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Getting back to basics is the new black.

In fashion, food and life there’s a back to basics trend getting around!

By basics we mean simple, versatile options that can be easily added to in order to dress them up. For people on a budget, a focus on covering the basics can really help to stretch their dollar further.

Below are a few ways to get back to basics to save some money or explore low budget alternatives.

Whip up a basic meal

  • When it comes to a meal, it doesn’t get much more basic than instant noodles. Try turning this into a healthier, heartier meal with a few budget friendly options like spicing it up with some chilli flakes for an additional kick or adding in frozen vegetables and soy sauce to enhance the flavour. Cutting down on meat is also a great way to save money at the supermarket. Try a vegetable spag bol. Instead of using mince and pasta, opt for zucchini spaghetti and throw in some mushrooms and baby spinach for extra vegetable goodness. Eggplant Parmigiana is a brilliant and cheap vegetarian alternative to lasagne, get stuck in to layers of slow-cooked tomato, cheese and eggplant – yum!

Eat fresh, eat healthy

  • Changing the way you cook can make a dramatic difference to your weekly food spend, especially if you remove processed foods from your grocery shopping. There are hundreds of online communities with endless recipes of healthy, cheap basics as well as support and shopping guides to keep ongoing food costs down. Some enterprising cooks do all their food prep in one day and make enough meals to store in their freezer for a month.

Swap when you shop

  • This option is great if you don’t like to change what you already buy. Most supermarket chains have an app which shows what items are on special that day. Add your favourite items, particularly the more expensive or bigger value items into a list on your supermarket shopping app on your mobile. Doing regular scans across your list will show you when most of your bigger items are on sale. By choosing to go shopping at those times, you can save money on your regulars or stock up on more expensive items at the times when they are cheapest. If you go towards the end of that day, you might also pick up some deals across discounted items from the bakery, deli and other fresh food sections.

Op shop not top shop

  • Op shopping may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's important to keep an open mind. These stores of donated materials have plenty to choose from, and often the money from the resale of those items goes towards helping charities. There are loads of savings to be made on kitchenware, homewares and fashion. Stick to buying just the basics and you’ll find plenty of ways to save instead of purchasing new items.

Work your basic assets

  • If you have some assets sitting around you might be able to put them to good use. Did you know that cars spend the majority of their time parked? There are services available which can help you make some additional money from your car, for example by renting out your parking space or even by letting approved background checked drivers rent your car. Maybe you have some items hanging around that could be sold online? Think about what you are no longer using that might be turned into cash through either rent, sale or otherwise. 

There are plenty of ways you can strip it back to the basics. It may be difficult, but it’s important to remember that what you save can be put towards way cooler things like festival tickets, travelling, saving up for a house deposit or those renovations you’ve been itching to get started on. Whatever your goal, knowing what you’re saving for will really help you to justify getting back to basics and pinching those pennies.


This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to these matters and the product terms and conditions. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication. We do not recommend any third party products or services and we are not liable in relation to them.

Cheap meal ideas