How to cut everyday expenses and save money

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You’ve probably noticed things like energy, groceries, and fuel have upped in price recently. You know it’s getting out of hand when the cost of necessities is climbing so high. Seriously, $10 for a toastie? They’re meant to be the cheap brekkie option. But how can you cut everyday expenses and save money with the cost of living on the rise?

Luckily for you, we’ve got some tips and tricks on how to reduce household expenses so you can save your hard-earned money.

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Why are household expenses so high in 2024?

You may have heard a finance-savvy parent or mate say that the cost of living is rising while our incomes stay the same. Our very own 2023 Swag Financial Behaviours study found that nearly 1 in 2 (46%) of Australians struggle to pay for regular expenses like rent and groceries before payday comes around.

When you’re trying to learn how to reduce household expenses, this can sound spooky for sure. But what does it mean?

Firstly, what is the cost of living? It sounds complicated, but don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you. In one sentence: it’s all about the average price of living necessities in comparison to wages.

Common household expenses include:

  • Housing 🏠
  • Utilities 💡
  • Food 🍔
  • Transportation 🚃
  • Education 📖
  • Health care 🩺
  • Insurance 📃

It’s normal to bite your nails thinking about all this. But there are easy ways to reduce your household costs while still enjoying life.

How much money can you save by reducing household expenses?

You might be surprised just how much money you can save through reducing household expenses. This varies from person to person, but assuming you’re an Aussie that eats, uses fuel and power, and has a social life, it’s likely there are many ways you can cut costs. 

Depending on how much you’re willing to change to impact your finances, you could save over one thousand dollars per year by learning how to reduce your household expenses.

This might sound like a life of staying home and eating boiled cabbage three times a day. But you don’t have to adopt the Bucket family diet to survive. The good news is – you can save money without making huge sacrifices! 

Swag Tip: Don’t make saving money harder than it needs to be. With Swag Stash accounts, you can ‘stash’ away a portion of your paycheck for household expenses like rent, fuel, and groceries. Once payday hits, the cash automatically goes into these accounts, so you don’t even have to think about it (and you won’t get hit with expensive late fees)!

10 ways to reduce household expenses and save money

1. Analyse your current living expenses

We’ll be the first to admit this doesn’t sound like the most fun task, but it is an important one. After all, how can you reduce household expenses if you don’t know how much they’re costing you? 

Open your Notes app, gather those bills, and let’s check out where your money is going each month. Are there any sneaky subscriptions you forgot about? Have you compared energy providers lately? Maybe you’re spending more on takeout than you realised (we’ve all been there!). 

By analysing your current expenses, you can look at where you might be overspending and find areas you can easily cut back on.

2. Create a monthly budget

If this isn’t your first rodeo, you’ll know that we’ve explored budgeting in a cost of living crisis before. Spending a small chunk of time crunching the numbers can really help to cut expenses and save money each week. This is key to consider when you’re considering how to reduce household expenses.

Here are three steps for creating a monthly budget to cut expenses without ripping your hair out (unless you want to add a haircut to your monthly expenses?):

  1. Budget your way. Find your favourite flavour of budgeting – maybe a classic paper notebook, a spreadsheet, or a banking/budgeting app on your phone? There is no right or wrong for this, just make sure you’re doing what is truly easiest for you. Don’t download an app because your fave influencer swears by it. Make sure it’s something you can stick with long term – making the budget is the easy part!
  2. Plug in those numbers. Get the numbers from your analysis and plug them in. Then have a serious think about how much you want to be spending. For example, if you’re spending more on movie tickets than rent every month, it might be time to reboot the old Netflix account for a night in with friends. 
  3. Give yourself a reality check. Sure, we’d all love to spend $10 a year on insurance, but unless your cover is for a Hot Wheels toy, you might struggle to make that a reality. Focus more closely on utilities and necessities, then look at your wants like eating out and entertainment. 

Really, you’d be surprised how easy it can be!

3. Invest in energy-efficient appliances to cut everyday expenses

Hear us out… energy-efficient appliances might be a little more costly in the initial purchase, but they’ll help you save money in the long run. We’re talking items like fridges, cars and heaters. Investing in these items is a long-term win for your wallet and the environment! Plus, many energy-efficient models come with rebates or tax incentives to help you cut expenses.

Swag Tip: Swag Bill Management aims to help you save money on regular bills like electricity, gas and even health insurance to help fight the cost of living. Set up Bill Management in the ‘Benefits’ tab of your Swag app, and you’ll be able to deduct your bill payments straight from your payslip. You’ll get $$$ off your recurring bills each month, and you’ll you never miss a payment (which means no late fees ever!) 

cut everyday expenses with Swag bill management

How does it work? We leverage the unique buying power of 2M+ Swag users to negotiate you the best deals from the big guys. These deals are exclusively for Swag users, and are designed to help you cut the cost of living.

4. Beware of credit card debt

Ah, credit cards. Every twenty-something Australian’s frenemy. They promise a beautiful future full of first class flights and caviar. Then reality kicks in and you’re taking on a side hustle just to cover the repayments. Our advice here is: read the fine print.

Swag Tip: Instead of a credit card, consider accessing a portion of your earned wages before payday with our Earned Wage Access product, InstaPay*. You can access up to $250 of your earned wages each pay cycle. Perfect for covering bills and unexpected expenses without going in to debt. Want to cut expenses? Swag an help with InstaPay, your pay on-demand.

How does it work? InstaPay is available to Swag users who work for a company that uses Employment Hero. You can request up to $250 of your earned wages on-demand, streamed into your bank account as soon as you’ve earned it. Since it’s your own money, there’s no credit, interest or hidden costs. Just one small drawdown fee capped at $4 (that’s less than a cup of coffee).** To learn more about InstaPay, head here.

If you already have a credit card that you’re struggling to pay off, we recommend talking to your bank about a game plan. Often, they can offer personalised advice and solutions to help you manage your unique situation without too much stress.

5. Forget the brand

We know old habits die hard, but this is a big one. You might be surprised how much you can save with generic versions of food, clothes and other household items. You’ll be even more surprised when you find out that most of the items are exactly the same without the expensive name attached. Don’t be scared to compare the prices across different stores, either!

Swag Tip: Have a brand that you just can’t give up? Use Swag App to earn up to 20% cashback on your favourite brands like Hello Fresh, The Iconic and Converse every single day. Want to cut expenses? Swag can help.

How does it work? Head to the ‘Benefits’ tab of the Swag app and select ‘Cashback’ from the top bar. Browse our featured offers or search for a particular retailer. Shop via the link provided, check out with any card and we’ll slip some cashback into your account. You can save 5-20% on leading retailers, and we’re always adding new brands to our list! That’s money back in your pocket, just for shopping 🤑. Nice!

6. Cut expenses by ditching unnecessary subscriptions

Take a look at your subscriptions and memberships when considering how to reduce household expenses. They eat up money in a real sneaky way. 

Remember that streaming service you put off cancelling in case you needed it one day? Well, cancel before it costs you big time. Be harsh: if you haven’t used a subscription in over a month, it might be time to wave goodbye.

save money and wave goodbye to unnecessary expenses

7. Reduce transportation costs

Think about using more public transportation, setting up a carpool crew with coworkers, or biking to get around. Not only will this save on fuel and parking fees, but less vehicles on the road means less traffic and emissions. 

This doesn’t have to be every day, either! Small and sustainable changes are the way to go. Maybe you choose Wednesdays and Fridays to be your public transport days. Even with just this, you’ll save more than you might realise.

8. Pay attention to how much energy you’re using

The great thing about reducing your energy bill is that it usually goes hand in hand with reducing your carbon footprint! This is especially important as Australia is one of the highest carbon polluting countries world-wide

Here’s how to reduce household expenses by lowering energy usage:

  • Turn off lights when you don’t need them and instead take advantage of natural light
  • Improve your home’s insulation
  • Unplug appliances not in use (phantom energy consumption is real!)
  • Air-dry your clothes instead of using a dryer
  • Use cold water for washing clothes and other items

Swag Tip: Even once you’ve reduced your energy use, you can still save more with 💰Swag Community Deals💰. With the buying power of 2m+ Swag users, we can negotiate the best price on big-ticket items like fuel and electricity. We work with employers around the world to lower the cost of living and make your pay go further. 

9. Shelf cooking

Have you heard the term ‘shelf cooking’ before? This is the concept of shopping for and cooking meals based on ingredients you already have on hand at home. 

It’s super easy, too – just make note of what’s already in your fridge, pantry and freezer before you pop out to buy the week’s groceries. This saves you wasting money on duplicates of items, and (you guessed it), reduces food waste as well. 

10. Is it a want or need?

Sometimes the difference between spending and saving is stopping to ask yourself: “Is this cost a want or a need?” 

When considering how to reduce household expenses, this could look like: “Is running the heater 24/7 in winter a want or need? Can I just chuck on some socks and a sweater instead?” 

How much money should you save for emergencies?

This is different for every individual, but the general recommendation is having three months worth of expenses saved up for any surprise sticky situations. This could be as simple as leaving your tax return untouched in a savings account until the time is right. However, this may be unrealistic for many Australians, so just save what you can manage. 


If you’re really struggling with a financial emergency, remember you don’t have to go through this alone. Below are some resources you can access in times of need: 

  • For free and confidential financial counselling, call the National Debt Helpline at 1800 007 007, Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • If you identify as First Nations, you can also call the Mob Strong Debt Helpline at 1800 808 488 for culturally sensitive support, Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • To discuss the mental and emotional impact of financial stress, contact Beyond Blue by calling 1300 22 46 36 or accessing their web chat service 24/7.

Stay consistent with saving habits

Consistency is key when learning how to reduce household expenses. By making saving a regular habit, whether it’s setting aside a portion of each paycheck or cutting back on unnecessary expenses, you can steadily build your savings over time. 

Establishing a routine and sticking to it, even when temptations arise, helps reinforce good financial habits. Small, consistent efforts add up over time and can help you achieve your  long-term savings goals. So, stay committed to your saving habits. You’ll reap the rewards in the future.

Swag Tip: If your employer uses Employment Hero, you’ll have access to Hero Points through the Swag app. Hero Points can be awarded for work milestones, birthdays, or a job well done.

How can I spend Hero Points? Spend them in the Swag store with discounts on gift cards or cash back from leading brands. You can even pay with Hero Points using your Swag Visa Debit card. The choice is yours!

Reduce expenses without changing your spending habits

With a little creative thinking, learning how to reduce your household expenses doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the things you love. In fact, it can be a rewarding challenge to find new ways to save money while still enjoying the lifestyle you desire.

There we have it! Reducing household expenses doesn’t have to be so intimidating – these little changes will all add up to more cash in your pocket each month. Whether you’re negotiating your water bill, finding new ways to get from place to place, or saving on groceries, every little bit counts.  

Save money with Swag 

With a world of benefits and earning potential, Swag can help you fight the current cost of living crisis. You can get paid, spend and save. All in one app. You can access your wages before payday, save more and unlock exclusive rewards to make your money go further. To see for yourself, download the Swag app today.

Cut expenses, save money and reduce household expenses with SWAG


The information in this article is current as at February 2024, and has been prepared by Employment Hero Pty Ltd (ABN 11 160 047 709) and its related bodies corporate (Employment Hero) for its Swag brand. The information in this article is general information provided in good faith without taking into account your personal circumstances, and financial situation or needs, and should not be relied on as professional advice. Some Information is based on data supplied by third parties and whilst such data is believed to be accurate, it has not been independently verified and no warranties are given that it is complete, accurate, up to date or fit for the purpose for which it is required. Employment Hero does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy in such data and is not liable for any loss or damages arising directly or indirectly as a result of reliance on, use of or inability to use any information provided in this article. You should undertake your own research and seek professional legal, financial and taxation advice before making any important decisions or solely relying on the information in this article.

* The InstaPay feature is available to employees of organisations using Employment Hero HR and connected Payroll. InstaPay Terms and Conditions can be found here. 

**Users pay a $3 fee to draw down an InstaPay amount into their Swag Spend account. Drawdowns into an external bank account incur a $4 fee.

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