Tips & Resources

Nimble’s comprehensive list of 100 weekly spending hacks

How much we spend and save every week comes down to hundreds of small financial habits we repeat over and over again.

When it comes to real savings there is never going to be just one ‘silver-bullet’ solution. You have to find small ways to save in all areas of your life.

Each tip we’ve compiled below might not seem life changing on its own but collectively can help put more money back in your pocket for the important things in life.

 

Saving in the home

 

  1. Learn more recipes: Adding variety to your regular meal rotation will mean you look forward to eating at home and help to suppress the impulse to eat out.
  2. Meal plan to use every last scrap of everything you purchase: If a salad like this can sell in New York, you’ve got no excuse for throwing out anything.
  3. Switch off appliances at the source: Studies show you could save as much as $100 annually by flicking the switch on devices you aren’t using.
  4. Cut out Netflix and Foxtel: With platforms like ABC iView, SBS on demand and all the commercial stations streaming online there are plenty of things to watch for free.
  5. Grow your own vegetables, citrus fruits and herbs: Even if you live in an apartment, lemons and limes grow well in pots, and herbs will quite happily prosper on a sunny balcony or a light drenched windowsill.
  6. Don’t load your cupboards with specific-use products: Baking soda, vinegar and vaseline are just a few examples of products that can do the job of 100s of expensive cleaning, personal-care and conditioning products.
  7. Keep a list of foods you throw away: Do this for a while and you’ll begin to notice patterns and can change your buying habits.

Groceries

 

  1. Make a grocery list for the week. Work out your household’s needs and stick to them.
  2. Use unit-pricing: Knowing cost per 100g is the only way to get a true idea of value. This study showed that shoppers who checked unit pricing saved an average of 17-18% on their weekly shop.
  3. Don’t dismiss frozen fruit and vegetables: Compare prices with the cost of fresh vegetables. Berries in particular are hard to justify buying fresh on a tight budget.
  4. Buy direct from farmers markets: You will get fresher food, eat seasonally and save.
  5. Base your meals on items that are nutritious and stay fresh for a long time: Use grains, lentils, legumes and beans as your meal bases.
  6. Never grocery shop when you’re hungry. Studies show that you will buy more than you need.
  7. Stock up on long life staples when they’re on special: Items like baked beans, tuna, cooking oil, peanut butter all get the “Half-Price’ treatment regularly. Never buy them at full price.
  8. Shop at your local Asian, Indian or Middle Eastern supermarket: If you make stir-fries or curries at home you’ll pay much less for the basic ingredients.
  9. Check out items on top and lower shelves: Companies pay more to have their items stocked at eye level.
  10. Change which supermarket you shop at each week: Compare the prices of groceries in weekly sales catalogues and by using free services like Trolley Saver to decide.
  11. Have meat and alcohol free days every week.

Invest now, save later

 

  1. Buy the most energy efficient appliances.  They cost less to run and drain less energy when idle. You may also be entitled to government rebates when you purchase them, simply check with the supplier.
  2. Buy LED bulbs for every light fixture in your house: The extra amount you spend on these bulbs at the cash register will come back to you and then some. They are 5 times cheaper to run than regular globes and last 40 times longer.
  3. Buy a screen protector and phone case for your phone: A small investment when having a screen replaced can easily set you back well over $100.
  4. Every time you get a pay rise contribute more to your savings: It is very easy to just burn through the extra money. Save that money right from the start and you won’t have the chance to miss it.
  5. Buy a grinder for coffee beans and spices: This allows you to buy your beans and spices in bulk and grind them as you need, without having to worry about them going stale.
  6. If you can’t resist fizzy drinks – buy a Sodastream.
  7. Where possible, purchase your phone outright: The lure of the major phone companies is that they hand out new model smartphones when you sign a contract. However, bring-your-own phone plans can save you heaps on the monthly plan.
  8. Buy cordless headphones: The majority of headphones break when the cord comes loose from constantly getting caught and snagged through use. Eliminate this problem.
  9. Invest in Tupperware containers and ziplock bags: It makes it easier to store and keep leftovers so they stay good for longer.
  10. Get a quality reusable water bottle and take it with you everywhere: Paying for bottled water is a bad use of your money when you can get water from almost anywhere for free if you have a drink bottle.

 

Save at work

 

  1. Pack your own lunch EVERY day: It isn’t the most original suggestion, but a study has shown that the Aussie worker still spends an average of $1,548 a year on buying lunch at work. Do your part to bring that average down and ‘brown-bag’ it!
  2. Cut down on coffee: Even if you limit yourself to just a single barista coffee per working day, you’re still spending $910 a year on caffeine. There are plenty of cheaper coffee options to get you up and going.
  3. Keep snacks at your desk: Your best laid plans of packed lunches can count for little when 3 o’clock comes around and you’re convinced to take a walk to the nearest cafe for a snack, coffee and a bit of a break from your desk. Keep supermarket bought snacks at your drawer to satisfy the hunger and just walk around the block when you need a break.

Technology

 

  1. Use Freeware: Expensive software like Microsoft Office almost always have open source alternatives that are completely free like Google Docs or Openoffice. Check online before paying for any program.
  2. Don’t buy into the ‘cutting-edge’ model: You don’t need the newest model every time you need to upgrade your phone or computer. New models usually have a 50% price-drop in under 24 months.
  3. Use smart online shopping tools: There are plenty out there but browser apps like Honey and The Camelizer can ensure you always get the best possible price for any product online.
  4. Automate your savings: You can make weekly direct deposits into your savings account or use apps like Acorns, which round up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invest it for you.
  5. Charge your equipment correctly: The battery is often the first thing to fail in equipment like phones and laptops, be sure to charge regularly and to do it in the right way – a full charge from 0 to 100% can actually reduce your batteries capacity when done too often.

Transportation and Travel Tips

 

  1. Cycle or walk to work if possible.
  2. Early bird & off-peak discounts: In Melbourne, train travel before 7am is free to lighten the load of peak hour transport. Most other major cities offer heavily discounted public transport fares when travelling before 7am or after 8.30pm.
  3. If you own two cars, consider switching to be a one car household: The money you can save on car insurance, fuel and maintenance can add up to thousands.
  4. Rent instead of buying: If you really only need wheels every now and then you can rent a car by the hour with services such as GoGet.
  5. Carpool with workmates or friends
  6. Give yourself the time to take public transport: When making a trip, plan enough time to get there via the train, tram or bus and save on fuel and parking.
  7. Download a petrol price tracking app.
  8. Never go to a travel agent again: Comparison sites, like Expedia and Skyscanner, have made travel agent fees redundant.
  9. Maximise travel points from credit cards: There is a whole online community based around finding the best credit card point deals so you can get flights for as little as possible. Read more about it here.
  10. Clear your browser history when buying flights: It has been suggested that airlines will change their prices based on your browser history.

Being healthy = a healthy bank balance

 

  1. Choose complex carbohydrates over simple carbohydrates: Things like wholemeal flour, whole grain bread, wholemeal pasta, basmati rice and brown rice cost roughly the same as their processed equivalents but make you feel fuller for longer.
  2. Swap gym memberships for exercising outside: Run, walk, cycle, swim and use your own bodyweight for resistance training.
  3. Combine your work commute with exercise: Run walk or cycle to work where possible,  and save on fuel, parking or public transport costs
  4. Make water your default beverage: Water is free and incredibly good for you (it’s kind of like you were made to drink it).

Shopping

 

  1. Only use cash when you’re shopping: The first stop in any shop should be the ATM. Many studies show we spend more conservatively when we are handing over cash than we do with plastic.
  2. Use a basket instead of a trolley: If you have to carry your items, you’ll be less inclined to load the basket up. Research shows that when we use trolley we are more likely to fill them up.
  3. Research the products you buy in depth: Spending more money on nicer things can save you in the long run. Many brands have a reputation for longevity, so they cost more upfront, but their lifetime cost is much cheaper.
  4. Before making an online purchase, leave your items in a website’s ‘cart’ for a week: Often stores will send automatic emails to prompt users who have abandoned their carts, offering discounts to seal the deal.
  5. Hack the prices of online retailers: There is a loophole with some online retailers that can give you cheaper prices based on the currency you pay in. Companies like ASOS adjust for the expectations of shoppers from different countries by altering the price of products across different currencies. However, there is nothing to stop you changing your order manually from Australian dollars to British pounds and knocking five or six dollars of your purchase price.  
  6. Buy used clothes: Buying at op-shops is thrifty and with a bit of patience you can uncover some genuine bargains. Hot-tip: travel to the swankiest areas when op-shopping and ask what days they put out their new donations.
  7. Have a cool-off wishlist: You rarely need the things right when you buy them. Give yourself 30 days before you actually make any purchase, then you’ll know if you really want it.
  8. Rent instead of buying: You can rent almost anything. From dresses or tuxedos for weddings to surfboards to power tools. If you won’t get enough use out of something to justify buying it outright, rent it instead.
  9. Buy items when they’re out of season: If you wait until winter to buy a jacket, you’ll be paying peak price. Anything seasonal is cheaper when it isn’t in demand (apart from food where the opposite often applies!).
  10. Ask yourself: “How will I feel about this tomorrow?”: It is a simple psychological test that works. Think you’ll feel happy? Buy it! Panicked? Skip it!
  11. Don’t buy items that you wouldn’t usually just because they’re on sale: Don’t get sucked in by sales that aren’t actually going to help your bottom line.

Finding the Discounts

 

  1. Start using the benefits you already have access to: Most energy, insurance and financial companies offer exclusive benefits to their customers.  
  2. Bookmark discount websites in your web browser: Websites like Scoopon and Catch of the Day update with deals daily and you’re bound to find products and experiences that appeal to you if you check it often enough.
  3. Set online alerts for products on your wishlist: Websites like eBay and Gumtree allow you to set emails alerts when postings with specific terms are posted. This gives you first chance at the ones with the best prices.
  4. Actually trial free trials: Many subscription-based services offer a free trial to get you to join. Instead of just letting it roll over to paid accounts, try them all. It will save money and you’ll end up picking the best one for the long run.
  5. Get cash back from online purchases: There are websites that will literally pay you for shopping online through their website. This is how it works: instead of going directly to an online store you find a link on a ‘cashback’ website to get there instead. The online store then tracks how much you spend and gives a commission to the cashback website for referring you. Finally, the cashback website kicks some of that commission back to you. Money for nothing!
  6. Look for coupons for everything you buy

Save on Services and Amenities

 

  1. Use professionals in training: From hairdressers, to masseuses, to physios, to dentists. Every profession has students that need to practice their craft. You can often ‘help them out’ for little to no cost.
  2. Do your own tax: The Government’s myTax program is free and suitable enough for most people with uncomplicated finances.
  3. Google anything before you ring a tradie: Many maintenance problems can be fixed with a simple Youtube video.
  4. Use less water with low flow shower heads and taps: These can save up to 40% of your water use.

Making what you’ve got last longer

 

  1. Getting further from a tank of petrol: There are many habits you can develop on the road so you don’t burn as much fuel. A study showed that the difference in fuel efficiency between driving 90km/h and 120km/h can be as much as 20%. Other tips include: always driving with properly inflated tyres and turning off the engine when you’ll be idling more than a minute.
  2. Cut your dishwashing sponges in half: Most sponges are thrown out because they get too dirty not because they break down.
  3. Water down your bathroom hand soap: You mix it with water in the sink anyway. Cut down on wastage by mixing it in an empty hand pump bottle first.
  4. Store salad with a paper towel in the fridge: Paper will absorb moisture and keep your salad from wilting for longer.
  5. Alternate between pairs of shoes: Swapping will give your shoes enough time to decompress and decrease wear and tear.
  6. Repair before you replace: Home repairs of clothing and even professional tailoring can double the lifespan of your garments. The same often applies to shoes.
  7. Replace the broken part, not the entire product: Sometimes your phone just needs a new battery, or your laptop needs added RAM. You may not always need an entirely new product so ask a professional before you replace.
  8. Make printer ink go further with an eco-font: Eco-fonts are fonts that have tiny holes throughout the body of the letters (here is an example). They minimise the amount of ink used when printing.
  9. Hang your sheets and clothing out to dry when possible: They will last longer and you will also save money on using a dryer.

Change your mindset and your habits

 

  1. Save up any ‘extra’ windfalls: Human beings have an instinct to treat money differently based on how they obtained it. Unexpected ‘extra cash’ is usually splurged and ends up adding no benefit to your financial situation.
  2. Save money just by asking for a better price: It won’t work every time, but particularly for bills, medical expenses, memberships and big purchases you can get the price knocked down just by asking.
  3. Catch up with friends at home: Real friends will be happy to catch up at your place or head somewhere cheap and cheerful, like a nearby beach or park.
  4. Save your change: Buy one of those big money tins that you can’t open without a can-opener and put all your coins into it. When you cash it in at the end of the year you’ll easily see upwards of $500 returns.
  5. Cut your own hair or where possible, find a hairdresser that operates out of their home, as they are often cheaper than retail salons with high overheads, such as rent.
  6. Don’t pay ATM fees EVER: Australians pay $787.8 million a year in completely unnecessary ATM fees. Plan your withdrawals and avoid them altogether.
  7. Actually save the money you get from specials: When you buy something that is marked down, don’t just use the extra cash on something else. Put it in a savings account.
  8. Save when things don’t go to plan: If you have plans to go to a movie and get cancelled on, put the money you would have spent into savings. You were prepared to spend that money anyway, so treat it like you have and put it towards the future.
  9. Don’t wait until you need something to buy it: When it comes to necessary items, if you wait until they break and are unusable, you won’t have time to find a good price.
  10. Find free hobbies: If you spend your time doing things like reading, hiking, playing chess or catching up with like minded people in meetup groups, then you can still enjoy your spare time without having to put your hand in your pocket.
  11. Join the library: Your local library is an untapped resource for books, magazines, comic books, DVDs and music.
  12. Hit back on hidden fees: When signing up to a new service explicitly ask them if there are any charges other than the ones discussed. If you pay hidden fees, dispute them and you will often get them reversed.
  13. Don’t be afraid to say when something you have bought has disappointed you: If you have paid for something, you have the right to request a refund. If your complaint is legitimate, you’ll often get a refund. On the flipside, writing to companies you like with compliments can also have awesome benefits.
  14. Learn the value of your time: Think about how many hours it took you to earn the equivalent amount of money before you think about parting with it.
  15. Save when you come in under budget: There is no point budgeting unless you take advantage of it when it works.

Keep the fun times rolling (for less):

 

  1. Take supermarket snacks to the cinemas: Movie popcorn is one of the biggest cons going around. Popcorn and soft-drink combos can see markups as high as 3,000% on cost price. Save by dropping into Coles or Woolworths on your way to the theatre.
  2. Eat out at BYO restaurants: If you like to have a drink with your meal, choosing restaurants that let you bring your own booze can save you a lot on the bill, even once corkage costs are factored in.
  3. Party at home before heading out: ‘Pre-drinks’ is a closely observed ritual of uni students all over the country for a very good reason. It can cut the cost of a night out in half.
  4. Tightarse Tuesdays (and other days): From movies, to bowling, to parmas, to yoga classes – so many businesses have a ‘cheap night’ to lure in the frugal crowd. Take advantage of them!
  5. Free events: Websites like What’s On and Timeout are a great way for keeping your finger on the pulse of upcoming free events, from live concerts to art galleries – there is plenty of stuff on, if you know where to look.

 

Got any other great ways to save and would like to share with the Nimble community, we’d love to hear from you!  Drop us a quick note in our comments section below.

 

You should read this bit: The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post. The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Christmas Day Lunch on a Shoestring

So you’ve agreed to host Christmas lunch.

It seemed like a great idea at the time, but now as you’ve started to plan the big day, panic has set in and you’re contemplating fleeing the country just to get out of it.

Well, Christmas hostess with the “mostess” (or host with the most!), you can relax, because we’re here to assure you that it’s absolutely possible to host a fabulous Christmas lunch without a financial blowout.

Here’s our step-by-step guide to get you through the day:

 

For nibbles, go with the crowd favourites

If Christmas lunch were a gift, the nibbles would be the wrapping. In other words, you’ve got to have them but they’re not the main show.

There are plenty of amazing, festive options you could spend your time and money on, like cob loaf spinach dip or mini pizzas shaped like Christmas trees, but let’s be real – most people are just as happy with a healthy spread of chips and dips.

This also makes nibbles the perfect thing to allocate to your guests, as all they have to do is swing past a supermarket in the days leading up to Christmas.

NOTE: Asking guests to share the love (and the cost!) of your Christmas lunch is recommended later in this guide so if you’re worried about using up your ‘Christmas helper credits’, handle the nibbles yourself. Remember: keep it simple, keep it cheap. Chips and dips all the way!

 

The main star of Christmas lunch: The Main Course

This is the make-or-break element of your Christmas lunch…

If you nail this, everything else will fall into place. That’s why we’ve spent a long time making this section of our Christmas lunch guide as foolproof as possible.

The first few sections cover the meatier options and then later we have dished up some advice on meat-free alternatives (perfect not just for vegetarians but anyone looking for an extra area of Christmas lunch to bring costs down).

Let’s get started.

 

Choosing your meat

Meat will always be the most expensive part of Christmas lunch, so getting this decision right is super important!

Nowhere in the Australian constitution does it say that all Christmas-lunch hosts must serve prawns, lobster and a whole leg of ham. It’s much cheaper to stick to the basic meats and do them well.

Below is a handy price range for various meats to help you decide which one is right for you:

NOTE: These prices are taken from those listed on the major supermarket websites. But don’t take our word for it…shop around at the places listed below and grab yourself a bargain!

Approximate Prices:

  • Whole chicken – $4.50 – $8.20 per kg
  • Whole turkey (frozen) – $9 per kg
  • Whole turkey (fresh) -$10 per kg
  • Roast pork (shoulder) – $10 per kg
  • Roast lamb (shoulder) – $10 per kg
  • Leg ham – $13 – $22 per kg
  • Prawns – $27 – $30 per kg

 

Start looking for your meat earlier in the year for huge storage savings

Finding marked down meat is like a jackpot for a budget shopper, but you’re unlikely to strike gold in the lead up to Christmas. The type of meats you’ll be looking for will be in too high demand to stay on the shelves.

The solution…for next year? Simple. Don’t wait until December to buy your Christmas meat.

Meat can stay safe and delicious for ages when it is frozen. Be on the lookout for the type of meat you want before the holiday season and you will be able to massively bring down your Christmas lunch costs.

On top of that, buying your meat earlier in the year means you won’t be taking the full budget hit in December.

Listed below are the ‘safe’ zones for how long to leave different meats in your freezer. Meat will actually stay safe to eat for much longer but the quality won’t be as good when it comes time to eat.

Christmas meat freezing times:

  • Ham – 2 months – Start looking late October
  • Pork or lamb chops – 3 months – Start looking late September
  • Fish and other types of seafood – 3 months – Start looking late September
  • Pork or lamb roast – 4 months – Start looking late August
  • Whole chicken, turkey or any other poultry – 12 months – buy and freeze any time of year for Christmas
  • Game meats (rabbit or venison) – 8 months – start looking late April

 

Look in the right places for the right price

If you’re too late to buy your Christmas meat and freeze it, don’t worry. There are other ways to get your meat cheap, you just need to know where to look.

Exactly where to go will be different depending on where in Australia you are based, but use the below as a rough guide to finding the places with the cheapest prices.

Fresh produce markets

    • The beauty of shopping in the meat section at produce markets is that even during the busiest times of the years the stalls are all competing with each other. This keeps prices low. The bigger the market the better.
    • Avoid produce markets in affluent areas as they tend to be smaller and more boutique.
    • If you’re willing to roll the dice, waiting until the end of the day can lead to great deals on meat before it is thrown out (just be prepared for the fact you might miss out entirely)
  • HOT TIP: If possible, find a market in your city’s ‘Chinatown’ or equivalent area. The families that run these stores in these type of markets often come from cultures that don’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, so you are more likely to avoid the ‘festive tax’.

 

Meat Wholesalers

  • Meat wholesalers can be hit and miss in terms of lower prices, and the Christmas demand might mean you might not get exactly what you want, but if you’re willing to do the research, you can still grab prices that are well below the mainstream prices.

Budget supermarkets

    • Aldi and Costco are gaining momentum in Australia. If there is one near you it is worth checking out. Their prices are usually cheaper than the big two chains.
  • NOTE: Costco is a members-only supermarket so you will need to sign up or find a friend with a membership to shop there.

 

Buying seafood straight from the source

  • Fish and seafood is easy to buy right from the people that catch it.
  • Any fishing town will have their produce for sale down on the pier at wholesale prices.
  • Often in the days before Christmas these markets will stay open longer and offer great specials.

Options for vegetarian mains

Gone are the days where vegetarians should have to just fill up on sides at Christmas lunch.

There are plenty of ‘main-course’ style dishes that can be made for Christmas day, which are vego friendly but are also a pretty great way to downgrade the cost of your Christmas lunch.

 

Tofu Turkey

This is a classic vegetarian Christmas alternative that has been around since the 1980s and it is exactly what it sounds like: tofu shaped like a turkey.

They aren’t cheap to buy premade but it is straightforward enough to create one yourself instead. Ensure you buy your tofu from a specialist Asian grocery store as the prices will be much cheaper than at a supermarket. At these stores a kilogram of tofu will cost you between $5.50 and $8 per kilogram.

That may not sound significantly cheaper than real turkey meat, but remember when you’re buying tofu, 100% of it is edible. You’re not paying for bones, gristle or any other bits and pieces.

Check out this recipe for a comprehensive guide on how to make your own homemade tofurkey.

 

Nut Roast/Vegetable Wellingtons

The difference between a main course meal and a side dish, is that a main course is something that you can sit on the table and everyone will look at it and say, “What’s that?!”

That’s what you get with a nut roast.

The variety of delicious ingredients that can go into this dish makes it an awesome option for a meat-free main and is likely to sway more than a few committed meat-eaters too.

Check out this article for a good overview of the basics and if you’re looking for something particularly epic, check out this amazing creation (be warned though, it is not light on prep-time).

 

Quiche/Pies/Savoury Tarts

If you’re low on talent in the kitchen, it might be better to just keep your meat-free main simple. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make it delicious. Check out selected recipes below for easy to make options:

 

The sides

To stay with our wrapped-gift metaphor, the vegetables and side dishes can be thought of as stocking stuffers: cheap and simple but often where you can find some of Christmas’ best surprises.

The right side dish is an opportunity to impress your guests with your creativity while using mostly low-cost ingredients. There are so many recipes online to choose from and you can put a range of flavours on the table.

Make some dishes cheesy, hearty and starchy and others fresh light and delicious. The general rule of thumb is one carbohydrate-rich / starchy dish to every two leafy salads. Click here for some sidespiration (warning: this link will elicit involuntary salivation).

 

Gravy

If you’re not exactly riding the gravy train right now, why not save a few bucks by making it from scratch instead?

Once you’ve got the dripping from your roast, making gravy is cheap, easy and a thousand times better than store bought. All you need to add is butter and flour and then whatever other flavourings take your fancy. Maybe some salt, a little red wine and don’t forget a dollop of tomato sauce for sweetness and that extra tang.

If you want to go a little more fancy here is a pretty serious recipe with only a handful more ingredients. But our advice is, as always, keep it simple!

Here are a few tips on what not to do when it comes to making gravy.

 

Drinks

Most people will BYO drinks to a Christmas lunch. However,  it’s not unusual to feel like you want to provide some champagne or something else special to get everyone in the right spirit.

Whilst this is a nice thought, if you’re struggling to stay within budget – it’s an unnecessary expense.

But, if you just can’t bear the thought of not providing some sort of refreshments, don’t leave it to the last minute. Shop the specials and do your research so you get the best quality for what you spend.

Or even better, start your own tradition and make your own special ‘Christmas Cheer’ from scratch.

Try this recipe out for size*:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of whisky (750ml)
  • 900ml of thickened cream
  • 3 cans of condensed milk
  • 3 tbsps of chocolate topping
  • Coconut essence – a few drops to taste

Steps:

  1. Whisk all together..bottle and refrigerate.

It may not sound budget friendly at first but this recipe makes three bottles. Having a ‘special’ Christmas drink is a nice touch for the day (and it will give you something to look forward to as a nightcap).

Dessert

Everyone always leaves room for dessert, right?

Well, Christmas lunch may be the one meal of the year where that isn’t quite so true but everyone will still find a way to fit it in.

Desserts can take just as much time to make as anything in the main meal but they have a couple of key advantages which make them the ideal part of your Christmas lunch to cash in your ‘helper’ credits.

  • Desserts can be made beforehand
  • Desserts can be easily transported from one place to another.

If your guests bring one dessert option per carload, that will be more than enough to finish off the amazing spread you’ve just put on.

So remember, when you first ‘decide’ Christmas lunch will be at your place, and the inevitable question “is there anything I can bring?” gets asked, don’t brush it off. Embrace it.

After all, you’re doing everything else.

 

General Tips for Christmas Lunch

Here are some more great tips, to not just save on the cost of your Christmas lunch, but also make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.

 

Don’t make more than necessary

Food wastage is one of the biggest expenses when it comes to hosting large meals. Sure, you want to impress your guests (and yes Christmas leftovers are the best) but if you’re really stretching every last dollar it is better to be realistic about how much food is necessary.

It’s worth doing some research by consulting a portion planner.

Remember: every Christmas lunch host worries about not cooking enough food and they’re rarely right.

 

Smart budgeting

Just because it’s Christmas, doesn’t mean you should stop budgeting.

Set yourself a limit and stick to it. We get creative when we have to stay within limitations. But without restrictions, things can get out of hand especially when buying food for a much larger group of people than we are used to.

 

Be prepared before the day

Do as much preparation beforehand as you can. For example, plenty of sides can be made several nights before and stored in the fridge.

There are also heaps of products you can purchase weeks in advance such as table crackers, canned goods, dried fruit etc. You can order most of these things online, where it’s easy to compare prices and seek out a bargain.

 

Know your limits

Don’t try an extravagant meal for the very first time on Christmas day. No matter how many fingers and toes you cross, if things go wrong, you’ll end up serving baked beans to the table (unless you’re trying to avoid hosting Christmas ever again).  

 

Have something for everyone

Don’t forget to ask your guests for their dietary requirements well in advance. There’s nothing worse than forgetting about that one guest who just happens to be allergic to every food you’ve prepared or find you have nothing for your niece who has recently converted to a strict raw vegan diet.

Be warned: there will undoubtedly be at least one uncle who’ll tell you he’s on a “seafood diet (I see food and I eat it)”.

Enjoy yourself

Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun. Sometimes it’s the things that don’t go as planned that make for the best stories. It’s Christmas. Have a laugh. Enjoy yourself.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

*Nimble supports the responsible service of alcohol. Drink responsibly.

Christmas presents that mean MORE and cost LESS

Society places so much emphasis on what things are worth.

But in reality, price often has little to do with the personal value of an item. This is super important to remember as we rush towards Christmas, cringing as we take a peek at our latest credit card statements. Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination to find a gift that will make your friends and family beam with joy, without having to spend a small fortune.  

We’ve come up with five thoughtful Christmas present hacks to make your loved ones happy and your bank account even happier.

1)     Nailing the sentimental gift for anyone

We humans are social creatures. If there’s one constant about our nature, it’s that we love to be loved. There is nothing sweeter than receiving a gift that demonstrates how much someone knows and cares about us.  

Remember, the significance is all in the detail. There will be something unique and special about all your relationships but the key is to find a way to easily identify what that is…

So, how about this…list all your favourite memories involving them and use this list to enable you to come up with a way to turn them into sentimental present ideas.

Still struggling? We’ve put together some examples to to help get the creative juices flowing:

  • Is there a specific quote they often say that everyone loves? Get it printed on a set of tea towels or a cushion.
  • Were you always listening to music together during car trips? Make a Spotify playlist or CD with all the songs you both loved.
  • Do you have any in-jokes? Maybe a phrase you always text each other or something that references your group chat banter? Get it printed on a coffee cup or t-shirt.
  • Did you bond over a hobby or activity? Frame the scorecard from your first fun night out bowling or playing glow-in-the-dark mini golf, or get a personalised trophy engraved for a new annual tournament that you both love!

Once you start, the ideas will flow. If you’re stuck for ways to transform a memory into a gift, simply Google the sentimental word, e.g. “coffee” or “surfing”, and then “sentimental gifts”.

2)     The DIY gift

We know what you’re thinking…this section is for those creatives who can take a piece of paper, some sticky tape, paddle pop sticks and construct some wall art. But fear not my less-skilled friends, you don’t have to be a craftsman or woman to make a DIY gift. The only skills you really need to master, are a bit of creative thinking and the art of Googling.

Here’s how to get cracking:

  • Write a list of what they like to wear, eat, see or do for fun.
  • Then write a list of things you would buy them if money were no obstacle.
  • Google DIY gift ideas using this list to direct your search (Pinterest is crammed full of great ideas).

If you’re going down the crafty route you can get started right away. But another great way to DIY is ‘upcycling’. Take a drive to your local op shop and find some old things that can be made new with a little bit of handiwork.

You’ll be amazed how things that once seemed like junk, suddenly take on new potential once you’ve seen what can be done. Old jars are perfect for making candles, rustic furniture can be sanded down and painted in funky colours and photo frames can even be painted in pastel colours to match the rumpus room.

Or you could take a more traditional idea and turn it on its head. Instead of a standard gift basket…why not build your own. Get a basket and fill it with fishing gear or things for the BBQ. In fact you can take any gift idea and simply add a creative twist using your list.

Voila, Christmas shopping is done!

3)     The practical gift

The above ideas are great for anyone who loves imaginative gifts, but what about your more “sensible” friends and family members?

This is where the practical gift comes in handy. You’re probably thinking, “but I don’t want to just buy them socks and undies!”

Well, practicality and creativity don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Spend some time thinking about who you’re buying for and the things they use daily. This way you’re not only giving them something that won’t go to waste, but your gift will seem customised and thoughtful.

Put your detective hat on and discreetly take a look around their house (make sure they’re home first, obviously). What hairspray brand do they use? What magazines do they read? What tea do they drink? Do they need stationery?

Now, if that doesn’t scream: “I know you”, I don’t know what does!

4)     The gift of time

You’ve won TattsLotto and you can afford a full-time servant, what is the first thing you would get them to do? Clean those cobwebs? Fix that toilet? Massage your feet? (Do servants do that? Doesn’t hurt to ask, I guess).

Pretty nice fantasy, huh?

Well, perhaps your friends, family and loved ones would feel the same way. If, currently, you don’t have much in the way of money, why not offer another valuable resource you may be rich in…YOUR time! You can use a nifty gift certificate program, such as JukeBoxPrint to show you mean business.

Take advantage of the lists you created in the previous sections to think up ways to tailor your time specifically to what they’d like most.

If you know they’d just love to spend time with you, you could give them a voucher for a day of hiking, followed by their favourite treat, or a night watching movies of their choice, and you aren’t allowed to protest once!

Or combine your gift of time with your gift of practicality, and give them a voucher for X number of hours of your labour. It could go to helping them finally sort out their shed or spare room, paint their study, or weed their vege patch. Better yet, if you know there is a task they really want done, do it on Christmas Eve and the finished product can be your gift the next morning.

5)     The supportive gift

Check that list one more time. Is there anything they aspire to do but haven’t got around to it, due to a lack of resources, information or even confidence?

Why not give them a nudge with a gift that supports them in pursuing their dreams?

Perhaps they’ve always wanted to take up a new hobby such as sewing, fishing or learning a new language, but they’re not sure where to start. There’s a huge range of informative books available for these purposes. You could even spend time collating the most useful information online and printing out a DIY booklet yourself.

If they don’t lack the resources to follow their dreams but they need the confidence to take that next step, you could find them a book on how to face their fears. If they’re unhappy at work but not sure where to go next, you could buy them a book on how to find their purpose. If they complain about being bored on the weekends you could buy them a book on weekend adventures.

Books sound a bit too boring? There are a bunch of free university courses online. You could do the research for them, find the right course and register them for it. Remove self-doubt and time from the equation and give them the boost they need to pursue their aspirations!

If you use any of these tips this Christmas, we’d love to hear about it. Post in the comments section below about what tip you used, what gift you gave and how it was received on the day.

 

You should read this bit: Sometimes we use links in our blogs that belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website, meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in our blog posts. The information in our blog posts is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

12 tactics to bust your grocery bill

Do you feel like every trip to the supermarket ends up costing more than you expected?

Grocery bills are the number one area you can save on in your weekly budgets. All it takes is a little bit of planning and some great habits to start feeding you and your family for much less.

So, here are our top 12 supermarket saving tactics to make it happen.

 

1) Meal Plan Around Sales Catalogues

By planning your meals you can quickly get a handle on your grocery budgets.

A fixed list of items helps you know exactly what you need to buy for the week and keeps your budget from blowing out.

Sounds easy enough, right… but you can also take it a step further by shopping to weekly sales catalogues.

Meal planning around the best deals can make a huge difference and as an added bonus, you’ll get to try a variety of different foods!

 

2) Buy Home Brands

When buying products with plain packaging you can feel like you’re skimping out, but in many cases, home-brand products actually come from the same factories as popular name brands.

But not all home-brand products measure up in quality. So how do you find the hidden gems?

Why not try this:

Every shop, make a point of picking up one new home-branded item. If you don’t like the taste, putting up with it for a week isn’t the end of the world and you can go back to your old-faithful name-brand. But if you can’t tell the difference, you’ve found one more way to save!

 

3) Don’t Shop When Everyone Else Does!

Shopping at peak times equals more and more money spent!

Why?

Because trying to work your trolley around seven shoppers with prams to get a couple cans of crushed tomatoes makes you rush and decision-making tends to suffer.

Studies show that the quietest days at the supermarket are Monday and Tuesday.

However, it is worth considering Wednesday for the weekly shop, despite the fact it’s a bit busier. This is the day when supermarkets kick-off their new weekly specials.

Great specials sell fast, and missing out will throw your meal planning completely out of whack, so don’t wait!!

 

4) Buy Small for the Little Ones

When you buy fruit, it makes sense that you are drawn to the biggest and juiciest pieces.

Choosing one big apple instead of two smaller ones means you pay for less of the stuff you throw out and get more of the juicy fruit.

But if you’re buying for packed lunches and snacks, one apple is generally enough, no matter how big or small it is.

Look for the smaller fruit and you’ll get more individual pieces for the exact same price.

 

5) Only Buy Discounted Items if You Actually Need Them

Specials tempt us but you should always ask: “Do I need this and would I buy this if it wasn’t on sale?”

If a deal doesn’t contribute to your weekly meal plan, it’s just a waste of money dressed up as savings.

 

6) Stock Up on Specials

Great specials on long-life products don’t mean much if you only buy enough for the next week or so. By the next time you visit the supermarket, the deal will be over and you’ll be back to paying full price.

So why not buy a couple months’ worth? You bump up the savings and all you sacrifice in the long run is a bit of pantry space.

 

7) Use Unit Pricing

By checking the unit price (price per unit of measure) you can compare what you are actually getting for your money ‘pound-for-pound’.

Packaging is often designed to make it seem like you’re getting more than you actually are – especially with the more expensive name-brands.

A study showed that shoppers who were educated about unit pricing saved an average of 17-18% on their weekly shop, so start comparing and saving today.

 

8) Never Shop on an Empty Stomach

Research shows that shopping when you’re hungry means you buy more, even when it comes to non-food items.

Our hunger tells our brain that you need to buy something, and it doesn’t really care what.

Everything looks more delicious when you’re hungry, so you should always shop well-fed.

 

9) Make Meals from Scratch

Pre-prepared meals from the supermarket can be tempting for their convenience but they are usually less healthy and always significantly more expensive.

Instead, cook easy-freeze meals in large batches and store in single size portions. After a hard day at work, pulling a homemade meal out of the freezer is just as satisfying as eating a store bought one.

 

10) Create Seasonal Recipes

Fruits and vegetables are cheaper when they’re in season.

  • Tomatoes can cost as little as $3 a kilo in January and as much as $7 in June.
  • Pink lady apples can be less than $2 a kilo in the winter but can spike above $4 in January
  • Depending on growing conditions lettuce has shown to increase in price by up to 500% in winter

Tailoring our meal plans to match produce that is currently in season is a natural and healthy way to save throughout the year.

 

11) Spot a Real Deal When You Know Where to Start!

Finding the best specials is a lot easier when you know what items usually cost.

Not every great deal is printed on a piece of yellow paper with big red capital letters.

While Coles and Woolworths rarely miss a chance to tell us when they’ve marked something down, the independents can have a less structured approach to pricing and if you’re not across normal pricing you can miss out on some great savings.

 

12) Shop Alone To Save

The tips above are great, but you will never nail them all unless you shop alone.

Whilst it might be fun to shop with your friends, it’s a surefire way to spend up a storm.

As soon as you add another person things get complicated. They will have different ideas of what ‘important purchases’ are. Even if you’re both trying to be frugal, it won’t be long until there are things in the trolley that weren’t on the list.

And that’s the first warning sign of ‘budget creep’.

 

Do you have any other great tips on how to get the most out of your weekly supermarket budget? We’d love to hear about them in the comment section below.

 

You should read this bit: The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post. The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

2017 EOFY Tax Tips: Getting Your Finances in Order

As June 30th draws closer and the end of financial year looms on the calendar, now is once again the time to prepare for that annual meeting with your trusty accountant. Whilst you might think that tax deductions are the exclusive domain of high flyers and big business honchos, anyone who works for a living (i.e. salaried employees) is entitled to claim them. Whether it’s been a particularly busy or expensive year for you with work-related expenses galore, or just the regular course of events, it never hurts to collect those receipts you’ve been diligently stuffing away in a shoebox and get something back from the taxman. To help you get tax fit for FY 2017-18, we’ve put together two simple steps anyone can follow.

1. Collect Receipts & Track Your Expenses 

The first step for getting a handsome tax return at the end of financial year is to collect all relevant receipts and track all expenses relating to your work or source(s) of income. Since Australian tax law allows the deduction of any expenses incurred in generating an income, including taking your 9-5 work home with you, this is by far your best way to bring home the bacon after June 30! Thanks to the power of smartphones, collecting receipts and tracking your expenses has been made super-easy with these nifty apps:

  •  Concur (Desktop & Smartphone) – A handy tool allowing you to automate your travel and work-related expenses in addition to managing invoices. The ability to take a photo of a receipt to store for later is our favourite feature.
  •  Pocketbook (Smartphone)Pocketbook is a powerful personal budgeting app that allows you to track and categorise all of your spending.
  •  TrackMySpend (Smartphone) – Developed by ASIC, TrackMySpend does just that, helping you keep tabs on where your money goes for tax time.

2. Minimise Your Tax Liability (Legally of Course)! 

Having sorted out your shoebox of receipts, the next step is to book an appointment with a qualified tax accountant after June 30 so you can make the most out of any tax deductions you’re eligible for, whilst minimising the risk of landing on the wrong side of the ATO! In the meantime, here’s a few more things you can do before the end of financial year:

  • Bring forward any big work-related expenses before June 30

Big expenses like buying new work uniforms, laptops or equipment are all legitimate tax deductions, which can be instantly written-off up to the value of $20,000. Even enrolling into work-related courses or seminars can be tax deductible, meaning the possibility of extra cash in the bank!

  •  Claim all relevant tax deductions

Another thing to keep in mind is the large list of legitimate tax deductions available to all Australian employees, which the ATO details here. Many of these deductible expenses are generated during day-to-day employment and can include the following items:

  • Education expenses (attending industry conferences, seminars, enrollment fees etc)
  • Internet and mobile phone connections (a portion reflecting work-related usage)
  • Home office equipment costs (computers, printers, telephones etc)
  • Home office running expenses (heating, cooling, lighting, cleaning, carpet wear & tear etc)
  • Vehicle expenses (fuel, work-related travel etc) (a portion reflecting work-related usage)

Need a little extra help paying for that new laptop or seminar before EOFY 2017? Or how about bringing forward some of your other work-related expenses to keep your hard earned cash in your back pocket instead of handing it over to the taxman (and no, Jimmy Choo doesn’t make steel capped boots!)? Check out our smart little cash loans from Nimble!

 

You should read this bit: The above post contains links to a variety of application software (“App, Apps”) that is not affiliated or associated with Nimble. We do not have any control or responsibility over the content of the Apps. Use of the Apps may be subject to further terms and conditions imposed by the App provider, the owner of the mobile operating system and/or other related parties. The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post. The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. For tax advice relating to your specific financial situation, Nimble recommends seeking the services of a qualified Australian tax accountant. The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

6 Top Travel Trends

Regardless of whether you’re an adventurous traveller or prefer to keep the pace slow, there’s an abundance of travel trends you can get on board with.

We’ve compiled a list with 6 of the hottest travel trends right now, with a little help from some of our digital friends Kayla Manoe, founder of Kelana by Kayla; Stephen and Jess; Co-Founders of Flying the Nest; Scott Purcell, Co-founder of Man of Many and James Banham, editor at The-F.

    1. Go where the good food is

“If the millions of travellers around the world have told us one thing through their pictures and stories, it’s this; food is where it’s at,” says Co-Founder of Man of Many, Scott Purcell.

There are countless anecdotes, guide listings and tasty memories from travellers about the food markets in Hong Kong and Singapore, the raging brunch trend in Australia, the hearty and meaty dishes of southern America and the cultural explosion that is European cuisine. All put food right at the top of the pile when it comes to ‘reason to travel’.

“Search ‘#food’ on Instagram and be bombarded with millions of images of some seriously sumptuous sights that are as good enough a reason to book a ticket to essentially anywhere as soon as you can muster!” Scott says. We couldn’t agree more.

    2. Active retreats   

Health, wellness and fitness retreats are the new beach holiday! There are loads of options out there, aimed at getting you moving, unwinding from the stresses of everyday life and nurturing your mind and body. These might include hikes and boot camp style breaks or something more gentle (but no less challenging in their own right) such as yoga and meditation retreats.

    3. Working holidays

Travelling for work? Make the most of your work-expensed flights by extending your stay for a few extra days or using the trip as a launching pad for a longer break. If you’re short on time and don’t have flexible flights, make the most of your spare hours (however limited) and discover the sights and sounds of your destination after you switch off for the day. Explore the streets with your camera in hand, grab a bite at a notable restaurant or maybe, just maybe, squeeze in a visit to one of the landmarks if you can get in before closing time.

    4. Live as the locals do

Getting off the beaten path is an experience that more and more explorers seek out on their travels abroad. Do your research to find local events and hangout spots, ask friends and family who may have been to the destination before for their hot tips or just wing it and see what you can find. Need a helping hand? Airbnb have recently launched an ‘Experiences’ tab which allows you to get a sneak peek into the lives of a local, as your host guides you around town or takes you through a workshop with a local flair to it.

    5. Volunteering and sustainable travel

Travel is a rewarding experience in itself, but you can take it to the next level by giving back to the community you’re visiting by volunteering and engaging in sustainable travel practices. Stephen and Jess, Co-Founders of Flying the Nest say “Volunteering abroad is quickly growing to be a popular alternative to someone’s gap year and it’s not just for the new explorers, we see plenty of families and people having a mid-life or mid-job crisis.”

There are many credible organisations out there that specialise in coordinating volunteer holidays. Think anything from conservation projects working with native animals and wildlife preservation to building and infrastructure development or teaching a language or specialist skill.

While volunteering abroad and being a sustainable traveller isn’t always the cheapest way to go, your actions certainly go a long way! Kayla Manoe, Founder of Kelana by Kayla shares a few ideas for incorporating responsible practices into your trip:

  • Opting for train and bus travel
  • Boycotting cruel animal attractions
  • Reducing waste
  • Shopping fair trade

These activities “are all incredibly important in sustaining the environment and providing a more positive and rewarding experience for all involved” she says.

    6. Staycations

Sometimes you don’t need to go far to have a good time. “One of the most popular travel trends on the rise is the oft-underrated staycation,” says James Banham, Editor at The-F.

“Instead of spending time and money on expensive flights, stick close to home and spend the extra dollars on wine, cheese, an award-winning restaurant or a zippy convertible for the weekend.

It’s also a great opportunity to discover more about your own backyard, and by supporting local businesses you’ll be putting the dollars back into your local economy. We’re spoilt for choice in Australia – there’s no excuse not to see it all.”

Feeling inspired but don’t have quite enough in the piggy bank just yet? Nimble offer small and medium loans and you can borrow money fast with our cash loans online. Happy holiday planning!

Quick heads up: The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post.

The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Great Weekend Activities for the Kids on a Budget

Finding activities to do with the kids on the weekend doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – or your sanity!  Here are some of our favourite indoor and outdoor activities that will keep the kids busy and be a whole lot of fun too, even if you’re on a budget.

INDOOR ACTIVITIES

Whip up a kitchen masterpiece

Teach the kids a thing or two about food, nutrition and cooking by spending a few hours in the kitchen together. If you often find yourself short for time during the week, you might even like to get a head start on meal prep for your dinner ideas for the week or lunchbox snacks that the kids can enjoy later. Get busy mixing and stirring, pouring and chopping – and don’t forget the good old lick of the spoon (for quality control of course)! As a reward, sit down and enjoy the tasty treats you’ve created.

Take it to the next level: Book the kids into some cooking classes. They will help to refine their cooking skills, allow them to learn more about nutrition and produce, mingle with other kids their age and express themselves creatively.

Release the artist within

Allow the children to let their imaginations run wild with some DIY arts and crafts. Not sure where to start? We recommend storing recyclable packaging in the lead up to the weekend such as egg cartons, milk bottles, cereal boxes and newspapers. Grab some masking tape, stickers, crayons, glitter (if you’re game) and more and see what masterpieces the kids can come up with. If you have some larger moving boxes handy you might even like to work on building a car, spaceship or any other mode of transportation you like for future playtime – the sky’s the limit! This is a great one for rainy days.

Take it to the next level: Enrol in a term of art classes. Not only will the kids be guided by an experienced teacher but they will have access to more materials and be able to get the messy bits out of the way while they’re out of the house!

Rally the troops for games night

A fantastic way to bring the family together without spending a fortune is to hold a games night. Classics such as Monopoly, Battleship, Guess Who and Uno are good ones to start with, and can be purchased without draining the savings too much on a visit to your local Big W, Kmart or Target. So what are you waiting for? Dust off your favourite board games and set of cards and get playing!

Take it to the next level:  Purchase a game console such as Xbox, or Playstation and some family friendly games. The big and little kids in your house will love this one, especially when the weather keeps you indoors.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Take a walk on the wild side

Put on your walking shoes and explore the great outdoors by going for a hike together. National parks are a great place to start, typically offering a few trails of varying lengths, conditions (i.e. pram friendly) and difficulties so you can find one that suits your needs. Refuel after the journey with a pre-packed picnic or bringing along ingredients and utensils for a barbecue if there are facilities you can use there.

Take it to the next level: Set yourself up with all the camping essentials such as a new tent, sleeping bags, cooking equipment and more and go for a long weekend away.

On your marks, get set – GO!

Revive the classic races from your primary school sports days such as the egg and spoon race or the three-legged race by holding your very own mini sports carnival. Use your own backyard if you’ve got the space or head down to your local park. This one is a great way to get the kids out of the house, especially for birthday parties or when they have friends over to play. Medals and certificates for each participant will make everyone feel like little champions for taking part in the festivities.

Take it to the next level:  Play a few rounds of mini golf or bowling, discover Go Karting or chase each other around at Laser Tag! There’s loads of different activity centres out there for children of all ages to enjoy.

Ride on two (or four) wheels

Get a good dose of vitamin D and fresh air by pulling out your favourite set of wheels and going for a ride on your local bike path.  Bring the bike, scooter, rollerblade or skateboard and necessary protective gear. Packing some snacks for pit stops along the way isn’t such a terrible idea either for treating hungry bellies.

Take it to the next level: Spoil your little ones with a new set of wheels. Not only is it great for getting them outside but it’s a fantastic way to get moving and spend time together as a family.

Wondering how to get money fast? Nimble loans could be a good option for you and your sanity with keeping the kids busy! Offering small loans for your short-term entertainment needs. Still looking for more ideas? Check out this blog post for some great holiday activities for kids.  

Quick heads up: 

The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Bored at work? We can help with these 4 techniques

It’s totally normal to go through peaks and troughs of motivation and boredom at work.

 

Heck, you’re there for most of your day and there’s a lot that can happen in those 8+ hours!

 

But if you’re feeling down about your day-to-day routine, you’re probably wanting to know: how do you put the spark back in your relationship with your 9-5?

 

The heavy stuff:

 

Some reports suggest that we’re facing a worldwide employee engagement crisis.

 

And in Australia, 60% of employees are disengaged from their workplace.

 

Here’s how you can take charge:

 

If you’re worried that you are feeling a little less in love with your job, perhaps try one of these 4 techniques:

 

  • Change the way you work. It could be something as simple as a new approach to doing things, changing up your morning routine or swapping your desk for a standing table and trying a different environment.

 

  • Look at the big picture and practice some good, old fashioned gratitude. Try writing down all the things you like about your job. Then go and do more of those things!

 

  • Take some time out and have a coffee with your work colleagues or your boss and ask about their weekend or their family.

 

  • Get creative and try something new – ask your boss if you can enrol in some online training and learn a new skill. It’s amazing how motivated you’ll be when you’ve got some new tricks up your sleeve.

 

work routine

 

Hopefully these helped boost your motivation!

 

However if you’re still struggling with all things work, it might be time to have a little chat with yourself and think about your options.

 

Life’s too short etc etc [insert your fave motivational quote here]!

Get off your phone this new year by using tech (and other methods).

It’s the new year.

 

You’re making resolutions left, right and centre.

 

You’re promising yourself you’ll be healthier, happier, or more productive (or all three, you beautiful overachiever, you).

 

You’re letting your friends know about it with the copious amounts of #newyearnewme hashtags on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… you name it.

 

But could that be a problem in itself?

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Look, we’re all guilty of scrolling through Facebook’s most recent activity, then jumping over to Instagram and having a little looksee and then going back over to Facebook to see if anything’s changed in the last 2 minutes.

 

But are you missing what’s happening in the #realworld by spending too much time on your phone?

 

If you’re at risk of having a permanently bent neck from looking at your smart phone (uh oh), cut down your social media use in the New Year.

 

Here’s how you can do it, with technology (oh, the irony):

 

  • Admit there is a problem. Like all addictions, this is the first step to rehabilitation. Cue the ‘social media is for you to use, don’t let it use you’ line. OK good. Moving on.

 

  • Track your time spent online with a good, old fashioned stopwatch. Luckily most smartphones have one available. Too much old-school action for you? Then download an app like Moment, which will track the time you spend on certain apps and set limitations for phone usage. If you exceed the usage, annoying push notifications will flood your screen. logo-404496b4cc10fe8de6d1ee8c6dbf6539
  • Edit your notifications. Remove the push variety from all your social networking sites. You don’t need a real-time play-by-play for the amount of likes you’re collecting for your latest meal flatlay, do you?

 

  • So you think you may just need a gentle, friendly nudge to steer you in the right direction? Stay on Task for Android very politely checks in with you to see if you’re still on task for any given time period / project. How quaint!

stay-on-task-app

 

  • Desperate times call for desperate measures? Straight up block distracting (or time-wasting) apps for games or social networking by using Offtime. You can tailor it to suit your downtime, family time or social time so you can still access your phone but without the distraction of the apps that set you back. Other goodies for this are Flipd and AppDetox if you want a more aggressive approach.

flipd

 

Finally, when you think you’re on the edge of jumping into your social channels, go outside. Take a deep breath. Spend some time with family or friends – you know, in the flesh.

 

Oh, and – Happy New Year!

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Quick heads up: The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post.

The above post contains links to a variety of application software (“App, Apps”) that is not affiliated or associated with Nimble. We do not have any control or responsibility over the content of the Apps. Use of the Apps may be subject to further terms and conditions imposed by the App provider, the owner of the mobile operating system and/or other related parties.   

The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Tech that totally saves time for parents

Raising a tiny human is tough. It’s also pretty time-consuming, what with the feeding and the crying and the holding and the extra housework. Who knew piles of dirty washing could grow that fast?

Since we’re all about using tech to save time, we wondered just how much time parents of the world could be saving if they swapped out the elbow grease for technology.

Here’s what we found

You could save time with grocery shopping

Our survey found that people who shopped online spent 20% less time doing their groceries than people who shopped in-store.

Spotlight on: Our Groceries Shopping List – Free, iOS & Android

our-groceries

Shopping entirely online isn’t the only way you can save time. Using tech to manage your shopping lists can save time, effort and cash. Dream come true? We think so. Create lists shared across all nominated devices, manage multiple shopping lists, cross items off with a tap, add photos of your fave brand of tomato paste, and browse meal ideas so you won’t spend all day staring at the options in the pasta aisle. Bonus: freak the kids out by having a list called “Tonight’s dinner” and put nothing but Brussels sprouts on there.

Other handy apps:

  • GrocerEaze – Free, iOS (building meal plans isn’t just for bodybuilders)
  • Woolworths – Free, iOS & Android (scanning your fave pantry items straight into your list? Heck yes)
  • Coles – Free, iOS & Android (shop on the app, get it delivered to your door. You don’t even get off the couch)
  • Aldi – Free, iOS & Android (because there’s nothing better than knowing where your nearest Aldi is at all times… and those Gummi Bears!)

 

You could save time on cooking

Pick your favourite meal to eat – how long do you spend preparing that? Now imagine you could eat that meal without any of the prep time. Order a meal or two via an app, and you could spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family.

Spotlight on: Foodora – Free, iOS & Android

foodora

Sure, everyone loves pizza. Now you can get pizza… plus literally any other food your hangry heart desires. All you have to do is sign up, pick your restaurant, place your order, then kick back and relax while you wait for it to arrive. LOL just kidding – you probably have a million things to do with and for you kids in the meantime. Go get them done, then enjoy a delicious meal (that you didn’t have to cook).

Other handy apps:

  • HelloFresh – Free, iOS & Android (more like hello family boxes full of fresh ingredients perfect for your pre-selected meals delivered straight to your door). We’ve personally used this and think it’s pretty darn great!

 

You could save time on household chores

We found that people who used apps to outsource household chores spend 98.5% less time actually doing the housework than people who do it all themselves. Sounds obvious, right? Well, you don’t have to outsource every single job to see the time come pouring back into your calendar.

Pick your least-favourite job (hands up if you hate mowing the lawn) and get a professional to come in and handle it. There’s an hour back in your weekend to watch Sally* play soccer or take Billy* to the park.

* Generic childrens’ names coming atcha.

Spotlight on: AirTasker – Free, iOS & Android

airtasker

Outsource like a pro with AirTasker. This app is a fast, easy gateway to a massive community of people who are offering jobs and services. Check out reviews of prospective workers and assign based on the offer you like best. The best part? Services are covered by insurance.

Other handy apps:

  • TradeEzi – Free, iOS & Android (because having a business directory for tradies at your fingertips is never a bad idea)

 

You could save time managing your finances

Who doesn’t love waiting in bank lines? Oh right – everyone. If you’re like us, you’re pretty keen on the idea of spending 20 minutes or less a week on your budgeting and banking.

Spotlight on: You Need A Budget – Free, iOS & Android

ynab

Seriously, though. You probably do need a budget, unless you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you’ll be building a house from old avocado skins. YNAB can track your spending, down to the last dollar… as terrifying as that may be. This one can take a bit of time to set up initially, and there is an annual fee to use the software once you’re past your free trial, but it’s well worth it once you have it all up and running.

Other handy apps:

  • Pocketbook – Free, iOS & Android (staying on top of your bills is depressing but apparently also pretty important)
  • Nimble (naturally – how else are you getting fast loans?)

 

You could save time…browsing Facebook?

Well, yeah, apparently. If scrolling through your newsfeed and posting pics of Sally kicking her first goal is eating up your day, use an app to help you kick the addiction. If the irony of using tech to escape tech isn’t too much for you to handle, you’ll probably be able to get back at least an hour or two each day.

Spotlight on: BreakFree – Free, iOS & Android

breakfree

If you’re all about that #productivity life right now, you’ll love BreakFree. It monitors phone usage and will let you know if you’re spending way too much time scrolling through your ex’s Facebook profile.

Other handy apps:

  • Forest – Free, iOS & Android (beating addiction is much more pleasant when you get to plant some pretend trees)
  • OFFTIME – Free, iOS & Android (data is life, even when the data is telling you that you have no life)

 

Raising the next gen of innovators and world-changers is a pretty cool job. And with all the sweet apps and tech now available, you can have even more time to watch them grow up.

 

Quick heads up: The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post.

The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

 

 

Time to tech up your travel plans?

The world isn’t going to see itself, right? If you’re ready to hop the next plane to, like, literally anywhere, you’re probably not too keen on spending hours on the details. Think searching for deals, researching destinations, finding accommodation in a part of town where you won’t get knifed and/or robbed – you know, all the stuff that kinda needs to be done before take-off.

Then, of course, there’s all the day-to-day necessities while you’re away from home. Money, language, local customs – every place is different, and nobody got time to thumb through a language handbook with a judgey waiter looking down their nose at them.

Enter: technology. From finding a bed while you’re on the go to lightning-fast translations, there’s an app to make almost every travel task faster and easier. 

Here are our faves:

Save time on getting local cash

Spotlight on: Currency App – Free, iOS & Android

currency

Forget flicking through your guidebook to make sure you’re not being ripped off – this streamlined app gives you the conversion rate you need in an instant. Calculating over 100 world currencies with the option of 17 different languages, Currency will have you haggling confidently in no time. Take that, Patpong Night Markets!

 

More nifty tech:

  • XE Currency – Free, iOS & Android (complete with historical charts, woo!)
  • Global ATM Locator (for street vendors who’ll only take cash)
  • Nimble (because sometimes you just have to treat yo’ self to that extra night)

 

Save time on pretending to speak the language

Spotlight on: Google Translate – Free, iOS & Android

google-translate

 

Avoid wasting time playing charades with the locals with this popular app. This bad boy can translate between 103 languages, and 52 languages when you have no internet (which can be pretty often when you’re exploring unknown lands). You can even take a photo of text and have it translated in 29 languages.

That means no more winging it in foreign restaurants – here’s to never accidentally ordering the bull’s testicles.

 

More nifty tech:

  • WayGo – Freemium, iOS & Android (a good Google Translate substitute for Japanese, Chinese and Korean text)
  • Voice Translator – Free, Android (because even your exploding Galaxy Note 7 speaks better French than you do)
  • Duolingo – Free, iOS & Android (if you actually want to learn some phrases before you go, you big nerd)

 

Save time on booking accommodation

Spotlight on: Hotels Near Me – Free, iOS & Android

hotels-near-me

 

Not only does this app save you time, it also saves you up to 50% off the cost of your accommodation. Have you ever found yourself wandering aimlessly around an unfamiliar city after a big night out, unsure of where to crash for the night?

Don’t waste your time calling every hotel until you find somewhere with a room available. Just keep this app on standby to search for your nearest hotels and enjoy the discount that comes with it.

 

More nifty tech:

  • Booking.com – Free, iOS & Android (because the $20 you save each night means more spicy noodle soup for your belly)
  • Oyster (these guys are like the private investigators of hotel reviews)
  • Hotel Tonight – Free, iOS & Android (for when Hotels Near Me comes up empty)

 

Save time on the actual travelling

Spotlight on: FlightAware Flight Tracker – Free, iOS & Android

 

flight-aware

 

You know what’s worse than having your flight delayed at the last minute? Nothing. Nothing is worse than that. Flight Tracker is a handy little gem that lets you track your flight in real-time. This means no time wasted travelling to the airport only to be met with an excruciating wait before take-off.

This also means those hours you would’ve spent reading trashy magazines in an airport can instead be enjoyed trawling boutique stores for souvenirs (or reading those trashy magazines on the beach).

 

More nifty tech:

  • Hopper – Free, iOS & Android (get an instant alert when the flight you want is cheaper)
  • Kayak – Free, iOS & Android (quickly find great deals on flights and car rentals)
  • iExit – Free, iOS & Android (you’ll never need to cross your fingers and hope that the next highway exit has toilets)

 

Save time on creating your itinerary

Spotlight on: Hitlist – Free, iOS

hitlist

When you’ve got a hundred dream destinations in mind and you’re not sure which to jet off to first, this app will lead you in the right direction. Enter your favourite destinations, your interests and your ideal travel dates, and Hitlist will notify you of the best deals that match your selections.

Put the mouse down and step away from the laptop – your endless nights of researching and watching for sales are over thanks to this app that does all the hard work for you.

 

More nifty tech:

  • Trip.com – Free, iOS & Android (because, you know, research is so 2015)
  • TripIt – Free, iOS & Android (step away from the printer and keep your entire itinerary in one place)
  • TripAdvisor – Free, iOS & Android (real-person reviews of pretty much errthang)

Tech yourself before you wreck yourself, fellow globetrotters.

 

 

Quick heads up: The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post.

The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. 

The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.

Moving house? The 12 things you might forget to budget for.

It’s all fun and games when you’re scouring realestate.com.au or Domain for the perfect abode…

…and you know you’ve got to label each box with the room and what’s inside, right?

But when it comes to the price of moving, there might be a couple of hidden costs.

So here’s our top tips for being a prepared mover and shaker:

  • We’re going to assume you’ve saved enough for a bond here. But did you know that you’ve also got to pay 2 weeks’ rent in advance as well? This cheeky little advance payment might catch some of you out if you’re not careful.
  • You’ll need to get your hands on some moving boxes. If you can, try and get some for free or cheap from buy, swap and sell pages rather than buying new from Bunnings or similar.
  • Like moving interstate isn’t hard enough, chuck in the removalist fee and you’re looking at upwards of $2,000. Recently, a friend of ours moved to Tasmania from the Gold Coast … and do you know how much 5 years’ worth of stuff cost to move? Over $3,500. Woah.
  • Sometimes it might just be easier to sell your current furniture and buy second-hand or cheap from the place you’re moving to. Worth a consideration!
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We’re going to fill this page up with really pretty doorways…

  • Use this moving time to get rid of unwanted or unused items! Hold a garage sale, post them to Gumtree, give them away to family or friends! Whatever you do, just cut back on unnecessary items because that will save you money in moving costs.
  • When you’re a week or two out from moving, log a mail redirection with Australia Post. For under $50 for 3 months’ worth of redirection, it’s well worth keeping track of the little yellow stickers that are attached when your mail redirects. That way, you know which places to update your details. You can also include people you’re moving with so their mail is included, too.
  • If you’re not moving far, hiring a van for a couple of hours and bribing your mates with some beers could be more economical than hiring a removalist.
  • Internet – y’all need that sweet, sweet wifi. You may have to pay a month or so in advance, so there might be a hidden (but unavoidable) spend there.
Much camouflage, very hidden, wow!

Much camouflage, very hidden, wow!

  • Electricity – if nothing else, you’ll need it to watch Game of Thrones or to see the delicious takeaway you’re eating (or both, at the same time). If you’re renting you may be eligible to pay for any light bulbs that blow while you’re a tenant as well.
  • Do you still have a landline (does anyone)? If you do, talk to your provider about switching it over to your new address as soon as you move.
  • Ask the previous owner / real estate some simple questions that might save you in the future. These can be things like, ‘what cleaning products should be used on the floors?’ or if you’re renting a furnished property, ‘what cleaning products should be used on any leather furniture’? That stuff can be exxy to replace.
  • And now to the most important topic: food! You’ll need to either a) fill the fridge with your groceries or b) buy takeaway for the first few nights. (Remember if you’re starting from scratch your first shop will be bigger than normal because you’ll have to stock up on the basics!)

But remember, moving house is meant to be a fun adventure! If you’ve moved recently, give us some of your best tips in the comments below!

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This is Hobbiton – just for funsies.

Quick heads up: The above links belong to a variety of websites and not Nimble, so clicking on, and using them, will take you away from Nimble’s website meaning we’ve got no control or responsibility over the content. Nimble does not endorse and is not affiliated or associated in any way whatsoever to the businesses named in this blog post. The information in this blog post is general information only and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  The information contained in this blog is correct at the date of publication.