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How going green at home can help you save money

How going green at home can help you save money

Turning your home into a more environmentally friendly household has a range of benefits not only for your health and the environment, but also for your wallet.

Whether you’re a long time greenie, or if you’re looking to dip your toe into the eco-friendly world, adopting one or more of the following tips is easier than you think.

RateCity have compiled a list of green tips designed to save you money:

  1. DIY cleaning products

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It’s no secret that supermarket cleaning materials contain a range of chemicals that would be better to avoid. If you don’t want to start forking out the extra cash for branded eco-products, there are a wide range of (mum-approved) items already in your kitchen that you can use instead.

Product

Use

Baking soda

Abrasive product so great for scrubbing hard to get grime

Tea tree oil

Kills mould

Lemon juice

General cleaning (and smells great)

White vinegar

Dissolves dirt and is a natural deodoriser

Rubbing alcohol

Window and glass cleaner

  1. Energy efficient lightbulbs

This is a well-known environmentally friendly option that helps you cut down on pesky electricity bills. There’s no reason not to switch out the bulbs in at least one room for energy efficient ones.

  1. Grow houseplants

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Having a few houseplants in your home will not only improve the air quality and your overall wellbeing, but there are plenty of garage and plant sales on every weekend, so you don’t have to fork out more money at flower shops.

You don’t need to have a green thumb to grow and appreciate houseplants. Here is a handy list of the easiest indoor plants to keep alive:

  • Aloe vera
  • English ivy
  • Jade plant
  • Rubber tree
  • Pothos plant
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Spider plant
  • Fiddle leaf fig tree
  • Snake plant

If you have small children or pets, always double check the safety of any plants you buy in case of accidental ingestion.

  1. Recycled toilet paper

Buying recycled toilet paper usually costs less and also gives you that feel-good feeling by being eco-friendly. Companies such as Who Gives a Crap offer free shipping on most orders, make all their products without trees and 50 per cent of profits are donated to help build toilets for those in need. To date, they’ve donated over $1,250,000 to charity.

  1. Be more efficient with your washing

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There are a range of ways to save on your energy bill with your washing machine:

  • Using a cold water setting on your washing machine is a more eco-friendly option as it uses less energy. If you’re washing non-whites especially there’s little to no difference in the quality of the washing.
  • Washing a full load is a no brainer, as it saves on water waste and uses less energy than multiple, half full loads.
  • Front loader washing machines traditionally use less water and require less detergent compared to top loaders.
  • Eco-friendly washes are your friend. Modern day washing machines usually include energy saving wash modes, such as fast washes for less dirty items.
  1. Solar power

RateCity recently reported on the benefits of solar power, noting that electricity emissions make up a third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to solar energy can majorly help you to reduce your carbon footprint, and there are “rebates” of sorts that you can take advantage of to cut down the cost of installation.

For example, RateCity calculated that for someone living in NSW currently paying 25c per kWh on their energy bill, by installing a 3kW system with an up-front cost of $6,000:

  • In one year they will have saved approximately $573
  • They would make back the money spent on solar panel installation in 9 years
  • In 30 years they will have saved approximately $48,666
  1. Eco-friendly fuel efficient cars

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If you’re in the market for a new or used car, it’s worth researching more fuel efficient and eco-friendly models.  

Cars.com.au listed the following as the most eco-friendly cars in 2016:

  • 2016 Toyota Prius c
  • 2016 Nissan Versa Note
  • 2016 BMW X3
  • 2016 For Fusion Hybrid
  • 2016 Lexus CT 200h
  • 2016 Mazda CX-5
  • 2016 Mazda Mazda3
  • 2016 Toyota Avalon Hybrid

For you wallet’s sake, it’s crucial you research and compare car loans before taking one out. Use RateCity’s comparison tools and calculators to help find the most competitive option for your financial and eco-friendly needs.

  1. Beeswax food wraps

Looking to cut out your consumption of plastics? Food wraps and zip-lock bags are one of those little ways in which we’re often struggling to find a non-plastic alternative.

That’s where beeswax food wraps come in. There are a range of reusable, Australian made products out there, such as Bee Green Wraps, that are not only versatile, mouldable, strong and water resistant, but they’re reusable, lasting up to a year.

Did you find this helpful? Why not share this article?

Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Property & Personal Finance Writer Nick Bendel before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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Learn more about savings accounts

Can you have multiple ING savings accounts?

Yes, you can open up to nine accounts with ING at any particular time. If you’re saving money for various goals, such as buying a car or taking a holiday, you can name each of your multiple ING savings accounts differently.

To get a Savings Maximiser account, you’ll need to deposit more than $1000 every month and make at least five additional purchases. If you also want to grow your savings, from 1st March 2021, you can earn up to 1.35 per cent per annum variable interest on one account with a balance of up to $100,000 when you also maintain an Orange Everyday account.

With ING, multiple savings accounts can help keep track of all your savings goals. All the accounts offer flexible withdrawals where you can withdraw as low or as high as you want without impacting your earning interest rate. However, you can only earn the bonus interest on one account. To apply for a Savings Maximiser account, you can visit ingdirect.com.au.

What is an ANZ locked savings account?

An ANZ locked savings account locks your money and prevents you from spending. You may use a standard savings account as the account where your salary is deposited. You can then withdraw funds when needed, but aren’t able to make purchases with it. However, this account may not grow much as the continual withdrawing of funds will limit the interest you can earn.

With a locked savings account in ANZ, you know your savings will grow because you can’t access the money. You can also qualify for a bonus when you deposit at least $10 per month and don’t make any withdrawals. To help you with this further you can set up an automatic transfer from your regular ANZ savings or transaction account so you don’t forget to make a monthly deposit.

Your ANZ locked savings account offers you a base interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum plus an additional bonus interest of 0.49 per cent per year. The interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last working day of the month.

Should I open a Commonwealth locked savings account?

If you have trouble saving money, a Commbank locked savings account could be a potential solution. A locked savings account won’t let you make withdrawals and as such, it can help you grow your savings balance if you keep topping it up. 

The Commonwealth locked savings account advertises high-interest rates and minimal maintenance fees, along with a host of other incentives that will encourage you not to touch the money. 

The account offers a higher interest rate for each month that you make limited or no withdrawals, as well as regular deposits. 

To qualify for a Commonwealth locked savings account with the advertised features, you will need to fulfil specific criteria such as:

  • Depositing a fixed minimum amount into the account every month.
  • Making a fixed number of deposits each month.
  • Making a minimum or no withdrawals each month.
  • Maintaining a minimum account balance.

What is a Westpac locked savings account?

The Westpac locked savings account (also known as "Westpac Life") can help customers reach savings goals faster through bonus interest. Customers receive 0.2 per cent standard base interest with a variable bonus rate of 0.35 per cent when the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than the opening balance.

There are some conditions to earn the bonus interest on Westpac's locked savings account, though. First, you’ll need to increase the balance each month either through a deposit or not making any withdrawals, and then link it to a Westpac Choice account and make at least five eligible payments using your debit card. Please consult your bank as to what an eligible payment is. 

What are the two types of NAB locked savings accounts?

With a locked savings account in NAB, you can earn bonus interest and learn financial discipline. NAB offers two types of locked savings accounts, each with their own terms and conditions.

The NAB Reward Saver account pays a variable base interest rate of 0.05 per cent per annum and a bonus interest of 0.55 per cent. You’re eligible for the bonus if you make a minimum of one deposit on or before the second last banking day and have no withdrawals in the month.

Meanwhile, the NAB iSaver account provides 0.05 per cent as the standard base interest rate and a fixed bonus margin of 0.55 per cent during the first four months from the date of opening the account. You can park your cash in the account and enjoy unlimited monthly transfers between linked daily bank accounts without impacting the interest rate.

Do banks run credit checks on savings accounts?

When you apply to open a new savings account, some providers may conduct a credit check, meaning that they will ask a credit bureau for your credit history. This isn’t always the case on savings accounts though and depends on the provider, as you aren’t borrowing money. 

As you are opening a savings account and not borrowing funds, this credit check is considered a soft inquiry and should not affect your credit score. If the bank has run the credit check, you can often still open a savings account even if you have a poor score, provided you meet other requirements. 

What are the requirements of an ING Bank locked savings account?

An ING bank locked savings account - also called a term deposit - offers you interest in exchange for holding your money for a period of time.

The terms offered include as little as 90 days or as long as two years. Generally, the longer you lock your money away, the higher the rate of interest. 

The minimum deposit amount for an ING locked savings account is $10,000. 

To be eligible to apply, you must: 

  • Be an Australian resident for tax purposes
  • Be aged 13 years or older
  • Hold the account for personal use (ING offers business term deposits as a separate product). 

 

Do I have to claim interest on my savings account?

When you lodge your income tax returns, you must include in the documentation all your sources of income, including bank interest. Your bank will report any interest you earn on the funds in your savings account to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). When the ATO then compares this information with your tax returns,  you also need to have mentioned the interest earned. If there is any discrepancy, you’ll receive a letter from the ATO. 

Avoid this situation by ensuring you receive your bank statement with interest noted. Then declare the interest in your tax returns and pay the tax that’s applicable based on the income tax rate.

You only need to claim your share of the interest earned for joint accounts. If you manage an account for your child and receive or spend money via this account, you will also need to report any interest earned from said account.

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

What are the requirements for opening Commbank multiple savings accounts?

Existing Commbank account holders can open additional accounts online You can open multiple savings accounts with Commbank to meet various goals like a down payment for a home or buying a car. 

To open an account, you’ll need the following:

  • An Australian residential address
  • To be 14 years or older
  • A Tax File Number (TFN) or TFN exemption.
  • Tax residency details

If you’re not a current Commbank account holder, you’ll need an Australian driving licence, birth certificate or passport and Medicare card. You may also have to visit a branch if your identity cannot be confirmed online. 

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details