Our aim is to find ways to help you make and save money. Sometimes we partner with others to get a different view and expert advice. The following is a sponsored post provided by iSelect and written by Jessie Petterd.
As we put away our Christmas tree, unpack our summer holiday suitcase and sweep up the sand from the festive season, our minds are now free to start thinking about how we might actually follow through on our New Year’s resolutions.
Perhaps in 2020, you’re planning to live a healthier lifestyle or spend more time with family. Or maybe you’ve decided this is the year that you (finally) get on top of your finances. In fact, recent research of iSelect customers found that that over half of those surveyed plan to be better with their money as their New Year’s resolution.
Better managing finances is a common goal for a lot of Aussies but can also be a difficult one to achieve if you don’t set yourself up for success. So, where can you start?
Cutting back on purchasing luxury items and drawing up a budget is a great way to begin but a quick and easy way you can save money before January is even over is to conduct a Life Admin Audit.
What is a Life Admin Audit?
A Life Admin audit is a review of all of your household bills and expenses. For example, reviewing your home loan rate, checking you’re still getting a great energy deal or making sure you’re not paying for things you don’t need on your health insurance policy.
Boring, we know. But before you get overwhelmed and click out of this article to search for flights for your next holiday it’s important to know that a Life Admin audit can actually be pretty quick and painless – plus could also save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars!
We’ve put together a quick step-by-step guide to show you where and how you could save money instantly on some of your household bills and expenses.
Step 1: Check your Health Insurance Policy
If you have private health insurance and have been with the same provider for a number of years now, there’s a chance you’re paying too much or for things you no longer need. Over the past 10 years, private health insurance premiums have risen on average by over 60%.
Private health insurance premiums will rise again on April 1 this year by an average of 2.92%, which is why it’s more important than ever to make sure your policy is still good value. Failing to regularly review your policy can result in you paying for things you don’t need or not being covered for things you do need as your health needs change.
Comparing* your policy against others in the market is a great way to make sure you’re getting value for money and could save you hundreds or even over a thousand dollars a year off your premiums.
Step 2: Make sure your internet plan still suits your browsing needs
If you’re like many Aussies who received connected devices for Christmas or spend more time streaming online over summer, you might like to consider comparing internet plans to make sure your browsing needs match your plan*.
When looking to save money on your broadband deal, remember that ‘unlimited’ data plans can sound appealing but may not be necessary and you could be paying for more data than you actually need.
Also, while a month-to-month plan may seem appealing because its offers low commitment, if you’re trying to keep costs down it may be better to consider a 12 or 24 month contract instead which can generally have lower set-up fees.
Step 3: Check you’re not paying too much for your energy bills
Energy prices and plans have changed quite a bit over the last 6-months with the introduction of the Default Market Offer (DMO) and Victorian Default Offer in Victoria (VDO). The introduction of default offers in July 2019 saw a reduction of bills for those customers previously on higher-priced standing offers.
However, the majority of Australians were already on discounted market offers, which are generally cheaper than the DMO or VDO so it’s important that you don’t simply ‘default to the default’. Discount periods on market offers generally expire after a year or two and this should be your prompt to look around.
The best way to make sure you’re getting a good deal on your energy is to still shop around for a market offer that best suits your needs.
With multiple changes made to electricity plans in 2019 in addition to a hot summer, now is the time to compare energy plans to make sure you’re still getting value for money*.
Step 4: Consider refinancing your Home Loan
With interest rates always on the move and market conditions constantly shifting, the home loan you signed up for yesterday may not be the best fit for you today.
Your rate is generally not set in stone and if you’re on a variable rate you’re free to negotiate a better deal with your current lender, or even to move your home loan to a new lender to secure a lower interest rate or more appealing terms.
Some lenders may be more likely than you think to offer you a discounted rate on your home loan so it doesn’t hurt to at least ask the question. Before you speak to your lender, do your research so that you can be confident and firm with your request.
If you feel as though you could still be getting a better deal from your lender, speak to a mortgage broker like iSelect powered by AFG about switching home loan lenders – the process is easier than most people think and could save you some serious cash.
With the sun still shining and the boss still away on annual leave, the last thing you probably want to do in January in spend hours trying to compare your household providers.
This is where iSelect can help. You could talk to an iSelect mortgage broker powered by AFG about home loans or iSelect’s trained consultants can help you compare your health insurance, broadband and energy against other plans and providers in one simple phone call*.
If it’s one simple phone call that saves you some extra cash, surely you can already tick off “better manage finances” from your New Year’s resolution list!
*iSelect does not compare all products in the market. The availability of products iSelect compare may change from time to time. Not all products available from iSelect’s providers are compared by iSelect and due to commercial arrangements, area or availability, not all products compared by iSelect will be available to all customers. Some products and special offers may only be available from iSelect’s call centre or website.
 iSelect surveyed 1,055 customers between December 1 2019 – December 11 2019 on their attitudes and behaviours towards household bills and expenses. 57% of those surveyed said they will ‘be smarter with money’ as their New Year’s Resolution.
 iSelect surveyed 1,020 Health Customers in October 2019 who switched private health insurance policies between April – September 2019 and found that 78% of customers saved over $100 while 8% saved over $1,000 a year by switching health policies through iSelect.