Financial experts have offered startling tips on what Aussies should be doing to ease the burden of livelihood — starting with fuel.
Another surge in the price of oil has all but wiped out the gasoline tax cut, with $2 a liter again looming as mere routine for Aussies at the pump.
But as the cost of living continues to rise for many families, experts have revealed how you can start saving money immediately and reduce your debt.
The first place to start is at the Bowser.
The general manager of car-sharing company KINTO, Mark Ramsay, estimates that the average cost of owning and maintaining two cars already saves city dwellers about $18,596 a year, a figure he says could be reduced by simply petrol tips.
These include obvious suggestions like using a petrol app to look for the best deal, something he says can save you a whopping 30c per litre.
“While premium fuel has a higher octane rating, it’s fine to use regular fuel for refueling,” said Mr Ramsay.
Other little things you can do include inflated tires and traveling light, both of which can affect the distance that can be covered with each gallon of gas.
“If you have a lot of extra weight in the car, your fuel will run out faster. Likewise, if you can accelerate more slowly it will help too,” said Mr Ramsay.
Shopping is also crucial with the cost of auto insurance.
“Car insurance is one of the biggest expense items, it’s important to shop around to make sure you’re getting the most competitive deal or to request a loyalty discount from your current provider,” said Mr. Ramsay.
HPH Solutions’ financial planner Matt Hern told NCA NewsWire that another thing families can avoid is “forgettable conveniences.”
‘You won’t miss them. Forgetful conveniences include the sweet treat with your morning coffee, takeout or at least takeout home delivery,” he said.
“Instead of having multiple streaming services at once, subscribe and binge one service every three months.”
Finance Quarter director and broker Sean Lee told NCA NewsWire that the way people spent money on food was an important factor.
“Some quick wins that people can look at to save some money is by looking at how often they go to restaurants and use food delivery services, such as Uber Eats,” he said.
“Meal planning, sticking to a grocery list, cooking in bulk and eating can easily save a couple at least $200 a week.
“Consider replacing more expensive fitness memberships with cheaper alternatives or free outdoor exercise, limit the use of air conditioners and heaters, and turn off all devices that are infrequently used as energy costs are expected to rise.”
Craig McDonald, of CBM Mortgages, has seen Australians start to worry about mounting rate hikes over the past two months. He told NewsCorp that the first thing people did to combat the pressure on livelihoods was to eat out.
The broker, based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, said: “Clients are aware of how the banks scrutinize their daily expenses, so the avo on toast and $5 coffee at the weekend are the first things to do. .”
Damon Brown, a financial planner and lecturer at Edith Cowan University, told NCA NewsWire that entertainment and travel are the top expenses people should drop when they are struggling financially.
“Especially trips that are driven on the basis of fuel costs. The five-hour drive to a camping site and things like that — just because fuel costs just went up,” he said.
“What used to be a cheap vacation…has become significantly more expensive.”
Mr Brown also agreed that food delivery services should be scrapped for anyone trying to save money.
“That is a discretionary item that can be cut back. We just need to be better at budgeting food rather than relying on discretionary purchases,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a basic item you should have. I just ordered two nights ago and it cost me $80… it’s just mental, it just makes sense.”
Mr Hern warned that it is too easy to overspend when you have all your money in one account.
“Limit your chance of impulsively overspending by automatically putting money in a separate account for each payment to cover your obligations, such as bills and supplies,” he said.
“Also, set up automatic savings for your goals and additional debt payments. Remaining amounts can be spent on impulses and indulgences.
“Remove the temptation to spend money impulsively by unsubscribing from marketing newsletters and avoid browsing the stores without a list and a fixed budget.”
Mr Lee agreed that a separate account was a good idea and said it was important for people to set a budget.
“Calculate your weekly income, add up your expenses, and calculate how much you might have left to see if it’s enough to meet your annual savings goals. If not, adjust your budget and watch your spending,” he said.
“Transfer your budgeted weekly savings to another account to avoid spending it.
“Pay your credit card in full each month to avoid interest charges or don’t use credit cards at all to avoid falling into a debt trap.”
Mr Hern said cutting spending can be confronting, so people should start with quick and easy steps.
“Look at your account collections and stop with subscriptions you no longer use,” he said.
Then switch to cheaper versions of your current spending habits.
“For example, take your lunch to work instead of buying it, and instead of eating out, chat with friends at home over homemade snacks.
“If possible, use public transit or carpool and refuel your car at the lowest point in the fuel cycle.”
Mr Lee said anyone with a loan should talk to a financial broker.
“This is usually your biggest expense, so it makes sense to review your loan structure and interest rate,” he said.
“Often people pay at least 0.50 percent a year more than they should, and for a $600,000 mortgage, that equates to $250 a month in interest savings just by reviewing your home loans.
“The major banks predict that the Reserve Bank of Australia will raise interest rates by at least 1 percent by the end of the year.
“For the average home loan balance, this equates to an increase in your mortgage repayments by at least $500 per month — be prepared and budget for this.”
Mr. Lee noted that banks competed hard to do business and it paid off to shop around.
“Some banks will pay you a discount of up to $6,000 to refinance your loan to them, under certain conditions, which could be an added bonus to the interest savings,” he said.
Mr. Brown agreed that mortgage holders should review their mortgages.
“Is it still competitive in the market? Because we often find that if we’re stuck with products that are a few years old…there are better products on the market,” he said.
Mr. Brown also recommended paying off credit card debt.
“We will see credit card interest rates rise significantly more than just the Reserve Bank raises prices,” he said.
Mr Brown said if people were feeling financially under pressure they should feel comfortable talking about it.
“Talk about it with family and friends. Don’t be ashamed of it, because there are a lot of people who are under financial pressure,” he said.
“Historically… for the boomers it was all very confidential and they never spoke to friends and family when they were under financial pressure.
“I think we are now in a new era where financial pressures are very common and there is no judgment.”
Mr Brown said it could save you going out with friends and family if you couldn’t afford it.
“Or if your employer wants to offer you opportunities to work from home more so that you don’t have to incur the costs of driving to work and stuff like that,” he says.
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