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How to cut costs on essentials

How to cut costs on essentials

Everyday essentials are just that — an essential part of your day-to-day life — but there are ways to keep them to a minimum.

The cost of living rose 2.3 percent from June 2013 to June this year for the Australian working masses, according to The Australian Bureau of Statistics. Some of the main contributors were the essentials — furnishings, household equipment and services.

But what could you be doing to rein back on the costs of your essentials?

Be smart at the supermarket

Missing out on an overseas getaway or monthly trips to the movies is hardly desirable. However, by cutting down on everyday expenses, being able to enjoy these non-essentials could well be possible.

Set yourself cost-cutting goals — as you meet each financial goal, reward yourself with a trip to the movies, meal out or put some money into a high-interest savings account for an overseas trip.

For starters, consider your supermarket spending. While big-brand items are familiar, budget supermarket products are often of equal quality. You can slash how much you spend on canned food, pasta, rice, milk, instant coffee, breakfast cereal, toilet paper and muesli bars by buying off-brand products or items on special. 

By buying on-brand products — particularly when they’re not on special — you’re effectively throwing money in the compost heap by paying a premium for fancy marketing.

Turn the ignition on cheaper insurance

Insuring your vehicle, home and personal belongings is a necessity, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt your wallet.

You’d complete a home loan comparison to get the best mortgage deal, so make sure you do the same for your ongoing insurance payments. If you get cover for everything from a single provider, you may be able to get an automatic discount on the overall cost.

If you think you’re getting a mediocre deal with your current provider, call them and let them know you’re prepared to switch to another insurance firm. You might strike a lucky note and get offered a discount if you stay. Otherwise, make the move!

Be selective where you shop

Have you run out of shampoo? The local pharmacy might be closer than the supermarket, but you’ll pay a premium for the convenience. 

Meanwhile, you might plan to buy all your groceries at the supermarket, when your local fruit and vegetable shop offers a better deal on fresh produce. 

Check out your local butcher for meat deals, too.

Try and shop in bulk, but don’t hesitate to shop around, either!

Compare, compare, compare!

It’s the long-term essentials in our day to day lives, such as electricity, home loans and credit cards, that can have the biggest impact on our back pocket — so comparing lenders, companies and products could save you thousands.

Australia’s credit card debt that is currently accruing interest is over $33 billion, according to RBA data. And while home loan interest rates are at an all-time low, if you aren’t keeping your finger on the pulse you could be missing out on these record-low rates.

That’s why it’s important to go online, research which products and features will benefit you most, calculate your potential savings and then find a lender or company who can provide you with the greatest everyday savings. Then sit back and watch your essential costs drop.

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Learn more about credit cards

How to get a free credit card

There's no such thing as a free lunch. All credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases, even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.

However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.

What does Westpac credit card insurance cover?

If you own a Westpac credit card, one of the perks may be  free travel insurance. If you’re eligible, you may be covered if you get sick while travelling, have lost your luggage, have to cancel a trip or have an accident while you’re on the move.

Besides these standard inclusions, the Westpac credit card insurance policy may also cover you for hospital essentials, emergency dental treatment and alternative transport if your original plans go awry. It may also cover loss of income when you get back home after being sick  overseas and your pets’ boarding costs too.

If you have any queries, the Westpac credit card insurance contact number is 1800 091 710. You can submit a claim online.

 

Can a pensioner get a credit card?

It is possible to get a credit card as a pensioner. There are some factors to keep in mind, including:

  • Annual income. Look for credit cards with minimum annual income requirements you can meet. 
  • Annual fees. If high fees are a concern for you, opt for a card with a low or $0 annual fee. 
  • Interest rate. Make sure you won’t have any nasty surprises on your credit card bill. Compare cards with a low interest rates to minimise risk.

How does credit card interest work?

Generally, when we talk about credit card interest, we mean the purchase interest rate, which is the interest charged on purchases you make with your credit card.

If you don’t pay your full balance each month (or even if you pay the minimum amount), you are charged interest on all the outstanding transactions and the remaining balance. However, interest is also charged on cash advances, balance transfers, special rate offers and, in some cases, even the fees charged by the company.

The interest rate can vary, depending on the credit card. Some have an interest-free period, otherwise you start paying interest from the day you make a purchase or from the day your monthly statement is issued. So avoid interest by paying the full amount promptly.

How to get money from a credit card

You can get money from a credit card, but generally it will cost you.

Withdrawing money from a credit card is called a cash advance, as it operates more as a loan than a simple cash withdrawal. Because it is a loan, you may be charged interest on your cash advance as soon as you make the withdrawal. Interest rates are also usually much higher for cash advances than standard credit card purchases.

In addition to the interest rate, you may also be charged a cash advance fee. This could be a flat rate, or a percentage of your total cash advance. If you are considering a cash advance, make sure to add up how much it will cost you before committing.

What does ANZ credit card insurance cover?

ANZ offers complimentary insurance on some of its credit cards, which can provide some protection against unforeseeable incidents, like the theft of your card. Depending on the type of credit card you own, you may be eligible for different insurances. For instance, most ANZ credit card customers may qualify for Purchase Protection Insurance and Extended Warranty Insurance. Customers who own premium credit cards may also be eligible for Guaranteed Pricing, Rental Vehicle Excess, International Travel, and so on.

Consider checking your ANZ credit card insurance features listed in the Insurance Policy Information booklet to know which items are covered. Also, while ANZ issued the credit card, they are not the insurer. For this reason, you may need to send your insurance claims - and get your ANZ credit card insurance refund - to the insurance provider.

How to get rid of credit card debt

  1. Calculate your debt. Credit card calculators make it easy to determine the repayments required to chip away at your debt in the shortest timeframe possible for your budget.
  2. Repayment plans. Take some time to formulate a credit repayment plan. Consider increasing your income, scaling back your lifestyle or refinancing.
  3. Talk to your credit provider. If you’re still struggling with your debt, give your credit provider a call. You may be able to come to a new arrangement.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

Where can I get a credit card?

Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.

The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.

Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.

Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.

How do you pay off credit cards?

The best way to pay off a credit card bill is to set a realistic spending budget and stick to it. Each month, you’ll get a credit card statement detailing how much you owe and how long it will take to pay off the balance by making minimum repayments. If you only make the minimum repayments, it will take you years to pay off your outstanding balance and add extra costs in interest charges. To avoid any extra charges, you should pay the entire bill. 

What types of NAB credit card insurance are available?

If you hold a NAB Premium, Platinum or Signature credit card or a NAB Platinum Visa Debit card, you could be eligible for the bank’s free travel insurance. You may be covered for overseas travel and interstate flight changes, along with transport accidents, domestic hotel burglary, purchase protection, extended warranty and price protection. 

It’s important to note that the NAB credit card insurance only kicks in after you’ve made an eligible purchase, so you won’t get the credit card insurance benefits if you haven’t used the card.

To make a NAB credit card insurance claim, you can send an email to cardclaims@allianz-assistance.com.au. You can check the eligibility of your claim or make a claim online as well.

If you have a travel incident and need to speak to someone regarding your NAB credit card insurance, contact 24x7 Emergency Assistance on +61 7 3305 7499 (reverse charges may apply). You can also send an email to medical@allianz-assistance.com.au.

 

Do I qualify for Bank of Melbourne credit card insurance?

You may be eligible for transit accident insurance, purchase security insurance, and extended warranty no matter which type of Bank of Melbourne credit card you own. 

Some credit card customers may get coverage for international or domestic travel insurance, rental vehicle excess in Australia, and price guarantee as well. 

However, the exact terms of the insurance coverage can differ based on the specific credit card. For instance, if you buy any personal items with a Level 1 credit card, your purchase security insurance may be valid for up to four months from the purchase date. For someone with a Level 2 credit card, such coverage may only be available for three months. 

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.