Money-672x372Meet Elizabeth. Elizabeth doesn’t buy expensive things. She’s pretty good at keeping a lid on any big expenses. She doesn’t take regular holidays or buy big plasma televisions on a whim. But at the end of every year she notices she has spent a lot more money than she can account for. Elizabeth is left wondering, “Where did all my money go?”

If the above scenario sounds like you, it’s time to get a clear picture on where you’re spending your hard earned cash. Once you know where your money is going you can make adjustments to reduce your expenses. Here we take a look at some of Elizabeth’s recurring expenses and how she could cut back to save.

Driving to work

Elizabeth drives from Wollongong to Sydney in her medium sized vehicle. The return trip is about 160km. Using an online petrol cost calculator, she is spending $107.10 per week commuting to work (based on NRMA’s average petrol price of $1.205 per litre for Wollongong). At the end of the year Elizabeth will have spent $5,569.20 on petrol alone. According to the Sydney Trains fare calculator, Elizabeth could catch the train to work for around $83 per week. A cost saving of just over $1,250 per year, not including the cost savings associated with maintaining her vehicle.

Morning coffee

At around 10am every weekday morning, Elizabeth heads to the local coffee shop to purchase her daily dose of caffeine. She spends $3.35 per day (based on the takeaway cappuccino price index for Sydney). Whilst Elizabeth doesn’t think this is much to spend, if she purchased a coffee every work day she would spend $871 a year. And this isn’t taking into account the days when she needs an extra caffeine boost and buys a second cup in the afternoon. The idea of an instant coffee from the office does not appeal to Elizabeth. But if she cuts back to only treating herself every second day she could save $348.40 per year.


Like most people, Elizabeth enjoys going to the movies and eating out with friends. Elizabeth doesn’t see the harm in doing these things every week as she chooses low cost options. Her local Hoyts cinema offers $12.90 tickets and her dinner is usually under $30. What Elizabeth doesn’t realise is that if she goes to dinner and a movie every week she’s spending $2,230.80 a year. Elizabeth could save by reducing the number of times she goes out. By dining out fortnightly rather than weekly Elizabeth could save over $1,000 per year and still enjoy socialising with friends.

Just by reviewing these three areas of her expenses, and making small adjustments, Elizabeth could save over $2,600 per year. Given that Elizabeth is saving up for a deposit on her first home, that’s a nice little addition to her kitty.

Are you looking to purchase your first home?

Speak to one of our mortgage brokers today about finding a home loan that’s right for you. Call 1800 888 845 or enquire online.