When Olivia White and her husband decided to renovate their home, they were determined to do it without taking out a bank loan.
The couple got serious about tracking their spending and coming up with strategies to cut costs — and ended up saving a staggering A$30,000 ($31,418) in just one year.
Now, the blogger and mum-of two from regional Victoria has shared some simple hacks designed to help anyone boost their bank balance.
"The savings were for a purpose — we decided to renovate, and didn't want to take out a loan for it — so we knuckled down and started to look at where we were currently spending our money," she told news.com.au.
"We downloaded our statements and categorised everything including entertainment, utilities, clothing and groceries, and worked out where we could save money."
The couple soon realised their grocery bill was one of their biggest expenses.
"Our grocery bill was well in excess of A$200 per week. I never really planned it, I just shopped willy-nilly, so I started meal-planning and worked out how to make things go further each week," White said.
"I saved well over A$5000 on groceries alone because you don't realise how much you spend week by week, but it adds up over a year.
"Another thing I've done is switch to shopping online now which really helps to just buy what's on the list because you're not walking down the aisles and seeing everything — this way I only buy what I need and it also shows the per-unit price which means you don't have to work it out in your head."
White also made some serious coin by selling unused items on online marketplaces such as Gumtree — especially tech products and kitchen appliances.
Since selling off a slew of items, the family has embraced minimalist living by resisting the urge to buy more stuff to replace sold items.
"I went on a course of decluttering and a lot went out while nothing came back in," she said.
"I also saved on little things like being more mindful with my purchasing and staying away from fast fashion, because they may be cheap but you need to buy them more often.
"My clothing rule is now one in, one out — I have a certain amount of hangers and I'm not overwhelmed by choice anymore."
The wider family has also stopped buying Christmas gifts for adults, instead planning a big family holiday once a year which avoids a lump sum leaving their accounts every December.
She also recommended picking up extra work online such as blogging or filling out surveys to boost earnings — and said it was important to resist the urge to keep up with the latest trends which was often triggered by social media.
According to Groupon, 39 per cent of Aussies spend over A$1000 on Christmas-related items due to unrealistic expectations set over social media — but White said it was important to focus on "presence over presents" and remember Christmas was about spending time with family, not creating a perfect picture for Instagram.
"We need to remember it's OK not to keep up with the Joneses — if you're buying something for Christmas, think about how you will use it for the rest of the year and if it will make your life better by buying it," she said.
"If it's something you will use every day or will bring you a lot of joy then fair enough, but I think a lot of what is sold to us these days is good for one use only and after that rush of adrenaline there's not much longevity from it."