Finding a little extra in your budget

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The new financial year is coming up quick, and I always like to use this time of year to plan ahead a little and get on top of things. If I’m due a tax return, I like to determine what I’m going to do with the money to ensure it doesn’t just end up being spent frivolously, and I actually put it towards my most desired goals.
The other thing I like to do around this time of year is review some of my regular expenses to see if there are any better deals out there. We often lock into monthly expenses and forget about them, especially if it’s an essential item like insurances, phone or internet services, basically any bills. This stuff is generally all in the ‘needs’ category, so I see it as the kind of items or services that we don’t love spending money on, but at the same time we need to because life would be pretty dull (and risky in the case of insurances) without these essentials. That being said, any money saved on things that fall into the ‘needs’ category is a huge win (think going on holiday sooner)!

Here’s a few things that I’ve been reviewing today, and scoring some savings here and there:

My car insurance.

It seems car insurance products are available everywhere these days, and some of them are certainly worth checking out! I haven’t reviewed the insurance on my little VW Tiguan since I bought it in 2009, and I saw Australia Post Car Insurance currently has 20% off its comprehensive insurance (available online until 30 June). I’ve just gone through the online quoting process now, which was super-fast and easy to use and literally took me about two minutes, and ended up yielding just over $200 a year in savings for my efforts. Stoked!

My internet plans.

After looking at my Wealth Enhancers spending report for the last few months, I noticed that we were spending quite a lot on phone and internet plans. My phone is new so I was unable to change anything there, however I worked out how to use my personal hotspot on my iPhone to access internet on my iPad. Cancelling the additional internet plan I had has saved me about $40 a month. We’ve also recently moved to Sydney so that has given me a chance to review our home internet provider. Our old plan was set up about 3 years ago, so there are heaps of different options available now, and I was able to find an unlimited data plan with internet only (because we no longer need a home phone), for just $39 a month. It’s a two year contract; however I’m willing to cop that because our old plan was $99 a month.

At this stage in my EOYF overhaul I’m feeling pretty wrapped, in less than an hour I’ve managed to save almost $1,500 for the year ahead (Bali here I come) and in both cases I’m not compromising on quality as I’m still dealing with brands that are very well known and trusted in the Australian market place. What can I do next?!

My health insurance.

I’ve been with my current provider for many years now so the juries still out on whether or not I’ll make the switch, but I was able to find one that is about $20 cheaper per month. Since Health Insurance is something we use regularly for a variety of different things, and our current provider does have some loyalty bonuses, I really need to investigate further whether or not it’ll be worth us making the switch, and that’s something really important to consider whenever you switch insurance products (especially) – whether or not the benefits are equal.

Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I’m pretty happy with my $1,500 and I still have a few other things I’m going to review this afternoon.

What other needs items could you be saving money on?

  • Mortgage, even rent (if you’re willing to move!)
  • Home and Contents Insurance
  • Personal Insurances (Life, TPD, Trauma, Income Protection)
  • Subscription and free music services like Pandora or Spotify could save you loads if you still buy albums
  • Regular grocery/fruit box delivery (if you have consistent waste, opt for the smaller size box if it’s available)
- Magazine subscriptions (if you buy your fave mags every. single. month. try a subscription instead, you’ll usually save around 20%)
  • Foxtel
  • Apps or programs that you pay for that you’re no longer using

Can you think of any others? Leave a note in the comments section below and let’s share tips! Before you go though, don’t forget you have to do something meaningful with the money you save.

Dealing with the extra!

If you have managed to glean a few extra dollars here and there by reviewing, and re-quoting, some of your essential items, the most important thing to do next is work out what you’re going to do with the additional cash flow you now have available. You want to use this money to get closer toward your savings goals, or to pay down debt faster.

If you’ve worked out a credit card repayment plan, now is the perfect time to up those repayments (by whatever money you’ve saved) and look forward to kissing those personal debts goodbye sooner than had planned.

If you’re saving for a holiday, or anything big, put the extra toward than and reward yourself with some nicer accommodation, or an extra special treat while you’re away. It could even mean you get to go sooner. Happy days! :)

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