Top 10 tips to take control of your lazy money

21 Mar 2013

By Andrew Bollen

So you've gone to the trouble of preparing your family budget – congratulations, you are now part of the 10% of all Australian families who actually have one!! What comes next?

There is no surprise in my next statement – make sure that the amount you spend is less than the amount you earn. But what if it is not? What if you are spending too much? What can you do, where can you cut some expenses and save money without significantly impacting upon your lifestyle?

Here is my list of the top 10 ways to take control of your lazy money:-

  1. Health fund claims – you would be surprised at the number of things you can legitimately claim back from your private health fund; things like children's swimming lessons, health club memberships, compression pants for pregnancy;
  2. Medicare claims – they may seem small and not worth the queue at the local Medicare office at the time, but all of those small doctors' bills, childcare claims, optometrist appointments can add up. And much of it you can now do online in the convenience of your own home;
  3. Check your internet plan – when did you sign up to your internet provider? Often you can still be paying the set rate from 3 years ago not knowing that fees and technology have changed. Give them a call and you may find that you can get a cheaper price on a better plan (you may get more for less);
  4. Do you really need an iPhone 5 when your iPhone 4 works perfectly well? What if you (shock horror) went with a Samsung or Nokia where you did not need to pay for the handset at all? Handset payments can amount to $20 or $30 per month and tie you into a long term contract;
  5. Combine your communications devices into one bill. Try to negotiate a discount by having mobile phones, home phones and internet with the one provider – many offer loyalty bonuses.
  6. Going for a jog outside in the fresh air really is nicer than inside a gym – and it is free!! Ditto for a bike ride. Do you really need that expensive gym membership?
  7. Shop around for your insurances. Between your compulsory greenslip, comprehensive motor vehicle and home and contents insurance I'll bet you have a few policies. Why not shop around when they come up for renewal? Don't forget though that many insurers will give you a discount if you have multiple policies with the same company – do your sums and take the best deal;
  8. Gas and electricity. Seriously, you just need to mention to them that you are thinking of going to a competitor and they will give you a discount! The discount should be over 10% and with these types of bills rising, this can be very worthwhile;
  9. Can your life insurance or income protection insurance be paid for via your super fund, rather than out of your after-tax income? I know that this may hurt in the long term (less in super at retirement) but this just might help make ends meet now;
  10. No name versus brand name. You will be surprised at the difference in price on the supermarket shelves between buying the generic brand versus the well known brand, and for very little difference in quality. In fact, I once overheard the guy stacking the shelves say that the "no name" and "brand name" bread actually come from the same bakery!!

Now, this is just my list, I am sure you can come up with more ideas, why not share them with us?

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