Kylie Travers, a mother from Melbourne, has always been enamoured with money. However, it was not until she got liberated from an abusive relationship that left her homeless that she really was able to appreciate its value.
Fortunately, Travers managed to turn her fortunes around. Even better, she became a finalist for the Young Australian of the Year award in 2015 after she spent time volunteering with the homeless and eventually starting her own business called Occasion Enterprises.
Travers has also been blogging since 2009 and she often shares her money saving and financial tips with others through her blog, The Thrifty Issue.
In reports, she has claimed to spend less than $50 on groceries and also ran up an electricity bill amounting to just $60, during the winter.
Even with a business of her own on top of being an author, Travers said that she still manages to save money, all while feeding her family of three.
“Even when times where really tight I managed to limit my grocery spend,” Travers said.
What’s her secret? Buying in bulk, staying away from the big supermarkets as much as possible and following a couple of other foolproof hacks.
“Don’t eat processed food — stick to fresh fruit and veggies rather than chips and other packaged snacks for school lunches,” Travers recommended.
“And never shop when you’re hungry, and do your shopping without the kids, as they tend to wear you down.”
One of Traver’s top savings tips was doing your shopping right just before closing time, when prices are often pulled down in an effort to clear out the racks.
“Shop at places like markets and butcher’s right when they are about to close, when everything is reduced drastically,” Travers proposed.
Travers said she usually shopped at Aldi, as there was a “huge price difference” as opposed to other shopping centres.
But for those who do opt to do their shopping at the likes of Coles and Woolworths on a regular basis, Travers recommended alternating your shopping between the two to make use of loyalty programs such as FlyBuys and Everyday Rewards.
“You’ll get the same amount of points, but better offers,” she said, explaining that since supermarkets monitor our spending habits — and the more you spend in one store, the more you’ll then have to spend to get the best rewards.
The smart shopper of a mum also told shoppers to look at the unit price to avoid falling for “fake sales”.
“Often things are ‘on sale’, but it’s not a real sale — there might be a ‘buy one get one free’ offer, but when you look underneath, there’s often not that big a saving,” she said.
“And remember to track your points if you have FlyBuys, but don’t go chasing them, unless it’s something you were going to buy anyway.”
Travers has also been successful in keeping her family’s electricity bill to roughly $60 per month — an achievement she has had for many, many years.
“Even when I had seven people in the house I still managed to have relatively low bills, even when using heating or the dryer,” Travers said.
“Make sure everything in your home is energy efficient. Older heaters absolutely suck the energy compared to newer reverse-cycle heaters which use nowhere near as much.
“And instead of turning the heat up to 25 degrees, put on your dressing gown and ugg boots. The same goes for your bed — opt for flannelette sheets and blankets. It’s about layering up instead of automatically pumping up the heater.”
Travers also cooks in bulk rather than turning her stove and oven on and off a number of times, and charges electronics only when it is really needed, instead of leaving them to charge through the night.
All appliances in her home are turned off when not in use and she makes sure to use a clothes rack as opposed to relying on a clothes dryer every time — and when she does use a dryer, she throws in a dry hand towel or a wool dryer ball to help dry her laundry faster.