“To help keep your bills under control next year, it’s a good idea to plan and budget in advance. One way to do this is to itemise your yearly salary against incoming and outgoing costs with a realistic pool of cash set aside for savings and unplanned expenses,” says Emma-Beth White-Reese, millennial money spokesperson for credit union CUA.
“When it comes to paying bills on time, consider scheduling your direct debit payments for the day after pay day. It’s also worth setting up a separate bank account just for your bills and repayments – and when you can, make proactive contributions to this account so you always have a little left over.”
“Having a consistent track record of paying off your bills can really help you in the long-term, especially when applying for a first home loan or requesting an increase to your existing credit limit,” added Emma.
Seven ways to slash your expenses in the new year
#1 Upgrade to energy efficient appliances
Installing or upgrading to energy-efficient home appliances is a worthwhile investment for both the environment and your back pocket. Paying extra for the energy efficient model could help you save big over the lifetime of your appliance and some even have government rebates and incentives. Brands such as Sanden can offer good savings on key energy costs, such as hot water.
#2 Consider how you approach buy now, pay later services
Buy now, pay later services may be convenient, but they’re also risky and could leave you worse off if not managed properly. If you have outstanding debt on these apps and aren’t keeping an eye on it, it could be racking up costs. Consider setting up strong realistic payment boundaries to slash these bills.
#3 Buy generic brands when you can
Long gone are the days of bland packaging and sacrificed quality, retailers and supermarket chains now have their own store brands that are as just as good, if not better, than the name brands you’ll pay double for. In fact, many offer a satisfaction guarantee and will refund or replace a product if you’re not 100% happy, perfect to keep the bills down.
#4 Buy second-hand
Thrifty bargain hunters aren’t the only ones turning to op shops these days. Second-hand marketplaces, such as Gumtree, offer some great deals on clothes, furniture and other items, sometimes at dramatically reduced prices. Consider shopping second-hand in the new year for any must-haves, especially after the Christmas sales.
#5 Look over your paperwork
The week after Christmas is usually a quiet period, so why not look over your insurance, superannuation, mortgage and bank paperwork to determine if you are really getting the best deal. Check out comparison websites to see which institutions have the cheapest premiums, or lowest rates and fees, and go from there.
#6 Be a water saver
Not only is water a hot commodity than needs to be saved, but it can also be expensive. Consider installing water-saving measures to taps, baths and showers, and installing a timer for the shower so all family members are out in 5 minutes flat. Only run washing machines and dishwashers when you have a full load, water plants in the early morning or late evening, and avoid washing cars and or spraying driveways unnecessarily.
#7 Pick your supermarket wisely
Consumer watchdog Choice just identified the cheapest supermarkets for obtaining groceries this Christmas, and Aldi came out on top as the most cost effective, followed by Woolworths then Coles. It might be time to consider shopping at the cheapest grocer in your area, or buying fresh produce from local markets – which usually works out to be cheaper.