The cost-saving measures that aren't worth it

We talk a lot about ways to save money here in the Community forum but not all cost saving attempts will achieve the desired effect.

Here is our advice on the corners not to cut:

What cost saving measures would you suggest avoiding?


Power saving gadgets which are nothing short of scams. Supposed to plug into a power point or switchboard, and by conditioning or making free energy, they reduce your power bill (Not!)


Ignore the cost saving on NBN when advertised by Whistleout and the like, unless you are prepared to swap every six months. These are only introductory prices and will increase by $20 or more when the honeymoon period is over.


Going the whole hog to grow your own or preserve.
I am talking here about starting a vegetable garden / orchard with all the bells & whistles to save on buying fresh produce in store.

Yes, you can do it on the cheap - repurposed tubs, homemade compost, hose, saved seed, cuttings etc.

But I have met people who have spent $100’s, if not $1,000 on raised wicking beds, imported soil, frames, irrigation systems, mulch, seedlings and advanced trees. Invariably these produce at the same time the commercial guys do, so most will be in plentiful supply at lower prices in the shops.

I have been guilty of this - I usually grow my tomatoes from saved seed, but decided to buy seedlings. $3.99 and I got average 2 medium tomatoes each. Toms were $2.50/kg in the shop. Similarly with strawberry seedlings - $4.99 each with a few each week (although they will produce runners and give me another plant or two) with Strawberries $4/kg in the shop. Neither paid for themselves.

Also met someone who had spent up big on preserving (bottling) plant and vacuum sealers, never having done this before. The idea being to bulk buy produce in season, peel, cut etc and either seal into plastic bags, or bottle for later use. The initial outlay was big and relied on planning and dedication to spend hours in the kitchen, and then remember to use the produce during the year to free up bottles for more preserving. Add to that the power required for sterilising, preserving, shelf space for 100 bottles, and waste plastic. Better to just buy what is in season.


Agreed. All that is false economy especially for we singles. Unless you really enjoy veg gardening, don’t bother. Wouldn’t mind the odd fruit tree though, but the cockies and lorikeets would have their way with it before I’d get a look-in.


Unless you are very clever at keeping down the cost of inputs and don’t count your labour you cannot save much growing your own fruit and veg. I do it for choice, quality and freshness and I don’t have too many capital costs like new garden beds or equipment to defray.

I do bottle fruit and make jam and marmalade, which is slightly more net value as I don’t buy them, when you have 100kg of plums or pears you have to do something with them and the old Fowlers kit is used. It does take some time but the result will last for years. I don’t know how the final cost compares to store bought, it would depend on the hourly rate I charge myself I suppose. I bought my gear at country auctions for $2 for a box of bottles not $10 each.

By all means grow you own for pleasure of the process and the outcome but don’t assume you will also save money. You may get the priceless pleasure of genuinely fresh asparagus or the perfect tree-ripened peach - which you cannot buy commercially.