COVID-19: Spending less on Personal Care

Published on May 1, 2019 9:37 pm, by

In the overall scheme of things, Personal Care is usually a minor part of most people’s spending, but it certainly doesn’t mean there are no savings opportunities! In fact, given that for most people it will be ‘lifestyle’ or ‘discretionary’ expenses it may be relatively easy to make some compromises and save some money.

One important issue is making sure you track your Personal Care spending accurately. If you pop cosmetics and other such items in the trolley at the supermarkets, it can be hidden and mixed in with your Grocery spend. If you want to shine a spotlight on your spending in the Personal Care category we suggest that you either do this part of your shopping as a separate transaction or split the transaction. Here is the FAQ for how to split the transaction:

For all Personal Care spending, just like all spending, the keys to spending less are:

  • Understand what you’ve spent and what you spent it on in the past. Use your Spending Reports in the MoneyBrilliant app to do this
  • Set a budget for what you want to spend in the future and track your spending
  • Be on a constant lookout for ways to spend less on the things you’ve decided you need

We’ve set out some tips below on how to save by sub-category. If you have other tips, ideas and hacks feel free to pass them on to us by email at or post them on our Facebook page or in one of our coaching program Facebook Groups.

Personal Care

Spending on Personal Care can vary significantly. To spend less, first follow the general tips outlined above for all Personal Care spending.

Once you’ve decided what you need to spend and what you need to spend it on, the key is to get the best possible value for your money. This generally means:

  • Finding the cheapest retailers for Personal Care items
  • Buying at the best possible times – essentially when things are on sale
  • Using any opportunities for discounts that you have

Based on our research, the cheapest retailers of Personal Care items is Chemist Warehouse. Chemist Warehouse has a price matching policy and will give you a 10% discount on the competitor’s price. So even if they aren’t the cheapest they will be the cheapest!

To buy at the best possible times and take advantage of things that are on sale you need a clear idea of the items you need and their standard retail prices. Keep an eye on the catalogues for sales. We reckon the easiest way to do this is to use an online site like Lasoo which makes catalogues available online.

Finally, there are lots of different discounts available and many of them depend on your personal circumstances. You need to master taking advantage of them. Find more information about buying discounted gift cards here.

Gym & Fitness

Most gyms are expensive. But you should also consider gym expenses as an investment in your health. The key to spending less is to:

  • Make sure you are getting value for your gym expenses – if you aren’t using your gym membership then start using it or cancel it! Paying for it and not using it is the worst possible scenario.
  • Get the best value option you can find
  • Make use of cheaper or even free exercise options

To make sure you are getting good value for your gym membership think about how often you go to the gym and the cost per visit. If the cost per visit is high, you should think about two approaches to reducing it. Either visit more often (which won’t bring down the overall cost but will probably give you health benefits) or reduce the overall cost by looking for a cheaper option. To reduce the overall cost think about these options:

  • Ask your gym for a better deal – many gyms will negotiate membership fees, even if they don’t advertise that fact. They’ll want to keep you as a member rather than lose you completely
  • Ask around and see what others pay for the same gym, then ask the gym to match that price
  • Do a search online to see if anybody is trying to offload their contract at a reasonable price
  • Get the plan that most suits you – for example, some gyms offer off-peak memberships depending when you will visit
  • If you have health insurance, see if your insurance gives you any rebate on the gym and other memberships. For example, NIB offers 15% discount to some gyms
  • If you work in the corporate sector, often gyms will give you a corporate discount

If you decide to cancel your gym membership please have a read of this document. There are some traps to doing this so make sure you know exactly what it will cost you and what you might lose.

If you are thinking about joining a gym or changing gyms be mindful of when you join. Are you caught up in a New Year’s Resolution, a discounted joining fee or somebody else’s excitement? Take the time to think about it before you sign a contract because six or 12 months can be a long time to pay for something that you really don’t use. We suggest asking the gym for a trial or sussing out short term membership so you can see whether you’re committed enough to go often enough to make the outlay worth it. Follow the tips outlined above to make sure you get the best value for money.

Hair & Grooming

We expect that for most people this is where expenses for things like hair cuts, other hairdressing, manicures, pedicures, and spa treatments are categorised. In general, it’s a relatively small part of most people’s spending, but again it is largely ‘lifestyle’ or ‘discretionary’ expenditure so there may be good opportunities for savings.

We’d suggest an approach based on:

  • Understanding what you currently spend and what you spend it on. Use Spending Reports in the MoneyBrilliant app to do this
  • Reviewing how important this is to you – if it’s really important then be prepared to spend more. But you should still look for the best value for the money you will spend
  • If it’s not that important that learn to be comfortable with spending less. Set yourself a budget and find the cheapest options and best value for the money you will spend

In either case, check to see if your salon has off-peak pricing. If that’s not an option and you still want to spend less, then maybe you can draw out your visits a little longer. Instead of going every 4 weeks, go every 6 weeks or instead of going every 6 weeks go every 9 weeks. Over time these savings will add up. There is also the option of once a year going somewhere amazing and then visiting somewhere that offers more value for money in-between times to maintain that amazing cut that you’ve been given.

You should also consider at-home options and if you really don’t mind where you go, check out what’s available locally. Going the extra distance might be worth it if you save $10 or $20 each time.


Refer to the guidance for the general Personal Care category outlined above.


Refer to the guidance for the general Personal Care category outlined above.

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is certainly a convenient way of cleaning clothes, particularly those that say “dry cleaning only”. However, if you would rather clean your clothes at home, for a fraction of the cost, it is entirely possible. We suggest doing your own research, but from ours – hand washing or a very gentle cycle in a washing machine followed by lying clothes out to dry will suffice in most instances. We suggest confirming that’s a good idea for your garment and fabric type though.

If you plan on heading to a dry cleaner try the following

  • Check your memberships for discounts, for example, Lawrence Dry Cleaners offers 20% off with the Entertainment Book
  • If you have multiple items, ask for a discount
  • Ask for their best price, dry cleaners may negotiate particularly if there are a few in the area


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Peter is the CEO of MoneyBrilliant. He has over 20 years experience in banking, insurance and accounting. Peter has three sons, ranging in age from 16 to 3, is a sport and fitness fanatic and a volunteer firefighter. He is passionate about improving people's lives through making financial services more accessible.

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