Searching for a Mother’s Day gift your mum will actually use? Here are some options – all of them discounted.

To get her off to a running start (or at least a walking start), catch.com.au has a lots of reduced sports shoes, including mesh Skechers (in black and white and combinations thereof). Cushioned sole, slim profile, not plastered with logos – and you’ll save between $35 and $59 per pair.

If she loves perfume, how about you gift her a perfume-making workshop for $99, which is $26 off the usual price. Or a Seafood BBQ cooking class at the fish markets, $45 off. Both of those are in Sydney but you can have a look at Red Balloon for discounted activities in your area.

Or forget the cooking and let someone else prepare a luxe high tea. Groupon has a range of options that could save you up to $55 for the pair of you.

Highway robbery

In an article for news.com.au, the ACCC confirmed that petrol prices are the highest they’ve been since 2015, with most of the price increases going into retailers’ pockets. Their advice for avoiding being completely gouged is to buy at the lowest point in the petrol price cycle (which they say can save up to 30 cents per litre). At that rate, on a modern 60-litre tank you could save $18 every time you fill up.

You could also consult petrol price apps which can shave up to 10 cents per litre the ACCC says, (one example being Motormouth). And they also suggest you boycott overpriced retailers in favour of lower-cost outlets such as United, 7/11 and Woolworths.

A J Wilson from Savings Guide has published his own research to add to the ACCC’s tips, and another independent source that might be helpful is Petrol Spy which has people reporting where the cheap petrol is.

Scammers breaking hearts and wallets

After a story this week in The Age, about how Aussies have been ripped off to the tune of $6m this year by romance scammers, we direct you to another useful ACCC website – Scamwatch.

Scammers have all kinds of regular cons which the ACCC outlines and which you should be aware of, given that in 2017 Australians lost more than $90 million in total to scammers, the most common being investment scams.

Tell your parents too – older people are commonly targeted.

How walking the dog will save you money

Changing habits one at a time is what money saving is all about, and MoneySmart’s “Change one habit and save” page has some good suggestions to explore.

One is to cancel your gym membership and try cheap or free ways to get fit instead. According to Canstar Blue, Australians spend an average of $73 per month on gym memberships, or $876 over a year. And lots of us don’t end up using the gym half as much as we’d planned.

Walking the dog

Cancel your gym membership and try cheap or free ways to get fit instead

When you look into alternatives to the gym, think of ways that fit with your life, and that have added incentives beyond fitness – like walking the dog with your partner or kids so it allows you more family time. Or bushwalks that remind you how good it feels to be in nature. That way, you’re more likely to keep it up.

Loved-up partners should still keep finances separate

Money Magazine journalist Effie Zahos had some money-saving advice for women when she appeared on the Today show this week – keep your financial independence in your relationship. It’s important advice, given 2012 research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies which found that equivalised household income after divorce declined for women but not for men, and that divorced women with dependent children in particular found it difficult to recover their income post-divorce. Go in with your eyes open, is the takeaway.

And finally, following from the news that phone plans are likely to drop in price in the not-too-distant future, bargain hunters should check whatphone’s hot offers for this month – scroll down the page to see $4.90/month for a Kogan plan ($45 off the regular price for new customers).