How to sweat the small stuff, part 2

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In the previous part of this two-part series, we outlined some ways to save money on food and transportation when you're trying to maintain a budget. This time, we'll give you some handy advice for minimising your costs around utilities and shopping.

Without further ado...

Utilities

Utilities - such as electricity, gas and water - are some of the most significant household costs out there. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average Australian spent $39 a week on electricity and gas in 2012, and average weekly spending on this product went up in relation to income and wealth.

It's therefore time to be more vigilant about your energy use. That means turning your electrical equipment off the wall or even unplugging it when it's not being used, including the television and kitchen appliances. This will save more than you think, particularly overnight. You might also want to switch out your present light bulbs for energy efficient ones.

According to EnergyAustralia, 40 per cent of household energy use goes toward heating, so you should focus on minimising your need for it. This means drawing your curtains at night to keep the heat in, wearing warmer clothes and washing clothing items in cold, not warm, water.

As for water use, aim to have shorter showers - for the really hardy, having cold showers could be the trick to limiting your time here. Along with this, only use the dishwasher and washing machine when they have full loads.

If you diligently take these points on board, you'll soon find your monthly bills becomnig a smaller proportion of your budget.

Shopping

Going shopping can be a rapid drain on your bank account. Stores are set out and designed specifically to tempt you into buying more.

This will require some extra discipline. Only shop for the items you specifically need, and look around - most shops have websites so you can see their range of products and prices online before physically stepping into the store.

With clothing, buy clothes off-season, or even go to op-shops and second-hand stores - you'd be surprised at what some people throw away.

Remember that, in addition to making these savings, you'll need to organise your funds accordingly. MOVO's Goal Planner Tool can help you create a roadmap for your financial aims.