Just as New Year is a time for reflection and planning a ‘new you’, the new financial year offers a chance to review our financial health and potentially cut a raft of unnecessary costs. Abigail Koch, spokesperson at comparethemarket.com.au says, “The simplest things can save a huge amount of money over a year. We encourage Australians to compare all of their providers – from energy, insurance, telcos and credit card companies – at least every 12 months to select the most cost effective and appropriate plans to meet your individual needs.”
Energy to burn? Save $1,315 on energy usage alone
Second fridge insanity
Do you really need that second fridge in the garage keeping a couple of bottles of beer cool? Sell the fridge and save around $170 a year in energy bills.
Potential annual saving: $170 plus add approximately $100 for the fridge itself
Turn down the heat
Reduce the temperature on your reverse-cycle airconditioner by one degree to cut your electricity bill by around 10 per cent. You are likely to spend around $294 during the winter months to heat two large rooms to 20 degrees (for four hours a day, three months of the year.) Drop this to 19 degrees to save.
Potential annual saving: Save $29.
Make the most of energy discounts.
Energy companies are offering as much as 35% off of their energy usage costs in an attempt to win more business. Online comparison services can help you find the cheapest energy plan in your area. Even if you have to pay early exit fees, it could be worth switching to save hundreds of dollars over the year.
Potential annual saving: $672 (based on a 35 per cent saving on an annual electricity bill for a householder in Melbourne)
Turn it off at the switch.
Laptops, stereos, speakers, televisions and set-top boxes are the biggest contributors to your ‘stand-by power bill’. Turn off your stereo, games console, TV, printer, washing machine, pay TV or set-top box at the wall to achieve the saving below.
Potential annual saving: $78
Turn your back on the dryer
Ditch your dryer and use the clothes line to dry your clothes.
Potential annual saving: $266 on your electricity bill.
Exercise caution and save $1,540
Circulate between gyms, yoga studios and classes by using their introductory offers. Many yoga studios have $50 for one month of unlimited classes, compared to membership of around $80/month. Try a few studios to find the one you like best.
Potential annual saving: For three months of trial yoga $90
Start a walking or running group.
Exercise for free and receive motivation from your group.
Potential annual saving: $1,000 (you don’t have to spend on a gym membership)
Continuing a gym membership despite never going.
Abigail says. “It seemed a good idea to waive that joining fee in exchange for an 18 month membership – but with six months to go, you’re not using the gym. Argh!” The solution is to sell your contract to a friend who can avoid joining fees and take up the remaining payments.
Potential annual saving: $450 (based on fees of $75 per month)
Card tricks to save $318
When abroad, always pay in the local currency when you’re offered the choice of Australian dollars or Euros, for example. If you choose Australian dollars – which most of us automatically do – then the little known Dynamic Currency Conversion fee will kick in costing you 5.5% on top of your purchase.
Potential annual savings: $110 based on $2000 on purchases during two overseas holidays
Don’t use your card to pay your cab fare.
PayPass is an easy way to pay that Saturday night cab fare, but a 10 per cent surcharge applies. Take cash for your taxi trip home. Note that some stores have a tap-and-go charge –Aldi charges 0.5% for this form of payment.
Potential annual saving: $208 (Based on 2 x $20 cab fares per week)
Daily life hacks to save $1,032
Shop online but collect yourself.
Abigail says, “Do you grocery shop online but collect from the store checkout free of charge and save up to $13 a pop. If you have to opt for delivery, try choosing an off-peak delivery time for a cheaper fee.”
Potential annual saving: $676 (based on a $13 weekly delivery fee)
Make the most of health insurance discounts.
Keep your eyes peeled for health insurance funds that offer a discount if you pay by direct debit as some offer up to 4% off of your annual premiums. If you’re on a family policy paying an average $3500 a year, this saving can make a big difference.
Potential annual saving: $140
Paying full price on date night.
Sure, it’s fun to do something special with your partner every week. However, it’s easy to spend $100 on a night out. If you love midweek date nights, try sourcing a phone or energy supplier that offers rewards such as discounted cinema tickets. Telstra currently offers $11 movie tickets to its customers plus 10 friends.
Potential annual saving: $216 (based on $9 savings on two cinema tickets, every four weeks)
Comparethemarket.com.au is a comparison website making it easier and quicker for Australians to compare and buy products and services they rely on in their everyday lives. Whether you’re looking for a good deal on your car insurance, private health insurance, or home and contents insurance; or the lowest fuel prices in your area, or an energy provider that suits your needs, then go to comparethemarket.com.au. It’s a completely free service and enables Australians to make purchasing decisions with greater knowledge, confidence and savings.