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These 3 actions wipe out my $800 mortgage hikes


I've budgeted less for food and car costs – and taken on a handy side hustle.

Like many others, my home loan's interest rate has shot up in the last 12 months.

I used to pay a fixed rate of 2.19%, but this is a distant memory. Today I spend more than $800 extra each month on my mortgage compared to last year.

With mortgage pain continuing, here are 3 ways I've tried to claw back some cash:

one Buying cheaper groceries

Groceries are my biggest expense after my home loan. To combat this, I recently signed up with Box Divvy for my fruit and veg.

Box Divvy is a social enterprise that sources food directly from farmers and wholesalers. By swerving the supermarket, it can offer some lower prices.

Each week, I head to a Food Hub (which is run out of a local resident's garage) and pick up my box.

The app lets me compare my basket with online supermarkets for the same week – I've saved between $16 and $25 in each of the last 4 weeks.

Food is "fresher and lasts longer"

Elise, my Finder colleague, uses a direct-from-farm provider called Hillview Farms.

"My partner and I are spending $75 per fortnight on our fruit and veg. We find it cheaper than using a supermarket," Elise explained.

"The produce is always super fresh, meaning it lasts for longer. We've massively cut down on waste."

Elise added: "Shopping online makes it easier avoid those tempting treats near the checkout."

Monthly budget win: $80

two Renting out my spare room

As the RBA started hiking the cash rate last year, my wife and I decided to Airbnb our spare bedroom.

The listing is a "private room", so we're not making huge sums. However, by setting our price at a comparatively low $125 per night, it's typically booked every other weekend.

$125 for an hour's work

The work that goes into our side hustle is minimal.

We clean the space within 30 minutes between guests. In total, we spend no more than 60 minutes per week on the project.

Effectively, this makes us $250 for 2 hours of effort.

This $500 monthly income boost means more than half of our mortgage increases are covered – that's true after factoring in tax.

If you're not keen on Airbnb, you could potentially host a student as part of a homestay program.

Monthly budget win: $500

three Going without a second car

This isn't a straightforward decision.

My wife is 5 months' pregnant, meaning we're about to go from a family of 3 to 4.

Bringing up a 20-month-old is already an admin headache every day.

Looking around my suburb, some families seem to have 1 car per person. But we can't justify the cost of a second vehicle.

High car costs

New Finder data shows the average price of car insurance is $1,434 per year (that's in NSW, where I live).

I added up my monthly costs for petrol, insurance and rego with 1 car. It was just under $300. This works out at almost $3,500 yearly. So, we've opted out.

Of course, I'm lucky that a) I can afford one car and b) I don't rely on a vehicle for work.

But if you're able to make 1 car work between 2 adults, the budget-saving can be serious.

Monthly budget win: $296

Where I'm saving overall
Buying cheaper groceries
Renting out my spare room
Going without a second car
Total monthly budget win$876

Shop for a lower home loan rate. Compare cheap home insurance or car insurance for more ways to save on your household bills.

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