Appliances that chew through your money

Appliances that chew through your money

Are exorbitant power bills killing your buzz? Rather than relying on your credit card or savings account to pay your electricity provider, consider changing your power consumption. 

By targeting appliances that chew through electricity, you might be able to drive down your monthly bills, putting more money in your pocket (or your savings account.)

The main offenders

 

Appliance Typical consumption per hour Cost Per Hour
(at 10 cents per
kilowatt-hour)
Air conditioner/heat pump 15,000 watts $1.50
Clothes dryer/water heater 4,000 watts  40 cents
Water pump 3,000 watts  30 cents 
Space heater  1,500 watts 15 cents
Hair dryer 1,500 watts  15 cents
Refrigerator 1,000 watts  10 cents

Source: SparkEnergy.com

Topping their list of the highest appliance wattages are central air conditioner/heat pumps (15,000 wattage use), costing roughly $1.50 per hour and clothes dryers (4000 wattage use) at 40c an hour.

Dishwashers (1200-2400), clothes irons (1000–1800), vacuum cleaners (1000–1440), toasters (800–1400), portable heaters (750–1500) and hair dryers (1200–1875) are also high offenders.

How is over-consumption of energy measured? 

These energy-guzzling appliances are judged by typical wattage consumption for everyday appliances and the average cost of running them per hour. It is important that you take into account the usage of each appliance, the wattage and the operating settings when trying to cut down on your electricity bill. 

However, saving on energy doesn’t mean you have to go without your game console, wear crumpled shirts to work or let your hair dry naturally (though these are, of course, options). There are ways to use your favourite appliances more efficiently – which in return, will save you money.

Switch it off

Leaving mobile phone, laptop and tablet chargers plugged into the wall with the power on could be running up your electricity bill even when you aren’t utilising them. Getting into the habit of switching off ‘all’ electrical appliances and chargers can help drive down your power bill as appliances, such as your plasma screen television, still use energy even when on standby mode. 

Cutting big item costs down

Most Australians couldn’t live without their microwaves, fridges and washing machines. Luckily you don’t have to – there are ways to manage these big items so you consume less energy and alleviate the pressure on your bank account.

Fridges are a staple appliance in Aussie households, one you can’t switch off periodically. But you can save money on the electricity it uses by controlling its temperature. Energy Australia recommends keeping your fridge temperature between 4-5 degrees and your freezer set at -15 and -18 degrees celsius. 

Recently NSW.gov released their Appliance Replacement Offer, which means that eligible members of the public willing to switch to a more energy efficient appliance (i.e. a new fridge or a new plasma television) will now be entitled to up to half the cost of the appliance being covered by the government. With energy efficient fridges saving between $100 to $200 a year, this may be an investment worth making for some. 

While microwaves use less electricity than ovens, it’s still wise to leave your food in the fridge to thaw instead of using the microwave.

When you are using the oven, try to leave your oven door alone. Each time you don’t open the door to peek a look at your baked goods the more money you’ll be saving. 

As for cleanliness, Energy Australia advised it’s best to only run washing machines and clothes dryers on full loads. Another hot tip is to avoid hot water! You’ll save on energy costs by using cold water when washing your clothes.  

How you’re protected

Following a 2014 report from the Grattan Institute by Tony Wood and Lucy Carter which purported that Australians were paying unfair prices on energy bills, procedures of reform are in motion. The Coag Energy Council, who are responsible for pursuing priority issues and key reforms in resources and energy sectors nationally, proposed a National Energy Guarantee (NEM) that “aims to support the provision of reliable, secure and affordable electricity with a focus on ensuring:

  • the reliability of the system is maintained

  • electricity sector emissions reductions needed to meet Australia’s international commitments are achieved

  • the above objectives are met at the lowest overall costs.”

    The Energy Security Board (ESB) recently published a consultation for the draft design of the Guarantee (15 February 2018). To find out more on the NEM click here. In the meantime, if you think that you are paying too much for your energy supplier, it doesn’t hurt to shop around and see what other options may be available to you.

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Learn more about bank accounts

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account?

A debt collector can garnish your bank account, but only with a court order. This drastic action is usually taken only if you’ve ignored several notices asking you to pay the debt.

If this happens, there is nothing you can do to stop it other than immediately pay back your what you owe in full or make arrangements to pay it off in installments.

Once a garnishee order is issued, your bank will put a freeze on your account as it processes the order. This usually takes two to three days and you won’t be able to access any of your money during this time.

If you have Centrelink payments, they may be protected, depending on what the court order says.

Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?

Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.

If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.

Can I start a bank account online?

Yes, most lenders that operate in Australia will let you set up a bank account online. The process is usually simple and takes five to 10 minutes. You will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary identification. Requirements differ from lender to lender, so some institutions might ask for more or different forms of ID.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How can I find bank accounts in my name?

To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.

Can you open a bank account at 16?

Yes, you can open a bank account at 16, or even younger. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

Can I open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

Can Centrelink access your bank account?

Yes, Centrelink can access your bank account, but only if you give them a reason to. Centrelink uses data-matching software with other federal government agencies to help it crack down on welfare cheats.

This is why it’s important to give true and matching information to all government agencies.

For example, if you report to Centrelink your annual income is $25,000, but at tax time you report your income as $50,000 with the ATO, it’s likely you’ll be ‘red flagged’.

At this point, Centrelink can legally request that your bank hand over your personal bank account details, to review your finances.

In most cases, Centrelink does not have the authority to take money out of your account. You will usually be given written notice to repay the debt.

However, Centrelink can also reduce your benefits until you’ve paid back what you owe. In extreme cases, Centrelink can garnish your wages and assets (including money in your bank account) until your debt is repaid.

How do you delete your bank account from PayPal?

Deleting your bank account from PayPal is a simple three-step process:

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  • Choose the account you’d like to delete
  • Click ‘Remove bank account’

How can I check my bank account balance online?

Checking your bank account balance online is a simple process. Once you’ve logged in to your online banking, clock on the relevant account and the balance should be visible.