23 Jan 2024

Practical Money-Saving Tips for Tenants To Navigate Rising Living Costs

Are you feeling the pinch of rising living costs? You're not alone. As rental and utility costs continue to climb, finding effective ways to manage your finances becomes crucial.

In this guide, we'll dive into practical ways to save money on your bills, along with additional tips to keep your overall spending in check. Whether you're a long-term tenant or just starting out, these strategies can help ease the financial squeeze and make your budget go further.

In the first section we’ll talk about how to save money at home with your utilities, then in the second section we’ve got some general money-saving tips to help in all areas of life.


Utility Saving Tips

1. Choose Energy-Efficient Appliances

One of the most effective ways to reduce energy consumption and lower your bills is by opting for energy-efficient appliances. Household appliances can account for up to 30% of your home energy use, so selecting energy-saving models can have a significant impact. 

Look for appliances with high Energy Rating Labels, as more stars indicate greater energy efficiency. Yes, there’s an initial investment to make but by replacing old, inefficient appliances with energy-efficient alternatives, you can save both energy and money in the long run.


2. Control Your Climate

Heating and cooling contribute to approximately 40% of home energy use. By making small adjustments to your thermostat settings, you can significantly reduce your energy consumption. 

During winter, set your heating thermostat between 18-20°C, and in summer, aim for 25-27°C for cooling. Every degree lower or higher than the recommended range can result in 5-10% more energy usage. 

Additionally, closing off unused rooms and shutting internal doors can help retain the desired temperature in the areas you frequent.


3. Opt for Fans Instead of Air-Conditioners

Ceiling or pedestal fans are more energy-efficient alternatives to air-conditioners. They consume minimal power, costing around one cent per hour of operation, and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions. 

If you don’t have ceiling fans, regular stand up fans are inexpensive and can make a huge difference to the temperature of a room.

Fans can help circulate air and improve the efficiency of air cooling systems. In winter, they can also be used to circulate hot air and enhance heating efficiency. 

By using fans strategically, you can reduce your reliance on air-conditioning and save on energy costs.


Minimise Standby Power Usage

Many appliances and gadgets continue to draw power even when not in use, resulting in standby power consumption that can account for 10% of your household electricity use. 

To combat this, make a habit of switching off appliances at the wall when they are not in use. 

Look out for devices with standby lights or clocks, as they indicate power usage. By eliminating standby power consumption, you can reduce your energy bills and contribute to a more sustainable lifestyle.


Optimise Fridge and Freezer Efficiency

Refrigeration units, such as fridges and freezers, are essential appliances in any household. However, they can consume a significant amount of energy if not used efficiently. 

Maintain the optimal temperature range of 3-5°C for your fridge and -15 to -18°C for your freezer. Every degree lower than the recommended range increases energy consumption by 5%. 

Additionally, regularly defrost your freezer and ensure there is proper ventilation by leaving a gap of 5-8 centimetres around the appliances. If you have an extra fridge for entertaining, only switch it on when necessary to conserve energy.


Adopt Water-Saving Habits

Water efficiency is crucial for reducing both your water bills and environmental impact. Consider purchasing water-efficient appliances and fixtures when replacing old ones. 

Look for the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) rating to identify water-saving options. Fix any leaking taps promptly, as a single drip per second can waste over 12,000 litres of water annually. 

Install aerators on taps to limit water flow and reduce consumption. Additionally, make a conscious effort to use water wisely in your garden by setting your mower to cut at a higher length and implementing efficient watering practices.


Switch to Energy-Efficient Lighting

Lighting accounts for approximately 10% of home energy use. By transitioning to energy-efficient lighting options, such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs), you can cut your lighting costs in half. 

CFLs use only 20% of the energy consumed by traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 10 times longer. Consider replacing outdated incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs to achieve significant energy savings in your rental property.


Communicate with Your Landlord or Property Manager

When it comes to making sustainable improvements or modifications to your rental property, it is essential to communicate and seek permission from your landlord or property manager. 

They may even be open to paying for some of the suggestions we’ve outlined, such as upgrading their lighting.

Familiarise yourself with the relevant tenant laws in your state or territory to understand your rights and responsibilities. 

Discuss any potential repairs, servicing, or energy-saving initiatives with your landlord or property manager, highlighting the potential benefits such as increased property value.


General Money-Saving Tips

Beyond managing utility costs, there are numerous other ways to save money in your daily life. These general tips can help you further reduce expenses and enhance your financial well-being.

Track Your Spending

Begin by keeping a detailed record of your daily expenses. You might be surprised to discover how much small purchases, like your daily coffee or takeout lunches, add up over a month.

Utilise budgeting apps or simple spreadsheets to track your spending. This awareness is the first step in managing your finances more effectively.



After understanding your spending habits, create a budget. For instance, if you find you're spending too much on entertainment or dining out, set a limit in these categories. 

Budgeting techniques like the 50/30/20 rule can be helpful. This rule involves dividing your income into 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings and debt repayment. 

Remember, a budget is not set in stone; it should be flexible and adapt to changes in your financial situation.


Meal Planning and Cooking at Home

If you're spending a lot on lunches or eating out, start meal prepping. Plan your meals for the week and cook at home. This not only saves money but is often healthier. 

Bulk buying ingredients and using leftovers creatively can further reduce food costs. Plus, home-cooked meals can be just as delicious as restaurant food with the right recipes!


Reducing Transportation Costs

Look at your transportation expenses. Are you using your car for short trips that could be walked or cycled? 

Opting for public transport, carpooling, biking, or walking instead of driving every day can significantly cut down on costs. 

Plus, using public transport can be a great opportunity to catch up on reading or podcasts.


Shop Smart

Smart shopping is about making informed choices. If you tend to make impulse buys, try making a shopping list and sticking to it. 

Take advantage of sales, use coupons, and consider generic brands over name brands. This mindful approach to shopping can make a big difference in your budget.


Cut Down on Subscriptions and Memberships

Evaluate your subscriptions and memberships – are you really using all of them? 

For instance, if you have a gym membership but prefer running outdoors, it might be time to cancel it. 

Similarly, if there are streaming services you rarely use, consider unsubscribing. This can free up a surprising amount of money each month.


By incorporating these relatable and practical tips into your daily routine, you can make significant strides in managing your finances. It's all about being mindful of where your money goes and making small, consistent changes. Happy savings!


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