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The new financial year is under way

Sydney 30 July 2015. Abigail Koch suggests some ways that people can save money throughout the year. With electricity costs rising it is a good time to consider cutting down on consumption.

Here are Abigail's recommendations:-

Energy to burn? Save $1,315 on energy usage alone

·         Second fridge insanity. Do you really need that second fridge in the garage keeping a couple of bottles of beer cool? Sell the fridge and save around $170 a year in energy bills.
Potential annual saving: $170 plus add approximately $100 for the fridge itself.

·         Turn down the heat. Reduce the temperature on your reverse-cycle airconditioner by one degree to cut your electricity bill by around 10 per cent. You are likely to spend around $294 during the winter months to heat two large rooms to 20 degrees (for four hours a day, three months of the year.) Drop this to 19 degrees to save.

Potential annual saving: Save $29.

·         Make the most of energy discounts. Energy companies are offering as much as 35% off of their energy usage costs in an attempt to win more business. Online comparison services can help you find the cheapest energy plan in your area. Even if you have to pay early exit fees, it could be worth switching to save hundreds of dollars over the year.
Potential annual saving: $672 (based on a 35 per cent saving on an annual electricity bill for a householder in Melbourne)

·         Turn it off at the switch. Laptops, stereos, speakers, televisions and set-top boxes are the biggest contributors to your ‘stand-by power bill’. Turn off your stereo, games console, TV, printer, washing machine, pay TV or set-top box at the wall to achieve the saving below.

Potential annual saving: $78

·         Turn your back on the dryer. Ditch your dryer and use the clothes line to dry your clothes.
Potential annual saving: $266 on your electricity bill.

Exercise caution and save $1,540

·         Trial offers. Circulate between gyms, yoga studios and classes by using their introductory offers. Many yoga studios have $50 for one month of unlimited classes, compared to membership of around $80/month. Try a few studios to find the one you like best.
Potential annual saving: For three months of trial yoga $90

·         Start a walking or running group. Exercise for free and receive motivation from your group.
Potential annual saving: $1,000 (you don’t have to spend on a gym membership)

·         Continuing a gym membership despite never going. Abigail says. “It seemed a good idea to waive that joining fee in exchange for an 18 month membership – but with six months to go, you’re not using the gym. Argh!” The solution is to sell your contract to a friend who can avoid joining fees and take up the remaining payments.

Potential annual saving: $450 (based on fees of $75 per month)

Card tricks to save $318

·         Smart Traveller. When abroad, always pay in the local currency when you’re offered the choice of Australian dollars or Euros, for example. If you choose Australian dollars – which most of us automatically do – then the little known Dynamic Currency Conversion fee will kick in costing you 5.5% on top of your purchase.
Potential annual savings: $110 based on $2000 on purchases during two overseas holidays

·         Don’t use your card to pay your cab fare. PayPass is an easy way to pay that Saturday night cab fare, but a 10 per cent surcharge applies. Take cash for your taxi trip home. Note that some stores have a tap-and-go charge –Aldi charges 0.5% for this form of payment.
Potential annual saving: $208 (Based on 2 x $20 cab fares per week)

Daily life hacks to save $1,032

·         Shop online but collect yourself. Abigail says, “Do you grocery shop online but collect from the store checkout free of charge and save up to $13 a pop. If you have to opt for delivery, try choosing an off-peak delivery time for a cheaper fee.”
Potential annual saving: $676 (based on a $13 weekly delivery fee)

·         Make the most of health insurance discounts. Keep your eyes peeled for health insurance funds that offer a discount if you pay by direct debit as some offer up to 4% off of your annual premiums. If you’re on a family policy paying an average $3500 a year, this saving can make a big difference. 
Potential annual saving: $140

·         Paying full price on date night. Sure, it’s fun to do something special with your partner every week. However, it’s easy to spend $100 on a night out. If you love midweek date nights, try sourcing a phone or energy supplier that offers rewards such as discounted cinema tickets. Telstra currently offers $11 movie tickets to its customers plus 10 friends.

Potential annual saving: $216 (based on $9 savings on two cinema tickets, every four weeks)

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