Tips to tackle the cost of living

The cost of living is continuing to rise and with everything from mortgage rates to grocery prices and energy bills going up, more students are under financial pressure. 

Here are some quick ways to reduce the cost of living, stay on top of spending and bills and get help if you’re struggling with money.

Reduce your grocery bills

  • Plan ahead – plan meals weekly (including lunches and snacks), so you only buy what you need.
  • Buy on special – look for cheaper home or own brands and buy frozen vegetables.
  • Compare unit prices – look out for the unit price (e.g. price per 100g). This makes it easier to compare the price and value of similar products.
  • Go seasonal – shop at your local fresh markets or grocers.
  • Eat less meat – plan some meat-free meals or buy your meat when it’s marked down.
  • Buy in bulk – buy staples (like rice, oats, flour) when they’re on sale.
  • Grow it yourself!

Shop around for better deals

  • Electricity – compare energy suppliers to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Use the Government’s Energy Made Easy website or Victorian Energy Compare, if you’re in Victoria.
  • Insurance – compare premiums with other providers. You could get a discount if your policies are grouped together or you may be offered an incentive to stay with your current insurer. For more tips see choosing car insurance or home insurance.
  • Internet and phone – review your monthly usage over a 12-month period and look for a plan that best suits your needs. You could be paying for more than you use, so there may be cheaper options.

Other tips

  • Make a budget – by planning ahead and knowing your income and expenditures, you can keep track of upcoming bills and track your savings and spending.
  • Think about debt – before diving into debt with Afterpay, Zippay or any other quick credit option, really think about the impact this debt would have on you and your capacity to pay back this dept.
  • Smooth out your big bills – bill smoothing is offered by many utility companies, allowing you to pay a regular amount on your bills, rather that receiving unexpectedly high bills at peak periods.
  • Access local emergency relief – you may be able to access help from your local emergency relief organisations for assistance like food items or vouchers. Check Ask Izzy for your local service.
  • Cancel unused or services or direct debits – often we forget about these costs until we have been charged. Check your statements and cancel those subscriptions you no longer use.

Support at La Trobe

For more tips on how to save money, help with budgets or advice on bills, contact the Financial Counselling team at La Trobe University: