This is certainly a crazy time in world history at the moment. An incredibly difficult time for many people, especially those who have lost their jobs. Our hearts go out to those of you doing it tough right now. This article will hopefully help some of you to work through the process of reviewing and reducing some of your household expenses. This will be one highly beneficial outcome of having some extra time to focus inwards.
How to reduce your Rent
Can you get your rent reduced? The Federal Government is encouraging tenants to talk to their landlords if your income has been impacted by the COVID-19. At the moment that is just a negotiation but there are further policies in the pipeline to assist tenants. Keep an eye on updates for your State on this website.
How to reduce your mortgage
If you have a mortgage and you are in financial hardship, you can apply to your lender to have your repayments put on hold for 6-months. However, you will still accrue interest each month each month. Contact us if you would like to have a clear understanding of your hardship options.
If you are still in a position to refinance your mortgage, now is a great time to do that. Interest rates at the moment are extremely low. Contact us to find out what you could save off your monthly repayments, by refinancing.
If you are neither in the hardship basket nor the refinancing position, the last thing you can try, is asking your lender for a more competitive rate on your mortgage. If you went through a broker for your loan, then contact them first to approach your lender.
Otherwise, prior to contacting your lender, shop around and see what is on offer at the moment and let your lender know you are considering refinancing for a better rate. You will need to mention another lender that is on the same tier as yours (like for like comparison). We can help you to know what to propose to your existing lender.
How to reduce other debt repayments
It is possible that you can negotiate some reduced monthly repayment terms with your lenders if you have credit card, car loan or buy now pay later repayments that you are struggling to meet.
All lenders are different, but with all hardship situations, you are much better to let them know early and negotiate better terms that you can meet, rather than to start getting overdue defaults on your record (these are now all recorded on your credit report). Some lenders are freezing repayments, reducing repayments, refunding overdue fees and/or waiving interest. Contact your lenders asap to see what they can do for you.
How to reduce utility bills
You can make sure that you are on the most economical plan for your home. The best way to do this is to use the Governments ‘Energy Made Easy’ website to compare. You can do this is by entering your bill details to the site. Just check that your current provider doesn’t have an exit fee though, before you make any switches.
If you are having trouble paying your utility bills this site may help.
Remember, again, contacting your utility providers if you are having trouble paying your bills is always going to be better than getting a bad mark on your credit report.
How to reduce insurance premiums
Insurance premiums are a household expense that we recommend reviewing every 12 months. The longer you stay with an insurer, unfortunately, the higher your premiums tend to be. Crazy we know. But that is how it seems to work. So, the best way to ensure you are paying the most competitive insurance rates, is to shop around each year for the best prices.
A good place to start this is to utilise the many comparison tools that are online. Just type in ‘compare insurance’ and you will see quite a few pop up. But remember, these tools are there because they make commission on the products they display. So do a few different comparisons, then go to the individual insurers and get quotes directly.
You may also like to get some quotes from Insurance Brokers, as they know the ins and outs of each product and can get you very specific policies to match your needs at the most competitive prices. The idea here though is to also do your own research to make sure you are getting the best deals.
How to reduce food expenses
Shop at Aldi! Shopping at Aldi can save you heaps of money. If you feel too proud, or too attached to your food brands, we would say…. Just give it a go. The amount of money you will save at the checkout will soon turn you into an Aldi convert!
If you are in real hardship and finding it difficult to pull together money for food, then we recommend visiting the Ask Izzy website to find out where there are charities in your area giving away food hampers. There are many people needing this kind of support right now who have never needed it before. Don’t worry, if you are one of them, your health is more important than your pride. You’ll find most charities are extremely warm places to visit and you may even find your favourite one to support down the track when we are on the other side of COVID.
How to reduce online entertainment expenses
This is a really tough one, especially for those who have a lot of time on your hands now. Internet bills and online entertainment can be quite costly when you add up Netflix, Stan, Foxtel, games and any other memberships you may have.
The first step here is to sit down and work out what you are paying for each month and what you are truly using.
If you are not in a contract with your internet provider, you can shop around for a better internet deal using tools such as Canstar Blue.
Also, remember that local libraries provide many free online resources these days, including music and films. Check what is available from your Council libraries.
How to reduce travel expenses
We added this one in as a bit of humour, because really, this is the expense that most of us are saving heaps on!! Not only are we not travelling but fuel prices have also come down. So that is something to be grateful for. Ha!
We hope this has been useful for you and that you manage to reduce your household expenses to a manageable level, not only for now, but into the future as well.
If you’ve got any great tips on how people can reduce their household expenses, please share them with us in the comments below.