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 their individual needs.”
Here are Abigail’s top life hacks to save over $4,755 in the next financial year.
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. During winter months you are likely to spend around $294 during the winter months to heat two large rooms to 20 degrees (for four hours a day for 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. Laptops, stereos, speakers, televisions and set-top boxes are the biggest contributors to your ‘stand-by power bill’. Every additional one watt of stand-by power will add approximately $2.98 to your annual electricity bill if left on all the time. 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 $2,090
- Trial offers. Circulate between gyms, yoga studios and classes by using their introductory offer at the discounted or free rate. Many yoga studios have $50 for 1 month for 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. “So many of us are guilty of this one,” Abigail says. “It seemed a good idea to waive that joining fee in exchange for an 18 month membership – but now you have six months left on a contract that you’re not using. Argh!” The solution is sell your contract to a friend who can avoid joining fees and take up the remaining payments.
Potential annual saving: $1,000 (based on a year at $75 per month)
Card tricks to save $318
- Smart Traveller. 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 worth of 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. Instead, plan ahead and place your estimated cab fare in a separate compartment of your wallet to avoid spending throughout the night. Note that some stores have a tap-and-go charge such as Aldi which 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. Save money by shopping online and stick to your list, make the most of specials without succumbing to in-store temptations. Forgo delivery, which costs up to $13 each time and Click and Collect. Abigail says, “Choose everything you want online and simply collect from the store checkout free of charge. 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 then 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 a pop, which could be better spent towards something more rewarding, like an end-of-year holiday. If you love to head out midweek, 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 cinema tickets for two every four weeks)
 http://www.sa.gov.au/topics/water-energy-and-environment/energy/saving-energy-at-home/check-and-reduce-your-energy-use/appliance-running-costs#title3 – based on using a 5kg vented clothes dryer three times a week