Practical and Painless Money-Saving Tips

One of the quickest ways to improve your finances is to reduce your expenses and find more ways to save money. The following are some practical and painless money-saving tips to help you save some cash every month. Obviously, not all of these tips will apply to everyone. Select the ones that apply to you and use them—you’ll quickly find yourself saving a lot of money.

Loans

  • You may be paying too much interest on your home and/or investment property loan. This may be because the interest rates have gone down, your income has increased, your credit rating has improved or you can afford a bigger down payment. If this is the case, you should check with your Zar Mortgage Broker to find out if refinancing can save you money.
  • Do you get paid weekly or every two weeks? Check to see if you can start making repayments on your loan every two weeks. You are not likely to notice the extra amount you’ll be paying, and it is sure to make a big difference over the entire life of the loan. Instead of 12 payments a year, you’ll be making 26. The advantage is you’re basically paying an additional month directly toward the principal each year. (If there are two fortnights in a month, 26 / 2 = 13). You’ll save thousands of dollars in interest and the mortgage will be paid off sooner.
  • Home loan interest rates are generally lower than interest charged on credit cards or personal loans. By consolidating all of your debts with your home mortgage, you could save thousands of dollars in interest, fees and charges, while reducing the amount you pay each month in repayments.

Insurance

There are numerous ways that you can reduce your insurance premiums: comparing prices, raising the excess payable, improving your home security, or bundling your home, contents, car, life and health insurance. Contact your Zar Mortgage Brokers to receive a free quote to compare against your current offer and to discuss other options that may be available to reduce your premium. In addition, you may be eligible for 90 days of free cover or a 10% discount on your home insurance policy.

Credit Cards

  • Use a credit card that has a reward program to pay for everything. You’ll earn reward points for each dollar spent, and some even offer additional reward points when you purchase from their bonus partners.
  • For those that don’t charge much on their credit card, apply for one that does NOT have an annual fee.
  • Pay your credit card bill in full each and every month. Some lenders offer credit card Auto Sweeps, which pay the entire balance at the end of the month automatically. Check with your lender to see if this facility is available. If you fail to pay off the bill one month, the interest payments will start eating away at your monthly budget.
  • If the temptation is too great to spend more than you can pay, cut the card up into tiny shreds!

Utility Bills

  • Shutting the vents and closing the door to unused rooms can save on your heating and cooling bill. However, this is not advisable if you have forced air heating.
  • Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. They use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. It will automatically regulate the temperature in your house according to the schedule you set. Set it to raise or lower the temperature while you’re at work and it will easily cut 10% to 20% off your electric bill.
  • Insulate hot water pipes and lower the temperature on your hot water heater. The water is most likely heating to a scalding temperature. Turn it down to 49–51 degrees Celsius (120–125 degrees Fahrenheit). In addition, temperatures exceeding 51 degrees Celsius pose a risk of causing severe burns.
  • If you have old appliances, take advantage of government rebates to purchase new energy-efficient products, such as Rain Water Tanks, Solar PV systems and Solar Hot Water tanks. These products can greatly reduce your utility bill and they will add value to your property.

Shopping

  • Plan your meals around what’s on sale at the grocery store. Look at the most expensive items, and plan your meals around those ingredients and what you already have on hand.
  • Try generic brands of items you buy regularly. The only major difference is the marketing and the price, so you’ll find that you probably won’t even notice a difference in taste. Once you become a generic “junkie,” you’ll find your grocery bill getting smaller and smaller.
  • Surf the internet. Sometimes, even if you pay a shipping charge, you will still be able to buy items cheaper than in the local stores—everything from books to electronics. You can even save gas and the time that you would spend going from store to store trying to find the item.
  • Make a shopping list . . . and stick to it! Never go to the store without a shopping list. Make a list of what you need to buy before you go, and stick strictly to that list. No matter how tempting, don’t put anything into the cart that’s not on the list.

Financial Planning

Financial Planners can help you gain better control over your financial life by working with you to develop a plan that will turn your goals into reality. Your financial plan should cover all aspects of your financial needs: cash flow, insurance, risk management, investments, retirement, tax planning, etc. Whether you would like some specific advice or just some planning options, contact your Zar Mortgage Brokers Consultant to arrange a meeting with one of our Financial Planners, Certified Public Accounts or Tax Advisors. Our preferred advisors are some of the most trusted in the industry, properly licensed and insured, and will help you avoid the problem areas and maximise your after-tax income.

Miscellaneous

  • Go through your closets, each room of the house, the garage and the shed. You’ll be amazed at what you find just collecting dust. Have a yard sale or put the items on eBay. Either way, put some of your hard-earned money back in your pocket.
  • Get organised and avoid late payment penalties. If you do miss a payment, call your creditor and ask to have it removed. If you have never missed a payment before, they will generally waive the penalty the first time.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. It will save gas and keep you safe.
  • Make sure all of your computers and TVs are plugged into a surge protector. Even a small surge can damage these electronics, so spending the money for surge protectors can save big money in the end.
  • Keep in mind that everything is negotiable . . . ask for a discount. It may not always work, but you never know until you ask!