Bubble wrap and air fryers: unusual hacks to survive the cost of living surge

Bubble wrap and air fryers: unusual hacks to survive the cost of living surge

With inflation running at 7.3% the cost of living is getting higher. A sustainability expert from RMIT shares some ways to reduce spending on energy and food.

Alan Pears AM, Senior Industry Fellow 

Topics: cost of living, gas, electricity, energy use, food

“The cost of living is rapidly rising and we’re expected to pay more for the same products, but with no extra money at our disposal.” 

“Rising costs of energy will see electricity bills potentially increase by 50% over the next 12 months.” 

“To be able to afford these price rises, we must find ways of cutting back on our energy use.” 

“Here are some of my more unusual tips on how to save money on your bills: 

  • Use an air fryer and instead of your oven. Air fryers use half of the electricity, and you get the same result. 
  • Clean the filter of your heating and cooling systems. Expensive maintenance callouts are a preventable cost. Clogged filters reduce efficiency and output.
  • Check your hour-by-hour electricity usage on your energy provider’s website. You can review when you are using a lot of energy and hunt down the hiding energy waster: it could be a faulty fridge or an old TV that’s been left on.
  • Place bubble wrap over your glass windows. This helps keep your home insulated from extreme temperatures outside and reduces your need to use air con or heating. This tip might seem a little strange, but trust me, it works!”  

“Food prices are also rising by 8% a year. Our shopping budget is getting more expensive even though we’re still buying the same items.”

“Here are some tips to help you make your food and money go that little bit further: 

  • Meal prep and cook in bulk. It saves money and reduces the time you need to spend each night slaving away in the kitchen.
  • Freeze your food. It saves meals from going to waste and if you have something ready to go in the freezer, you’re less likely to default to takeaway. Defrosting food overnight in your fridge, rather than heating it in the microwave, also saves a lot of energy.
  • Shop around. Have a look at prices online and work out where the cheapest place to buy an item is.   
  • Check the unit cost to compare the price by weight of similar products. For example, it’s much cheaper to buy some fruits and vegetables separately rather than a plastic-wrapped or pre-chopped pack.”

Alan Pears AM is a Senior Industry Fellow at RMIT. Specialising in sustainability. He has advised on a number of panels and projects in the clean energy, planning, climate policy, green building and public education fields.


Interviews: Alan Pears, 0417 005 431 and alan.pears@rmit.edu.au

General media enquiries: RMIT Communications, 0439 704 077 or news@rmit.edu.au

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