10 Tips to Combat the Cost of Living

Post by Open Colleges on October 11th, 2022

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, you’re not alone. The price of food, gas, petrol, and rent have skyrocketed. This is due to the inflation rate rising to 6.1 per cent in June – a 21-year high. An estimated 850,000 Australians have had to move back home with their parents to escape the ballooning cost of living.

There’s no doubt about it - Australia is in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.

If you’re struggling financially, we have some practical and realistic tips to help you save.

Fugly Fruit 

We throw away 3.1 million tonnes of food every year in Australia! Want another shocking statistic? Up to 25 per cent of all Australian produce doesn’t even leave the farm due to their imperfect appearance. What a waste!

Good & Fugly is a newly launched Australian delivery service that rescues wonky, quirky, and misshaped fruit and vegetables. These fugly foods are packaged into seasonal boxes and shipped directly from farmers to your door.

Each box feeds at least 1-2 people a week and aims to fight food wastage. Check them out here: https://goodandfugly.com.au/

SuperCook app

The popular Supercook app is one of the best ways to reduce food waste in your home. It finds recipes that use as many of your ingredients as possible, so nothing goes to waste! In Australia, 7.6 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted every year, and 70% of it is still perfectly edible. In fact, food wastage costs the average household $2,000 to $2,500 per year. So, download the app today and save.  

Community Pantry’s

You might not be aware of community pantry’s – we weren’t! A Community pantry allows anyone who needs assistance to put food on their table. Many Community pantry’s partner with businesses from their local communities who provide them with fresh fruits and vegetables. As well as canned foods, bread, school lunch items, kid’s treats, water and other necessities.

Simply Google, “Community Pantry’s in my area.”

Or check out: Community Pantry at Anglicare Op Shops


There are also Mobile Community Pantry’s who are in partnership with local churches. They visit certain locations on a fortnightly basis. Check out this website to find the one closest to your locations:

Mobile Community Pantry | Food Van & Support | Anglicare

Government Benefits & Vouchers

There are a wide variety of benefits available through Services Australia for eligible claimants. 

Different states and territories have also announced a range of travel and discovery vouchers to encourage people to spend locally, so check out your local Service Apps to see what you might be eligible for.

For Victorians: The Victorian Dining and Entertainment Program means that you can claim 25% cash back when you spend $40 or more.


Fuel apps for the win

Fuel price apps can help you find the cheapest petrol anywhere in Australia. They provide up-to-date petrol prices across states, territories and in some cases, the entire country. A fuel app can save you big at the bowser.

Download the Compare the Market Fuel app today.  

Ask for help from Service Providers

There are free resources and services that can help you if you’re feeling overwhelmed with bills.

The National Debt Helpline offers free, confidential financial counselling to help people manage their debts and get their finances back under control. Contact them via their website at ndh.org.au 

If you're struggling to keep up with utility bills, have a chat to the company billing you. Many of these companies have hardship policies. Explain your situation and see if they can help you by setting up a payment plan or giving you an extension to pay.

Vouchers are your new best friend

You’d be surprised how many online stores offer secret discounts. So before confirming any online transaction, look up voucher code websites. You can save big on beauty, wellness, restaurants and much more!  

Leave items in your online shopping cart

Speaking of online shopping, if you can’t find a voucher, try this instead: Add your items to cart and leave it there for 24 hours. Often, when retailers see you've got something in your cart that you haven't yet paid for, they'll send you a discount code to lock in the sale.


Food swaps

Food Swaps are local gatherings where people swap excess homegrown produce and gardening extras. The idea is simple: Place your item on the table to swap for another. There is no monetary value put on items, no matter what it is. The only rule is that any item placed on the swap table must come from your land or your hand.

Check out https://localfoodconnect.org.au/food-swaps/

Costco won't cost you

Costco is a membership warehouse dedicated to providing the best products for the best possible prices. Consider splitting the membership fee with a friend or family member and take advantage of the superstore’s huge discounts of food and pantry items. Costco is infamous for their ‘bulk buys,’ where you can get a lower price per unit on many food items. Buying in bulk will almost always save you time and money.

It can also help you to meal prep, which might stop you from spending money on take-aways. You might even consider pickling your produce! Pickling extends the shelf life of food to reduce wastage and save you money.

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