Nobody likes bills, and many Australians report feeling increasing financial stress stemming on from the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. It’s a well-known fact that lots of ongoing expenses can wipe away your hard-earned income and often leave you with little to put towards savings or invest in the things you enjoy.
When it comes to spending less and saving more on our monthly household bills, it can feel tempting to bury our heads in the sand. The way we manage our money today is very different from the way money was managed in the past – with higher costs of living it’s becoming increasingly easier to spend money, and increasingly more complex to save money.
So what can you do to bring your bills down? In this article, we’ve outlined six quick and easy ways you can save money on fixed monthly expenses, and leave you with more cash in your back pocket:
1. Refinance your home loan
Refinancing your home loan could not only immediately save you money on monthly repayments, but thousands over the life of your home loan. Refinancing your home loan can help customers find a better interest rate and save you money in the short and long-term, consolidate debt into fewer payments, and depending on your loan terms, make additional repayments or access redraw when you need.
For example, if you had a $400,000 home loan balance repaid over 30 years at an interest rate of 3.00% p.a. your monthly repayments would be $1,686. Refinancing may seem a little intimidating at first, but refinancing to an interest rate as little as 10 basis points lower can significantly reduce the interest you pay on the loan and your monthly repayments.
2. Pay of your outstanding debts
“Hang on, aren’t I supposed to be saving money, instead of spending money?” If you’re one of the many Australians who are facing credit card debt, buy now, pay later debt, or numerous other types of personal loans, you may be getting extra in interest as a result.
These interest costs can often balloon out far more than the original amount you borrowed (and that’s without factoring in any late fees or lender penalties that might be incurred). Where possible, it’s always best practice to pay any debts down as much as you can to eventually save you in bills.
3. Use an offset account
An offset account is essentially a transaction account linked to your home loan. The money in your offset account is offset against your home loan balance when interest is calculated, bringing down your monthly repayments and the interest charged on the loan. This means the lender charges you less in interest because they are not charging you interest on the full, actual remaining balance of your loan.
Offset accounts are more commonly linked to a variable rate home loan, but they can also be linked to a fixed rate home loan. It’s a good idea to check with the lender to see what conditions or limitations may apply.
4. Consider going green
If you’re in the market for a new car, you may consider going for a low-emission or ‘green’ vehicle. These cars can save you money at the servo by being more fuel-efficient, or by going electric, prevent you from having to go at all.
Additionally, constructing or renovating a green home doesn’t only benefit the environment – living in a green home can improve our mental health, sense of home satisfaction and improve our quality of physical health. Having a green home can also save you significant amounts of money in the long run.
5. Find a home loan with lower fees
Finding a home loan with a low-interest rate is vital and can potentially save you thousands. But your efforts to do so could be nullified if your home loan has numerous expensive fees.
Home loans can have upfront fees like establishment fees, conveyancing fees, and government charges, and ongoing fees like redraw fees, and monthly service fees. These fees can add up quickly, especially if you have to pay them monthly, so always be sure to also check the comparison rate to reveal the true cost of the loan.
6. Avoid a loyalty penalty
Phone, internet, electricity, insurance, gas, water bills, the monthly list can feel endless sometimes. These bills are often due monthly or quarterly, and what makes many of them more expensive is the provider hiking up the price every time there is an automatic renewal of the service. However, by simply not automatically renewing, negotiating with your provider, or taking your business elsewhere, you can bring down your overall bills.
It does not pay to be loyal, but providers will often make money off of customers not bothering to shop around for the best deal. It’s arguably never been easier to switch providers than it is now, so if you’re not getting the best deal with your current provider, it can make a big difference looking to move to someone else.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended as legal, financial or investment advice and should not be construed or relied on as such. Before making any commitment of a legal or financial nature you should seek advice from a qualified and registered Australian legal practitioner or financial or investment advisor.