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10 WAYS TO EASILY SAVE MONEY (AND ONE INCLUDES ON YOUR XMAS SHOPPING!)


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Looking for ways to save money on your household bills? Here, personal finance expert Sarah Megginson details 10 ways to easily save money without compromising on quality or benefits.


1. Your credit card bill: If you spend up a storm on your credit card each month, and then pay interest on those charges because you don’t pay the balance in full, you’ll spend a small fortune unnecessarily.


Many people don’t know you can apply for a 0% interest balance transfer credit card, which is an account that attracts no interest on the debt you move across.


Interest applies on any and all new purchases, so this is only a good idea if you can commit to not spending any further on your card.


Do this, and you’ll see an instant return: a $10,000 credit card debt at an average rate of 19.84% wracks up an interest bill of almost $2,000 in 12 months.


2. Home loan: Interest rates are sky high compared to two years ago, but it’s still a super competitive market. At Finder, we recently took a deep dive into the numbers around refinancing and found the average Aussie can save around $331 a month when refinancing. That's almost $4,000 a year!


3. Christmas shopping: At the end of next month, we’ll see a flood of Black Friday sales on all sorts of things, from fashion and footwear to gaming consoles and beauty products. It’s the ideal time to blitz through your Christmas shopping list: last year I shopped the Black Friday sales and saved $400.


4. Phone plan: So many of us are paying a “loyalty tax” by sticking with big telcos when there is huge value to be had by shopping around with some of the smaller providers, whose plans are on the cheaper side. They use the same networks as the big brands, so you don’t need to sacrifice coverage to get a cheaper bill.


5. Home internet: The same goes for home internet plans. On our database at Finder, you can get an unlimited data plan at 50Mbps from as little as $59.99 per month.


6: Energy bill: Energy prices have soared the last couple of years, which means you have a huge opportunity to save if you haven’t compared energy companies recently. One of our expert authors saved a massive $500 a year by switching to a new energy provider.


7.: Groceries: The average Aussie household spends around $187 a week at the supermarket, according to Finder data – but where you shop really matters.


We compared the same basket of 46 items at ALDI, Coles and Woolworths and it's probably no huge surprise that ALDI was the cheapest at $199.69, followed by Woolworths at $208.85 and Coles at $214.32.


A saving of around $15 a week might not sound like much, but it’s almost $800 over the year – enough incentive to consider switching supermarkets in my books.


8: Your actual savings: If your savings are not stashed in a high interest savings account, you’re literally losing an opportunity to access free money!


The run of interest rates over the last year have been a shock to the system for mortgage holders, but they’ve seen interest rates on savings accounts soar, too.


It’s very easy to get a return of 5% or more in the current market: that’s $500 of free money on a savings balance of $10,000 over the year.


9: Car insurance: When it comes to car insurance, you can have two policies with exactly the same coverage, excess and terms and conditions, but they can be miles apart on price.


In situations like this those who have the more expensive policy are paying more for literally no extra benefit.


We’re constantly reviewing the car insurance market to see where the best value exists, and after reviewing more than 1,000 comprehensive car insurance quotes, we found a massive difference of over $1,400 between the cheapest and most expensive comprehensive car insurance policy.


The bottom line: shopping around for a new car insurance policy (even if your current policy isn’t yet due for renewal!) is a huge opportunity to save money.


10: Fuel: Using fuel apps is a smart, simple way to save money on the amount you’re paying for petrol. Fuel price apps can help you find the cheapest petrol anywhere in Australia, so you don't get gouged on petrol or diesel – and you can use most of them free of charge. Some apps are run by State/Territory governments while others rely on motorists submitting data during the day.


Sarah Megginson is an expert in personal finance and head of editorial at comparison site Finder.

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