Three easy ways to lower your cost of living
Winter is upon us. Not only is the weather bleak but so is the economy, the job market and our finances.
Here are three quick ways to cut your cost of living and save cash now.
1. BE POWER WISE
There are so many power sappers around the house you may not even know about. Around 40 per cent of homes still don't have any insulation.
Replacing your light bulbs with energy efficient, compact fluorescent ones can save you plenty.
Electric heaters are expensive so switch to gas to save money. Better yet, minimise use of your heater by closing doors, covering draughts and putting on more clothes.
A second fridge is money down the drain. Turn it on only when you need it.
Switching off appliances at the power point rather than leaving them on standby can save you over $100 a year.
Doing things old school is good for your wallet too … forget the dryer and hang washing on clotheshorses. Forget the dishwasher and wash by hand.
Hot water accounts for about one third of your household energy use. Change your hot water habits to use it in smaller amounts, and less often. Getting a low-flow shower head will help.
2. NEVER AUTOMATICALLY RENEW AN INSURANCE POLICY
First of all you should do some research to check if you're still getting a good deal compared with other competitors. Bringing home and car insurance together under one provider will cut down your premiums.
With home insurance, you can get discounts by doing things like installing deadlocks and smoke alarms. For car insurance, think about raising your excess to bring down premiums, and take advantage of no claim bonuses. Always pay upfront in full rather than monthly to get a better deal.
Don't be afraid to approach your insurer every year and ask how you can save money.
3. RENEGOTIATE BANK LOANS
It still amazes me how many people never challenge their bank for a better deal.
If you have a home loan your mortgage interest rate should under 3 per cent. If it's not, ring the bank now and ask for a discount to get that rate into the 2 per cents.
Do you have the right credit card for you? Are you paying a high interest rate for benefits you don't need when a low rate card would do the trick?
Originally published as Three easy ways to lower your cost of living