Author: Mr & Mrs DDU.
Accommodation – living in the 70s
Where people live is usually their biggest expense. At the moment, we are spending around 20% of our annual income on rent. All Australians can understand that finding good value accommodation is very difficult.
We live on the edge of our city, in a place that was built in the 70s and still has lots of the wonderful features such as orange carpets, an orange kitchen bench and lovely yellow glass. It doesn’t have air conditioning (not fun in the Australian summer) and the kitchen is tiny.
We can afford a better, more modern place that’s closer to the city, but we live near the train station and the combination of compromises means we are saving literally thousands of dollars every year.
Transport – 1 car family
Cars are expensive. The petrol, registration and insurance alone annually would probably cost Mr DDU double what his annual public transport fee costs to use the train to get to work. But of course, the biggest expense is the deprecation of the car – even if we were to buy with cash, if we bought with a loan it would be even worse.
We plan on only having 1 car for the rest of lives, which saves us several car purchases over our lifetimes.
By only having 1 car and Mr DDU using public transport to get to work, we are saving thousands every year.
Food – Aldi
There is more to food than just how much it costs of course. FIRE shouldn’t influence anyone to eat like a college student just having ramen noodles or baked beans on toast every day. We want to eat healthily and we want good quality food for good value.
Australia is dominated by 2 large supermarket chains: Coles and Woolworths. A few years ago they had the biggest profit margins of any supermarket chain in the world. Australians didn’t really have much of a choice, the local supermarket was always a Coles or a Woolworths.
To us, it doesn’t matter if it’s a branded product or not. A brand just means it has more profit built into the price. If it’s a third cheaper at Aldi, just as good quality and (usually) made in Australia then that’s great for us and our budget. It’s just a piece of chicken, an apple or block of cheese. What’s the difference? What’s not to love?
Although Coles and Woolworths have reduced their prices recently, we still probably save at least 20% on each shop/item we buy at Aldi. If we had to briefly sum up a few tips on how we save on food shopping it would be:
- Make a weekly meal plan & shopping list before going shopping. Stick to only what’s on the list. Those extra little purchases cost our budget, and are exactly what the supermarket wants.
- Do 1 weekly shop. We save ourselves so much time and probably money too; there are less opportunities to pick up more random items.
- Buy as much as we can from Aldi, it’s nearly always the cheapest. Buy any extras needed from Coles/Woolworths/IGA.
People like to spend a lot of money on one fleeting experience then look for the next one. Don’t get us wrong, we want to spend a lot of our money on fun things and travelling once we reach Financial Independence, but we want to save as much money as we can until we get there.
We like to do a lot of things that don’t really cost us much, if anything. We like to go on walks on the beach (free), watch recorded movies from the TV (free ( apparently it’s an Australian thing)), go on road trips (only cost is petrol), play our Xbox together with games we already own (free).
We do spend money sometimes but we’re making a conscious choice to mostly do inexpensive things and funnel our money into saving and investing instead.
Like we mentioned with food, brands don’t really mean much to us, as long as the product is pretty good quality and good value.
We will happily buy things from Aldi, Best & Less, Kmart, IKEA, 2nd hand from Facebook groups etc. before looking at more expensive options if we can’t find what we’re looking for.
A hoodie, plates, a torch, baby things. Those are all things we’ve bought in the last 2 or 3 weeks from one of the above shops and they’re great quality. Products from more expensive shops are also good, but we’re trying to be bargain hunters at this point in our lives, Mrs DDU is awesome at finding us the best possible bargain.
All of the above choices probably save us at least around $7,500 to $10,000 a year, which can compound into big dollars over the years and decades ahead.
Our lives could probably be a little more comfortable (eg renting a house with air conditioning or a dishwasher) if we spent more, but we’re not missing out on much. The only thing we want is perhaps a portable air conditioner so our baby doesn’t have to suffer in 40C+ days.
What are some of the choices you make to save money?
Thanks for reading this article about our finance journey Down Under.
Onwards and upwards!