Recessionista challenge: Save $100 in a week

By Melina Byrne 

Convinced she couldn’t control her spending, we challenged our resident Recessionista, Melina Byrne, to save $100 in a week. But she surprised us by saving double that and didn’t even work up a sweat…

Here are 7 ways I saved money without giving up the finer things in life:

1.  Stopped impulse spending

Sometimes (okay, quite often), I go into a newsagency intending to buy a bus ticket. But instead I come out with a bus ticket, magazine and chocolate bar. This type of impulse shopping is a real danger, because small purchases add up to large sums over time.

This week, I didn’t buy a Cosmo mag ($7.40) or anything else ($2.50), so came out $10 ahead.

Top Tip: If you’re a magazine junkie, yearly subscriptions are more cost-effective. Magshop is currently offering 12-month Cosmo subscriptions for $59.95 – a saving of $28 per year. And for a limited time, you can subscribe to both Cosmo and Cleo magazine for $99.95, saving $76.00. For more bundle deals, go to

2.  SMS savings

I always save money by using SMS Pup ( to send free SMS. To use it, you register for free and then receive SMS points for completing online surveys and viewing email promotions.

This week, I sent 46 free SMSes. Generally, they cost 22 cents each. So that’s a total saving of just over $10.

3.  Great-value groceries

Supermarkets also bring out the impulse shopper in me. To combat this, my husband and I use Coles Online. We save around $30 a week when I don’t take home half of the beauty aisle, or ‘adopt’ the confectionary that cries out to be eaten in the checkout queue.

4. Free movie ticket

As it was my birthday, I received a free ticket to La Premiere at Hoyts Cinemas. All I had to do was sign up at the Hoyts website and then show photo ID at the cinema to prove it was my birthday. Also at La Premiere, you receive complimentary popcorn and soft drink so the savings keep flowing.

Total savings: $33 for the movie ticket. $25+ on food and drink.

5.  Bargain book

After being so frugal, I had some cash to burn. So I went to the Lifeline Preloved Book Fair at Randwick Racecourse. There, I hit the bargain jackpot with a $4 copy of the Versace Sisters, a 2009 chick lit book that currently retails at $24.95 at Dymocks.

Total saving: $20 – plus good karma for donating to charity.

Other savings:

6.  Brought my own lunch and snacks to work. I estimate I saved $15 a day. Total weekly saving: $75

7.  Ditched my caffeine habit so instead of buying takeaway hot drinks ($2.50), I sipped tap water for free. Saving: $12.50.


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