Making a ritual of focusing on your money is the most powerful thing you can do - Scott Pape, Barefoot Investor
How I saved $2444 pa on our normal expenses – in just a few hours!
I am always surprised after phoning a company we pay money to, when they say "the only time we will review your interest rate/premium/contracted per litre/kw, is when you call through and ask for your account to be checked".
WOW... it blows me away that we sometimes are on autopilot for years before we call. These calls can be 10-minutes or may take 45-minutes BUT it is so worth it!
Below are some examples of companies I have called over the last few months. They will certainly be on my calendar reminder each year to make sure they don’t creep up again.
The last batch of phones calls gave us a total saving of $2444
Home and Investment Mortgages $960pa I couldn’t change my investment fixed loan as it has a breakout fee of $6200 pa x 2 years, ouch!!! AND couldn’t get a better rate on SMSF loans even though they are at 4.59%. No better deal apparently. However, I was able to get 0.2% off the home loan - from 2.84 to 2.64%.
NOTE: A year ago, I did call to check in after about 2 years (life got in the way and I left it on autopilot). Our loan for the SMSF was able to be knocked down by $3000pa just with one phone call! I learnt my lesson.
Car Insurance – Budget Direct $450pa Asked for a discount with Budget as I will now be driving fewer kilometres with my new job but they wouldn't reduce. So I called GIO as we have our home insurances and CTP with them, knowing bundling may help with savings – there was a $450pa saving! WOW!
Private Health Cover – NIB $340pa Went through the 'why' of having hospital and extras and after discussing with a really good consultant we have decided to keep both but try and save 'something'. So I asked for the highest excess available Which is $750.
The main reason we kept hospital and extras, is because we have teenagers who horse ride and hubby mountain bikes so the possibility that something may happen is higher. I will reevaluate again next year as I am still on the fence with the amount we pay for insurance ($4k pa)
Electricity – Origin $70pa Ask to go on their best contract. I had done some prep work and using an old bill, I entered our details into https://www.energymadeeasy.gov.au/ (this will give you an idea of how your provider tracks against others). Origin have a flexi agreement at 17% discount for 12 months (after some more discussion about ways to reduce our bill, we discussed the option of Solar and the current govt rebates, I will look into this further), still on my hit list, but saved a little for the moment!
Gas – Elgas $360pa The best one yet! Elgas said that if I don’t call to look into the account, we would not get the best price. We have been with this company for 9 years and only recently I noticed that our gas was increasing ... after checking the unit cost they 'just' reduced it by 27%, just like that, AND backdated the last bill .... (wasn't she nice?) NOTE: Make it a yearly challenge to call everyone once to haggle.
Entertainment – Foxtel $228pa Beware of sneaky 'honeymoon' rates! Didn't notice that the honeymoon period was up so Foxtel just started taking out the higher rate from my account via the Direct Debit process. I noticed $98 going out to Foxtel and thought I had it wrong, thinking it was less. So after seeing the amount come up a second month, called them to ask why. They advised that my $68/month was an introductory rate and now I would be paying the full amount. I checked if there were any deals to get the $68 again for new customers and nothing was available SO I decided to reevaluate with the family who wants what from Foxtel and found that the $49/month would suit us well. Since we have Netflix we don’t need 2 different movie packages. So, for now, we have reduced to $49/month.
Subscriptions – Strava & Amazon Prime $264pa Could see $5.99 being taken out of the account each month, but I couldn't remember what it was for. I ignored it once but then noticed it again, so I highlighted the billing reference and pasted that into Google and it showed it was for Amazon Prime. Had to find the original emails for it and then go through the 'cancelling process' Didn't even remember doing it but most likely signed up for a trial and then forgot about it! The Strava was my husbands and he wasn't really using his membership anymore but we couldn't work out how it was paid. Had to track which email address it was connected to so that we could go to Apple settings and subscriptions to cancel. These little ones are sneaky little devils and sometimes you just give up because you can't find how to cancel ... NEVER GIVE UP ... it's your money!
You Can Too ....
Once you know what all your expenses are you can then start tackling a couple each month. Just try one a week, or if you have a couple of hours to spare, go blitz a few while you are on a role. You will be surprised how helpful and flexible companies are. They want to keep you, so give it a try.
A few hours of work can save you thousands $$$$
Once you have haggled, then make a PLAN so that this doesn't creep back into your life again and take CONTROL. I have made a yearly calendar reminder, like a birthday or anniversary, to call xyz company to check on my bill. I will stagger this, a couple at a time, across the year.
Go get them ... reduce reduce reduce!
Ideas of expenses that may be on your autopilot at the moment:
Investment property insurances
CTP – Car registration
More on this in another post, when I delve into Financial Planners and overall strategy.
Subscriptions - take some time off from subscriptions and see if you miss it, you may find you no longer need to have them all
Entertainment - if you have more than one package, choose between them and swap every 6 months. We did something similar when our kids were little and we would swap their toys every few months. When the toys were brought back out it was like a brand new toy. We do this with our puppy too.