial strategies, demystify financial jargon and debunk common financial myths, becoming every family’s first stop for financial advice, information and inspiration.
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