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Posts tagged "budget"

Money Series: How to start saving.

February 22nd, 2021 Posted by Financial Management 0 thoughts on “Money Series: How to start saving.”

The sooner you start, the more you can save. The key is to make a savings plan that motivates you.

Set a savings goal: Whether you’re saving for new facilities, a holiday, home renovations, or you just want a little extra in the bank for a rainy day, setting your savings goal will help you get there. The Australian government website, MoneySmart, offers a free savings goal calculator to help you work out how much money you need, and how long it will take to reach your savings goal.

Have a savings plan: The secret to saving is start early and save often. Create a savings plan so you can manage your money and stick to your goal.

Know where your money is going: Have a clear picture of your regular expenses and spending habits. This helps you see where you can cut back and save. For example, cancel an unused gym membership or bring your lunch to work. It may surprise you how little things add up. MoneySmart also provides some useful ways to track your spending for practical ways to get started.

Start a budget: Once you know how you’re spending your money, you can set a realistic budget. Your budget will help you to stay on track, review your progress and reach your money goals sooner. MoneySmart provides some useful advice on how to do a budget to get started.

Pay off some debt: If you have some money left over after your regular expenses, use it to make extra repayments towards any credit card debt or loans you have. Paying off your debts sooner can save you thousands in interest. Pay off the one with the highest interest rate first. You can use the MoneySmart credit card calculator to see how much you can save by making extra repayments.

FIRST: GET RID OF WASTE

Look for ways to reduce your spending: Look at your expenses to see where you can make quick savings. Every little bit will help.

Find quick wins: Look through your bank or credit card statements for the last two months. Identify anything that isn’t essential, or you can defer for a while. This could be things like subscriptions or memberships.

Reduce your grocery and utility bills: Food and utilities are essentials. To reduce your grocery bills:

  • Plan meals in advance and only shop for the ingredients in those meals
  • Buy home or own brands where you can
  • Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season or on sale
  • Cook meals like soups and pasta sauces that have lots of left overs you can freeze for later
  • Meat can be expensive, so plan some meals that don’t include meat. It would be a healthier and environmentally friendlier option
  • Compare energy suppliers to make sure you’re getting the best deal. See Compare and Switch below.

Shop around: If you’re renewing any of your key services, like phone plans, utilities or insurance, shop around and get quotes from more than one supplier. Always check the details in any policies for exclusion, to see what you’re not covered for. You may be able to save on your premium by increasing your excess or advising them of changed circumstances. You can also find out how to get the best price and protection when choosing car insurance or home insurance.

COMPARE AND SWITCH

Always shop around for the best deal

It has never been more important to do your research before you sign up for any service like a mobile phone plan, utilities, or financial product like a credit card or loan.

Comparison websites can be useful, but they are businesses and may make money through promoted links. They also may not cover all your options. MoneySmart offer some excellent free advice on what to keep in mind when using comparison websites.

Make sure the product is right for you and that you’re getting the best deal. For example, choosing a credit card with a lower interest rate and fewer fees can save you a lot.

Similarly, when it’s time to renew your insurance, compare premiums with other providers online. Your current insurer may offer to beat competitors’ offers if you stay. You can also find the best deal on your electricity and gas on the Australian Government’s Energy Made Easy website or Victorian Energy Compare, if you’re in Victoria.

WAYS TO SAVE

Set up a separate savings account: An online savings account is a great way to manage your money. Unlike a transaction account, you can’t spend money directly from a savings account, so it’s harder to dip into your savings. Look for an account with the highest interest rate and no fees, to grow your savings faster.

Automate your savings: Transfer part of your pay into your savings account. You can ask your employer to do this for you or you can set up a regular transfer via your Internet Banking. This way, you’re saving without even having to think about it.

Round-up transactions: Some savings accounts let you round-up your daily transactions to the nearest $1 or $5. The change then goes directly into your savings account. For example, James buys a coffee before work each morning:

  • The coffee costs $4.20.
  • His account is debited $5.
  • 80 cents goes straight into his online savings account.

After a year, James will save more than $200.

Change a spending habit and save: Change one regular spending habit and save. Small spending changes add up to big savings in the long run.

  • Switching from a large to a small latte can save $1.50 a day. This saves more than $500 a year on buying coffee.
  • Cut down on alcohol – it will save you money and can have health benefits.
  • Make your lunch at home. Saving even $5 a day on buying lunch adds up to $1,200 over a year.
  • Cut back on eating out or ordering in. Australians spend 34% of their food budget eating out on average – or $1,600 a year.

As always, it is important to seek independent advice regarding your specific situation. This content should be regarded as general information.

The sooner you start, the more you can save. The key is to make a savings plan that motivates you.

Up to date as of 31 Jan 2021.

Getting your finances sorted for the new year.

December 22nd, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Getting your finances sorted for the new year.”

Getting healthier, giving up a bad habit, or spending more time doing the things you love are all great New Year’s resolutions.

But what about your finances? Here are a few of our top tips:

#1: Build an emergency fund
Try setting aside a small amount on a regular basis to help you manage any emergency expenses and reduce the risk of needing to borrow or access credit. An emergency fund can give you peace of mind, and is one of the best steps you can take towards financial wellness.

#2: Reduce interest charges
Credit cards and installment plans can offer great rewards and flexibility when used well, but if you’re not careful the repayments and interest can add up. If you are paying interest, consider rolling any small debts into one and consolidating them in a single account. Some credit providers offer interest free periods on balance transfers which can help you catch up. 

#3: Make a budget
Setting a budget (and sticking to it) is a great way to relieve financial stress. The first step to making a realistic budget is understanding your income and your expenses. When it comes to expenses, Gobbill can help.
Gobbill automatically summarises, categories and digitises your expenses, so you can keep track of what you are spending each month on household bills. You can also use Gobbill to digitise receipts for other expenses, just be careful not to exceed the document quota on your plan or additional fees may apply. 

#4: Make sure you’re on the best deal
Understanding your bills can also help you make sure that you’re still on a good deal. If your rates are no longer competitive, it can pay to spend a few hours shopping around, it may take a few hours but the saving you could make a real difference over the course of the year. Gobbill stores copies of all your previous bills in one place, so it’s easy to see what you’re paying

#5: Automate your payments
This is another great way Gobbill can help you maximise control over your finances, with minimal effort!
Gobbill can save you time paying bills by automating the payment process, and protecting you from fraud. When bills are paid through Gobbill we check every invoice to ensure it is not fraudulent, and you retain control over your payment methods. There’s no need to contact all your providers one by one if you get a new card or bank account, simply log in to Gobbill and update them all at once! Using Gobbill is a great way to save time and take the stress out of accounts payable, whilst knowing you are staying protected from fraud.

Contact us to find out how we can help.

Email gobbill@gobbill.com.au

Energy discounts. Are you getting what you signed up for?

February 21st, 2019 Posted by Case Studies, Financial Management, Payments 0 thoughts on “Energy discounts. Are you getting what you signed up for?”

It’s great to save money. That’s why pay-on-time discounts have grown in popularity among us in recent years, but are these discounts on our energy bills really all they crack up to be? Gobbill is a bill payment service for households and small businesses. It scans bills for fraud, pays the energy bill on-time and calculates the actual discount % for users. Recently Gobbill conducted a study of bills (for a year ending 31 Jan 2019) and compared the discounts to what energy companies advertise.

 

Diagram 1.0: Electricity bill in Gobbill

What’s the deal with pay-on-time discounts?

A recent Canstar Blue article “Pay on Time Energy Discounts Explained” mentioned that you can generally expect to see offers ranging from 10% to 30%, or even more in some cases. Pay on time discounts of up to 47% have been seen across Australia in the past.

Pay-on-time discounts reward you by discounting your energy bills by a set amount every month if you pay before the due date. However, conditions of your discounts can vary significantly depending on the provider and plan you choose.  Understanding your energy bill and the conditions attached to your discount can be complicated, and it can be even trickier to compare it with other available offers to find a better deal.

What is driving pay-on-time discounts? Last year, the ACCC found that pay-on-time ‘discounts’ have emerged in response to attempts by government regulations to constrain late payment fees. Pay-on-time energy discounts could be on the chopping block because it is tricky and confusing reported by Choice.com.au

 

What’s the catch?

Pay-on-time discounts seem like a great idea to save more cash but these ‘discounts’ on your energy bills can sometimes end up costing you more if you don’t manage to meet these conditions.

Customers also tend to forget that most of these discounts are only valid for 12 or 24 months from the commencement date of their plan. Without renewing these plans, you’ll be required to pay the full, non-discounted price of your energy bill.

Gobbill analysed a number of bills over the last year and found that some energy providers aren’t giving the discounts promised in their headlines. Gobbill is able to calculate the true discount you receive on your bill when you send your bill into Gobbill for payment.

 

You’ll be surprised what we found.

Gobbill found discrepancies between discounts advertised by energy providers and the actual discount applied to energy bills from a sample of several hundred Victorian bills over the last year. Our data suggests that certain energy customers may not be getting what they expected from the advertised headline discounts.

On top of that, the ACCC reported that energy retailers set their discounts with reference to their own set prices, making it complicated to compare headline discounts between energy providers. As a result, consumers tend to make decisions based on simple indicators, such as headline discounts. However, they may be signing up to exclusions and conditions that deliver a lower saving that other providers.

 

In some cases, Gobbill found that energy providers were promising discounts as high as 33% but only giving 23% off energy bills. If that was my electricity bill, I would be paying an extra $241.68 every year on my electricity bill alone.

Diagram 2.0: Electricity discounts expected vs. actual

 

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