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The $12k challenge: The hacks that can help you save on bills



Bills are taking an ever bigger bite out of household budgets and now is the time to fight back.

It's a must if you want to make the changes that will allow you to pocket an additional $12,000 over the next 12 months.

From outsmarting subscription services to paying less in electricity costs, here's how you can go from bill basket case to bill buster in 2023.

READ MORE: The $12k challenge: The grocery hacks that could help you save on your shopping bill

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Tracking your spending

Knowledge is power and if you're ever going to save big money on your bills, you need to first understand them.

The free app Frollo links all your bank accounts, pulls the data and attempts to understand the information.

It claims to help you achieve financial goals by providing personalised insights on exactly how much you are spending on certain areas, like dining out or gym classes.

(I made the mistake of checking how much I've spent on Uber Eats in the past year and let's just say it wasn't pretty).

Frollo's Piet Van Den Boer says the app is particularly good at helping users stay on top of their bills.

READ MORE: Australian retail sales slump in December in sign cost of living crisis is starting to bite

"We identify merchants and we identify bills and we show you all your bills and when they're occurring in a dashboard," he said.

"The app will send you a message when you have a couple of bills due in the next seven days if you don't have enough funds in your account to cover it".

This can help stop you from forking out for late fees, if you sometimes struggle to pay before the deadline.

Van Den Boer says Frollo is accredited by the government to meet security and privacy standards.

He claims users on average increase their savings by $1100 in the first three months.

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Tracking your usage

Now you're successfully tracking your bill spending, it's time to also track your energy usage.

Victorians are eligible for a free Emerald EMS energy tracker that can be installed at their home.

It monitors real-time electricity use and taps into historical data, letting users know areas of high usage.

It can be controlled from an app and there's a potential to save as much 15 per cent on your power bill, depending on circumstances.

In NSW, there are financial incentives to upgrade your household appliances to more energy efficient models, cutting your usage and your bills.

Also check if you're eligible for the Family Energy Rebate, Seniors Energy Rebate or Low Income Household Rebate.

READ MORE: What is inflation? And how a record-high CPI might affect you

Become a stream supreme 

So many of us pay for multiple subscriptions and the monthly fees add up.

It pays to do a stocktake of exactly what you're subscribed to.

You can do this by clicking through to "subscriptions" in your iPhone settings (this is how I discovered I was paying a $90 annual fee for Headspace despite not having used the app since January last year. Fair to say, my mood was far from tranquil when the money was deducted from my account).

When it comes to streaming, a handy tip is to sign up to a service and then cancel straight away.

That means you still get to watch for the month you paid for but the subscription won't automatically renew.


Car insurance premiums are soaring because companies are needing to cover the costs stemming from a large number of claims after last year's floods.

James Ward from Drive says while you shouldn't reduce your premium to the detriment of your insurance cover, it's important to carefully check you're not paying for unnecessary extras.

"If you are funding younger drivers but you don't have any on the car, take that out," he says.

"If you're not doing longer trips and you don't need windscreen replacement or hire car cover, take those out."

If you've got insurance with a provider for your home or your contents insurance, you can sometimes roll in your car insurance to get a multi-policy discount.

Also look out for attractive sign-on offers for swapping to a new provider.

Effie Zahos

Review, review, review 

Canstar's Effie Zahos' top tip for tackling your bills in 2023 is simple.

"You need to review," she said.

"Prices change frequently, that means you just can't rely on looking at your household bill and just paying when it comes."

Every month, go over your bills and check to see if you're getting the cheapest option on the market.

If you're not, take your business elsewhere.

Tomorrow night on 9News, we look at home loans and the best ways to get a decent interest rate.

We'll also reveal the best advice to cut down your credit card debt and what you should look out for when applying for a personal loan.

The information provided on this website is general in nature only and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information on this website you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

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