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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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Personal Finance Editor Alex Ritchie before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about bank accounts

How can I wire money to a bank account?

You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

Can you open another account at the same bank?

Yes, you can open another account at the same bank if you already have an account there, but some banks place a limit on how many specific accounts you can open.

Generally, though, it is possible to have more than one everyday account, one personal account and one joint account, or have different types of accounts – such as a transaction account and a savings account.

Keep in mind that some bank accounts come with fees, so you could be charged twice for having two types of the same account at the same bank.

Also, if you have more than one high-interest transaction account at the same bank, only one account will be able to earn the highest rate of interest.

Can I have a PayPal account without a bank account?

You don’t need a bank account to send or receive money through PayPal. However, you do need a bank account if you want to withdraw money from your PayPal account.

How do you open a bank account in Australia?

Opening a bank account in Australia is usually a straightforward process. Some banks give you the option of opening an account online, while others require you to visit a branch.

Different bank accounts offer different features, so it’s best to compare your options to find one that suits you.

All banks require you to pass an identity check to open a bank account. Australia uses the 100-point identification system, which means you’ll need to show a number of forms of ID that, together, add up to 100 points.

Common ID types include a driver’s licence, passport, Australian visa in a foreign passport, and Australian Medicare card. You’ll find out what types of ID are accepted when you go through the sign-up process online or at a branch.

Once your account is open, you’ll be given or sent a debit card that you can use to make purchases and withdraw money from your account.

How to transfer money to another bank account

Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

Can the government take your money from your bank account?

There are some instances when the government can take money from your bank account. This generally occurs in situations where you have an outstanding government debt.

Before it can take money from your bank account, the government authority owed money would first need to issue a garnishee notice. 

A garnishee notice is issued by the government agency (such as Centrelink or the ATO) to a third party that holds money for you or owes you money.

To take money from your bank account, your bank would be issued with the garnishee notice requiring it to pay ‘your money’ to the requesting agency to satisfy the debt.

Can foreigners open bank accounts in Australia?

Many Australian lenders allow foreigners to open bank accounts in Australia. Often, this can be done before you arrive in the country – with no Australian address required. When you get to Australia, you can pick up your debit card, using your passport as identification.

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.

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.

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.

How do I close a bank account?

Closing a bank account is one of those tasks that’s easy to put in the too-hard basket. There are quite a few steps involved, some which may require you to hang on the phone for a while.  

Here’s a handy checklist of items to tick off, so the job gets done quicker. If you don’t do your banking online, the following steps can also be done at a branch.   

  • Cancel any scheduled or recurring payments
  • Update your direct debit details (such as loan repayments) with creditors
  • Export your payee address book (to keep a record of saved third-party bank account details)
  • Transfer the balance of your account (to the new bank account)
  • Close your account online, or by calling the bank or visiting a branch