How’s your credit card looking after doing all the Christmas shopping? Have you made yet another New Year’s resolution to be better with your money? Whatever your situation, we could probably all do with spending a little less and saving a little more.
How to save money on bills
Avoid the lazy tax
If you’ve been with a particular provider for a while, shop around for a better deal before you continue doing business with them to avoid paying the ‘lazy tax’. It’s also worth asking your current provider what they can do to keep your business. Do some research before your policy is due to auto-renew. What you’ll get as an existing customer is unlikely to be as good a deal as what you’ll get as a new customer.
With international travel off the cards, many Aussies are planning to travel at home this year. Domestic travel insurance is unlikely to cover you for COVID-19 or related travel bans. Remember the bushfires that extinguished our summer holidays last year? Well, this year, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology is predicting floods.
If you’ve paid a lot for your Aussie holiday, are hiring a rental car, or travelling with sporting equipment, you can get good value out of domestic travel insurance. But if you’ve scored a budget airfare and cheap accommodation, you might be better off claiming what you can from the airline and accommodation provider if things go awry.
Don’t pay more in fees than you have to. If you call your credit card company just before the annual fee is due and threaten to cancel the card, they may just waive it. And if you’re paying a lot of interest, switch to a low-interest credit card.
Beat the bowser blues by doing your homework on when and where to fill up your car, and check out sites like MotorMouth which tell you which service stations currently have the lowest rates.
How to make your money go further
If you’re a pensioner or hold a Health Care Card or Seniors Card, find out what benefits you can get through your local, state and federal governments or businesses. You may be able to get concessions on transport, motor vehicle registrations, rates, utilities, medications and medical supplies, animal registrations, events and movie tickets. You may also be able to have your credit card fees wiped when paying bills. Don’t hesitate to ask if any business or service offers reductions based on your having one of these cards.
When shopping online, especially for hotels or clothes, search around for a discount code or coupon (e.g. “hotels.com.au discount code”). New promo codes pop up all the time and there’s a bunch of websites that keep track of them. If you’re willing to sacrifice your email address, you can often get 5–10% off by signing up to a newsletter (and once that code lands in your inbox you can always smash the unsubscribe button).