Share your best savings tips

Hi, We know that CHOICE Community members are savviest consumers in Australia - can you share your best savings tips with us so that other members can benefit?

Here are the Top 3 tips from CHOICE staff:
Washing machines - use only half the washing powder and you will still get a great wash
Groceries - buy a cheap slow cooker and you can make tasty stews and curries from cheap cuts of meat
Credit cards - call the card company shortly before the annual fee is due and threaten to cancel the card and they may waive the annual fee for you


Isn’t that what is usually called ‘business’ and the heart of the capitalist system? Time to again post the classic for the new members who have joined the .community since. The other videos on the site are equally compelling thought provokers about aspects of modern society.


Now THAT is a great idea! Wonder if it will work on mortgage accounts?


Subscribe to the Aldi online newsletter for a heads up on the Wednesday and Saturday specials . Needed some stainless steel mixing bowls recently . I knew they were on the Aldi’s special buy cycle . Purchased a set of 5 stainless steel mixing bowls ranging in size from 16 cm to 32 cm for $9.99 .

A friend wanted a cast iron skillet . Was going to pay $79 at a popular retailer . Told him to watch Aldi . Got the same size for $12.75 .

Just practice some patience and you will save . I don’t work for Aldi’s and really only go there for cooking utensils and the odd tool for the work shop . I recently purchased a a Torque wrench dirt cheap from them . Pays to watch their special buys .


We are on bottled gas. Originally we had two 45kg bottles with no rental charges. Now with rental of $30 per bottle ($60 pa on top of $260 pa for the gas) we have gone back to one bottle only. We use our 8.5kg BBQ bottle as the swap when we run out and save $30.
We only change a big bottle every 5-6 months.


Another way to save money is to look at the active ingredient and its concentration within a product.

For example, there are many nappy washing products available in the supermarket with have the same active ingredient but the unit cost varies significantly. If it is the same active ingredient, then using each product the results should be similar. Pick those products with the lower unit price for the same concentration of active ingredient.

Another is liquid handwash. There are other products available which can be used instead of the marketed handwash and have the same active ingredients and similar formation. We purchase liquid bubble bath and use it as a handwash as it has a unit price cheaper than the cheapest hand wash. For example:

Fun Time Kids Bubble Bath Space Bubbles 1L is $2.15


Essentials Handwash Crème Refill 500ml $1.40

The saving is about 25% and the bubble bath is as effective and ‘gentle’ as the liquid hand wash.


Been doing that for ages too :slight_smile:

I’ve been using Earth Choice dish tablets in the dishwasher after reading the Choice review, but after experimentation discovered that half a tablet works just as well as a full tablet, so now the cost of a wash is halved. The electricity is free as we are off-grid solar powered.


Even the ACCC might advise to buy things on sale.

I always try to keep 2 of many things in spare. I always buy on sale and follow prices so I know a great sale from a minimal sale, and buy those spares during great sales at the first great sale as soon as I am down to only 1 spare.

If it takes awhile for the sale prices to be offered I am good for weeks so it is never urgent to buy those products.

That way I am never caught out paying full price for products that are often on sale.


I dilute lots of things: diswashing liquid; shampoo; washing machine detergent. Works just as well as full strength.

  1. Buy meat on special and/or marked down. Eat top quality at bargain prices.
  2. Buy several of each grocery item when there is a great special.
  3. Change all lights to LED bulbs.
  4. Keep a full spare LPG bottle for the BBQ and the cooktop.
  5. Buy 1 L liquid soap refills to refill hand wash pumps.
  6. Buy 3 or 4 L Australian olive oils tins and refill your small olive oil bottles.
  7. Buy other brands of glyphosate concentrate instead of Roundup.
  8. But a pressure cooker for fast delicious meals in no time.
  9. Buy a Weber Q BBQ for fast, efficient outdoor cooking.
  10. Put the dishwasher through when it is full.
  11. Check the Sneak Peek Coles catalogue after 5:00 PM Monday to decide whether to shop Tuesday or Wednesday
  12. Check your local Supa IGA catalogue on Wednesday.

Same. Half an Earth Choice tablet works just fine. And we put the machine on ‘Quick 45 degrees wash’ which takes 30 minutes instead of 150 minutes. Try it. The dishes are spotless. It only goes on every two days.


I know this sounds like a sales pitch, but I’m a Flybuys member and it saves me about $20 a month off my groceries at Coles, where I only do about half my grocery shop.


The colder wash leaves many of our dishes still with marks. Our repairman advised using the hot wash cycle (Pro) as it cleans more effectively. But of course this is what works for us and others have different experiences. Perhaps try each cycle with similar loads and see which provides the cleaner outcome and then use that cycle as the preferred one. Wash patterns certainly vary between units and what may work in some may not be so good in others.

Buy bulk containers of the products you have room to store and then portion it out into smaller containers as needed. However don’t be caught out with the “buying in bulk/larger sizes is always cheaper” as it can clearly be noted that this is not always the case, so check the unit prices eg per 100g or 100ml to ensure you get the best deal you can.

When paying electricity, internet, phone and similar utility bills, mortgages, rent and other loans and bills try to pay a little more each time than the bill so that you build a little bit of credit. While this isn’t a saving in the sense of getting it cheaper, the credits can be used to help soften unexpected increases in costs, can make a little breathing space when things are tight. In the case of loans and mortgages it will save a bit of interest in the long term and may reduce the repay time substantially

If your State/Territory has a pre-payment scheme for registration this can help spread the bill out into more manageable portions than having a single big bill once or twice a year. In Qld this requires a payment of at least $40 each time you want to put some into the scheme but there is no set timing so you can pay as often or as little as suits your budget. In Qld the paperwork to register for this scheme can be obtained from a Post Office and can be returned to one to register, a card with a bar code will be sent out in the mail and you use this card to pay the amounts at any Qld Post Office (card takes about 4 to 6 weeks to arrive after the form has been lodged).

If a Pensioner/Health Care Card/Seniors Card holder look to what benefits you can get through your local, State and Federal Govts and businesses. This can be concessions on Transport, Motor Vehicle Registrations, Rates, Animal Registrations, some CC fees charged may be wiped, cheaper entry to events or movies, if with Telstra and a pensioner you can get the CC fee removed from your bill paying and you may be entitled to a $10 credit each month to help with making some phone calls, Electricity and Gas concessions, free glasses, free hearing aids if required or a voucher to use to reduce your private cost of hearing aids, cheaper (or free depending on your annual spend) medications, free or cheaper needles and some other diabetic supplies eg test strips. There are more available but don’t hesitate to ask if any business or service offers any reductions based on your having one of these cards.

If you are a member of some organisations such as Royal Automobile Clubs or Unions you can use their services to obtain some better deals eg if a Union member using the Union Shopper.


I agree with grahroll Bob, I have experimented with colder and shorter washes than our standard 61min hot wash, but they do not clean the dishes as well. Hot washes do not cost us any more than cold, as we have solar hot water and off-grid solar. The extra time taken over a 27 or 53min wash is not an issue.


Fred, I do most of those, though I don’t own a dishwasher. Re the olive oil: I buy 1 litre bottles and fill a 500ml bottle - lighter to pick up. But a larger amount is not a good idea, unless you really use a lot of oil. Probably OK if you can keep it in a cold, dark place, but it can go rancid if kept too long. Apparently you can’t always tell by the taste or smell.


Some more in-store specific tips for supermarket shopping.

  1. Check the “Use By” or “Best Before” dates on the particular items you want at the front and back of the shelf. Sometimes the items at the back are fresher as the staff have correctly stacked them and at other times they are not as the staff have failed to do it correctly or customers have provided a “free stock rotation”. Particularly important with dairy, meat and other short life items.
  2. Check the price sign on the shelf for items on special for the end date of the promotion which are usually displayed in the bottom right-hand corner, e.g., for items which went off special yesterday, the signage would usually show 04/09. If the store has failed to remove signage for expired specials, proceed to the checkout with the item for your ‘freebie”.
  3. Check the labels on pre-packed fresh food items to see if the unit price is correct. If it is higher than the current unit price, proceed to the checkout with the item for your “freebie”.
  4. When going through the standard or self-service checkouts, if you see that an item has scanned at a higher price than the shelf price, the catalogue price, an advertised price or any other currently promoted price, complete the transaction and then proceed to the service counter for your “freebie”.
  5. When you receive your receipt at the standard or self-service checkout, check every entry meticulously for any items higher than the shelf, catalogue or other advertised price. If unsure, go back into the store to check.
  6. If shopping at Coles, be sure to check out the seafood section in the deli department. They regularly have fantastic markdowns on Aussie, NZ, US, Canadian or South American seafood which they drastically discount on their advice that it has to be consumed within 24/48 hours and cannot ne refrozen, contrary to expert advice

2 posts were merged into an existing topic: How to haggle

We use our RACQ membership for petrol discounts at Puma Petrol. Unlike the supermarkets there is no need to spend anything to earn the discount. Fortunately the local Puma is usually cheapest before discount, and we don’t need to drive to the next town to find an alternative.

With our two personal vehicles long out of warranty we use an alternative mechanic (and get several quotes) to the dealers for major repairs. For servicing rather than the 6 month interval the vehicles are only serviced annually providing they have not exceeded the recommended distance between services. The only concession is to ensure the replacement engine oil supplied is suitable for the longer time interval. It’s the labour that is the major cost saved.

Note for any dealership work past experience is that for tyres, windscreens, brakes etc the work is typically passed out to another business to do. You pay twice. Once for say the tyres and tyre shops profits, a second time for the dealerships costs to pass the work on and the dealers margin added to that portion of the work done. If a dealer doing a routine service offers you new tyres because the inspection says they need replacing, it pays to ring around the tyre dealers and take it to one yourself. If you know the tyres are near worn out it is worth while keeping an eye out for specials on a full set of tyres. These often come with free follow up rotations and wear checks, something the dealers will always charge for at each service.


Love the credit card idea, but not so sure about the slow cooker. There are many ways of using cheap cuts and many ways of slow cooking, but in my book a cheap slow cooker is one that maintains perfect temperatures for breeding pathogens for hours before eventually boiling your food to death.