The Small Switch Challenge proves that tiny bandwidth changes can bring great benefits.
This task of the Small Switch Challenge is exactly what is written on the can: switch (or replace) to a cheaper solution. The idea is that with a little creativity thinking and little change in how you do thingsyou can save money.
Here’s how it works
Write a list of everything you spend money on (well, well, some of the things you spend money on!). Now think about whether you can make a more budget switch. Your switch doesn’t have to be huge – that’s why it’s called the Small Switch Challenge, not, um, a big challenge… but if you can make a bigger switch, go and do it!
Write down the replacement and (wait for it) apply it. Try keeping up with the switches for a whole month and then re-evaluate. Some you will save, others will not feel worth it, but overall you are guaranteed to save money.
You will be amazed at how many things you can easily save money on during the Small Switch Challenge. Here are just 10 ideas for replacements that you can try.
1. Change purchases
Switch where you shop and save. Even if you don’t change what you buy just by changing where you buy can cut your grocery bill by about a third. That’s about $ 131 a month. Find out how it works here: Try the Discount Grocery Challenge to save money all year round
2. Switch the water
Instead of buying bottled water if you have access to drinking water, drink tap water. Maybe buy a water filter or Soda Stream if you like sparkling water.
If you are outdoors, fill a bottle with water and take it with you. You can also fill the water with lemon or iced tea.
What are the savings? According to the University of Queensland, tap water costs about $ 3 per 1,000 liters, compared to bottled water, which is about $ 3 per liter. It is 1000 times more expensive.
So instead of buying a bottle of water for about $ 4 every day, drink from the tap and save an impressive $ 122 a month.
3. Switch your books
For book lovers, the fix can be expensive. I enjoyed downloading books on my Kindle. But when I did a recent check of my expenses, I realized I was spending $ 30 a week, which is $ 130 a month. So now I have joined my local library and borrowed a piece of books and ebooks for free.
Better yet, I never risk spending money on a book I don’t like.
4. Switch your entertainment
Same for movies and music. Instead of paying for a subscription service, I use ABC iView and eMusic services of my new library. This includes movies and music from the Sony catalog.
It saves me about $ 17 a month.
5. Switch news
Does anyone else get a paper copy of the newspaper? Or you can pay for an online subscription. This Small Switch Challenge idea means you don’t have to do either.
Instead, use the local library or find a free online newspaper or blog with similar content.
I like podcasts with news and current affairs – and, better yet, I can listen to times when I can’t read, such as when I’m walking, cooking, or driving.
Switching newspaper delivery can save about $ 70 a month.
6. Change your diet
Try “Mondays without meat” – and at the same time help reduce carbon emissions. On average Australians eat 89.6 kg of meat every year, and Aldi estimates it costs about $ 10 per meal. If you replace vegetarian food only once a week, the difference could save you about $ 30 a month.
7. Switch your holidays
This may be the most interesting thing if you are going to practice the Small Switch Challenge: replace a weekend getaway with a camping trip. If you don’t have camping gear – don’t worry. Maybe you can borrow from a friend or family member, and there are many places to rent camping gear.
If you are more interested in glamping than camping, why not hire a camper? You can hire from companies or private owners through websites like Camp.
While the cost of a home can be around $ 200 a night, a cabin can cost about half as much, and a campsite with electricity can cost about half. So for a two-day vacation you can save $ 100.
8. Switch vehicles
Instead always behind the wheel of your car, choose substitutes. Take public transport, ride with a friend, book a ride, walk, scooter or bike.
Management can also be expensive when considering fuel, oil, maintenance, depreciation and wear and tear of your vehicle. If we use the Australian Tax Service benchmark, this cost is around $ 0.72 per kilometer. The average vehicle travels 36.4 km a day – that’s $ 26.21 a day.
So if you could reduce that by just one-third, you could save $ 263 a month.
9. Change the nanny
If you have children, save money by arranging a babysitter exchange with a friend rather than always hiring a babysitter. You get free parenting, and you get some personal time or time for the couple.
The average cost of a babysitter is about $ 22 an hour – so for an evening it could be $ 110. Let’s say you only do it once a month – just by changing your time, you’ve saved $ 110.
10. Switch the light on
Replace halogen bulbs with LED ones. LEDs consume about 75 percent less energy than halogen, and last 5-10 times longer. They can save the family about $ 650 in 10 years on electricity bills.
You may even be able to get financial incentives to replace old light bulbs with LEDs. NSW Government Energy saving scheme subsidizes the cost of LED fixtures and installation fees.
Potential savings if you follow the Small Switch Challenge
If you make only the 10 switches I outlined above, for the month where the call is made, you will save up to $ 973. It’s in one month.
If you manage to follow 10 changes, you will save $ 11,676 annually.
For me, it’s 11,676 reasons to find even more switches to search and act.