Now, I know living on $5,000 per year sounds like a joke, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Saving money is an art and Ilona Richards happens to be the Picasso of this art form - i.e. finding the lowest prices and living one of the most frugal lifestyles in Australia.
This money saving pensioner, known on the Internet as ´the superscrimper´, has certainly managed to find ways to add value to all her purchases that the rest of should learn from. So I've cherry picked the top 10 tips that Richards uses within her daily life to lower expenses and pay less for absolutely everything.
Firstly, I would like to say that while not all of her techniques are conventional ways of saving money, you shouldn't doubt whether they're possible or not. So, if you're interested in learning some new saving techniques this year or you're simply want to broaden your perspective on the ways to pay less for things, why not take it from the best of the best.
Saving Tip 1: Don’t use the Heater
Ilona understands that heating an entire room is much more expensive than simply heating our own bodies, so what she does is simply wear a few more layers of clothing. If she is watching TV she has a nice comfy blanket and her pet dog to keep her warm too.
Saving Tip 2: Cheap Hobbies
Hobbies don’t have to cost the earth and people who say that shopping is their hobby seriously need to consider why that’s the case - have the marketing departments of those companies really enriched your life that much? The price of gym memberships in the United States, for example, have pushed numerous people to resort to outside forms of exercise e.g. gym apparatus in parks or jogging. If you are not the physically active type then consider other hobbies such as board games, bird watching or volunteering for your local community.
Saving Tip 3: Drink Hot Drinks
Along with adding extra layers when it’s cold, Richards also consumes warm drinks to sustain heat. Inline with money saving she also doesn’t drink coffee or tea especially as the cost of buying those drinks at a café are incredibly overpriced compared to the value you receive. If you drink decaffeinated tea or coffee then a warm drink (e.g. heated fruit juice squash or hot water) can wake you up equally as effectively.
Saving Tip 4: Re-Use Dirty Water
Richards finds it difficult to justify the cost of a dishwasher as she lives alone. Thus, she washes her dishes in the sink and keeps the dirty water to complete other tasks around the house. One example being to use the water to wash the windows, as the washing up liquid in it gives a good clean. At other times she will use the dirty water to clean the car or flush the toilets.
Saving Tip 5: Shopping at Night
There are numerous ways to save money on your food shopping, as we have covered in many different ways on Buckscoop, but by incorporating the ‘use-by’ date and timing your shop well you can save money too. At most supermarkets, food gets substantially reduced in price when it gets close to its expiry. These items are usually put on the shelves after working hours between 5pm to 9pm to ensure they are bought. In true frugal fashion, you have to be prepared to take what’s on offer and not be too fussy. Remember, food can always be prepared and cooked in a number of ways to make it taste good, so don't let the sometimes limited choice on these shelves put you off.
Here's a tip, if you've only got a few ingredients in your fridge and find yourself stuck without ideas of how to cook them, check out www.supercook.com for inspiration (gives suggested recipes based on the produce in your fridge).
Saving Tip 6: Cut your own Hair
In the past I had very short hair, which required no more than a basic hair shaver to continue looking neat and tidy. The price I paid to buy one of these shavers at the supermarket was around $30, in comparison to the $35 that a barber would charge me for doing the same job just once. If you have a short or shaved hairstyle, this is by far the best value for money. However, with some practice, trimming your hair and tidying it up is no great ordeal and is certainly achievable (while saving you a small fortune over the years too).
Saving Tip 7: Children’s Toothbrushes
If you want to save money but still get the job done with equal effectiveness, buy a child’s toothbrush. They are generally cheaper than adult toothbrushes; the only difference is that they have a smaller head. The bristles are finer too so they are actually better at getting into small crevices. The only thing you need to change is the amount of time you brush for, add an extra 10 seconds onto each section due to having a smaller head.
Saving Tip 8: Gardening
If you are a keen gardener then you will know the importance of labelling your flowerbeds when seeding. Instead of forking out cash for little plastic labels at the gardening store to stick in the ground, re-use items around the house that you already own to save yourself money. A great example is margarine or a butter tub, the plastic colour is usually light and ideal for labelling. The plastic is also sturdy enough to serve its purpose outdoors in your flowerbed.
Saving Tip 9: Catching Rainwater
Catching rainwater is the cheapest possible way to water plants around the house and garden, whilst setting up the system for it isn’t costly either. Attaching a duct to the drainpipe taking water away from your roof is the ideal way to collect clean reusable water. The only cost is finding a water container, pipe and tap fitting to fit into your gutter system. Then all you need to do is allow gravity and mother nature do their work.
Saving Tip 10: Efficient Freezers
Freezers especially in the summer work very hard to remain cool and this can add to your electricity bill considerably over the course of one year. A great tip to keep the efficiency of your freezer at its optimum level is by keeping it full. An empty freezer will work twice as hard to keep cool compared to a full one. This is because the frozen items inside help regulate the inside temperature against the outside heat.
These tips are all regularly being put into practice by our notorious ‘superscripmer’. Although some may not suit your particular type of lifestyle, there is no rulebook about saving money so it's always worth exploring all avenues. If you are unable to put all of these money saving tips into effect, I hope that they have at least given you some inspiration and got you thinking about ways to implement more money saving tactics into your life.