• Everyday Expenses

It's tax return time and this year there are also the low and middle-income tax offset payment, so you might get up to $1080 extra in your refund. With that extra cash around, it's worthwhile thinking about how you can spend it on setting you up for a good year ahead. Here is our list of items you can buy to save you money in the next 12 months.

  1. Instant Pot

An instant pot is an all-in-one pressure cooker and slow cooker that's grown in popularity recently. Much like a slow cooker, you can buy cheaper cuts of meat, throw it all in, in the morning and come home to a delicious meal. It will also do rice and is great for cooking dried legumes. They cost around the $140

  1. Water Bottles

Australia spends about $600mil a year on bottled water, which is insane as our water is drinkable! Buy a nice water bottle. It will pay itself off quickly, and you'll be healthier for it.

  1. Coffee Machine

Australians love coffee. We spend $3.2 BILLION a year on takeaway coffee or about $1500 per person who buys takeaway coffee. It used to be true that coffee pods were very expensive compared to beans (this is still true if you're buying Nespresso pods). So, while pod machines were cheaper upfront, you ended up spending more in the long run. Now you can find pods at around the 40cents per pod mark, which is pretty much the same price as beans. So, at about $800 cheaper, it makes sense if you drink a lot of takeaway coffee to buy a pod machine. A home or office espresso pod machine will pay itself off in about 30 double shot flat whites.

  1. A Tent

Camping, especially with a family, is a much cheaper holiday than going to a hotel. You can stay in some pretty unique spots for $10-30 a night. You can visit places you wouldn't be able to in a hotel. You could camp directly on a beach or in a pristine national park. It costs a little bit to set you up (under $1000, cheaper second-hand), but you are sorted for 10-15 years after that.

  1. Rechargeable Batteries

Everything needs batteries these days, which can cause a dent in the budget and the environment. Rechargeable batteries used to suck, but they've come a long way, and the Panasonic Eneloop is the top of the pile, with an average battery life of 12 hrs, over an hour longer than the next closest. Panasonic batteries can be recharged over 500 times.

  1. Electricity Usage Monitor

These were all the rage a couple of years back but have dropped out of popularity. For about $125, you can see how much power you are using in real-time. Work out which appliances are using power while they're just sitting there doing nothing or how many things the kids have on.

  1. Electric Toothbrush

Dental work is expensive; a filling is about $300, and a crown is $1200. Electric toothbrushes work much better than manual toothbrushes. Save yourself a fortune a brush your teeth quickly and efficiently.

  1. Buy insurance for the year

If you buy insurance monthly, you'll generally pay about 8-10% more. It makes sense to renew your insurance policies annually if you have the cash from your refund. Keep your regular monthly payment ongoing into a savings account, so you have the money for next year.

  1. Get rid of small debts

If you have some small debts that can be cleared entirely with your refund it makes sense to get rid of them. It will save you interest but more importantly, it will simplify your finance.

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