If you have a home you cannot escape paying bills; from groceries to credit card and home loan repayments, they eat up most of the weekly pay packet.
For many Australians though, the amount forked out in bills could be far less – as much as $300 per week – according to research from Canstar.
Steve Mickenbecker, head of research, product and strategy at Canstar, says you could save thousands of dollars each year by shopping around for a better deal on your home loan alone.
Slash home loan repayments
“You can save $4700 per year (by refinancing a $300,000 home loan) – that’s the difference between paying 6.5 percent and 4.7 percent – it’s a massive saving,” he said.
The average variable home loan interest rate is 5.64 percent, but RateCity’s database shows there are 166 variable home loans with rates below this starting from just 4.75 percent.
The lowest available variable rates are largely offered by smaller banks and non-banks – home loan rates from the major four banks (ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac) currently don’t rank among the forty lowest available rates. But homeowners shouldn’t be deterred by this, he said.
“Most of the providers are ADIs (Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions) so they are guaranteed by the Reserve Bank of Australia,” he said.
Cut credit card bills by over $1000
The trick to getting a credit card debt under control, and potentially slash bills by more than $1000, is to be in the right style of card, said Mickenbecker.
“If you’re somebody that ‘revolves debt’ – that means you don’t repay it every month – make sure you’re not in one of those 22 percent interest rewards programs because you can get a card for 10 or 11 percent,” he said.
“Your existing bank probably has the right card for you – make sure you ask for it.”
Don’t pay fees on your savings
Most of us have a transaction account or a savings account, and on average Australian households pay around $9 each week in bank fees or around $470 annually. But much of this is avoidable, according to RateCity chief executive Alex Parsons.
More than half of the personal transaction accounts in RateCity’s database don’t charge monthly account keeping fees (78 out of 135), he said.
“The only way our banks will be more competitive with fees is if more Australians make a stand by comparing products online and switching to low or no fee deals,” said Mr Parsons.
“There are plenty of options out there with low or no fees and banks are often waiving fees to retain and win new customers. So don’t let your money get lazy, take it back from the banks and keep it in your own pocket.”
Cut grocery bills
Up to 40 percent of the average kerbside garbage bin is food; that’s equivalent to 178kgs and over $1000 per person every year in the bin. But you can stop the flow from fridge to trash with a few simple tips that can save you a trolley load of money!
Before you visit the supermarket strategize your shop – plan your meals, make a list and even consider shopping online to help avoid being tempted by impulse buys at the checkout!
Organise your fridge and keep stock of what’s on the shelves – borrow a trick from the supermarkets and rotate older items to the front of the fridge so you’re reminded to use them before the use-by date.
As cook and television presenter Maggie Beer says: “think local and think seasonal” when shopping. Using local farmer’s markets is one of the best ways to not only ensure low food miles, but also fresher food options.
There are heaps of ways to save money with a little creative thinking, and for more savvy savings tips check out RateCity.com.au.