At the risk of sounding like one of the ads you see taped to telephone poles, what if I told you there was a way of earning in a couple of days what it would take the average Australian a year to make?
There is. But most of us can’t be bothered to do it.
We’re too busy trudging back and forth to work each day for 48 weeks a year to accomplish the same thing in maybe 48 hours.
What’s the secret?
Putting in the small amount of legwork it takes to switch your mortgage to the best deal. Assuming you’re paying a fairly standard 6.7 per cent interest rate on a $300,000 mortgage, moving to a more competitive 5.7 per cent rate will slash $55,502 from your ultimate interest bill (these rates could fall post-rate cut, although we don’t yet know by how much).
Sure, you don’t get the full whack at once but you do get an instant $185 a month.
Which you can use cleverly to boost your average-salary-equivalent saving to high-flyer level. If you switch to the best deal but maintain your repayments at their previous level, rather than spending your $185, it leaps $50,000-plus to $108,127. You also get out of debt nearly 4.5 years earlier and can then do with the money what you will. And you can catapult this extra earning to the realm of corporate fat cat by applying the methodology to every other cost in your life.
Electricity: despite the price increase, huge savings are available. Your mobile phone: new players are massively shaking things up. Insurance: you could probably be paying less on every single policy.
Your annual savings, if you put in the small amount of work to find them, could easily mount to another several thousand dollars. Yet most of us sit idly by and pay over the odds instead.
A growing phenomenon we could dub digitally induced laziness (DIL) causes us to blithely ignore the huge amount of money that automatically comes out of our bank accounts for life’s essentials each month.
Long gone are the days when you would sit down at the dinner table on pay day, pore over your bills and search valiantly for ways to trim them - and it’s costing us big. So take a moment today to save/make some easy money, this time using technology to assist you.
Save on your mortgage
Switching has never been cheaper, with exit fees banned on new loans and required to be fair on all others. Lenders are also aggressively vying for your business, so they might waive application and other fees.
That and the funny business institutions have played with interest rates in the past few years have seen the number of borrowers planning to ditch their lender jump to 20 per cent, comparison website Mozo says.
The quickest way is using a site such as Mozo (mozo.com.au), infochoice.com.au or ratecity.
com.au to find the best deal.
Save on your utilities
You can’t have missed the electricity increase, due in small part to the carbon tax and in large part to network upgrades. But market researcher Energy Watch (energywatch.com.au) says a family can save $386 a year by moving to a better offer. Also see goswitch.com.au and switchwise.com.au. A warning here: read the fine print before you sign a longer-term contract.
Save on your mobile bill
As soon as you get off a phone contract, get on to a new provider; you’ll be amazed by the savings now on offer. New market entrant Amaysim is offering unlimited calls and texts and a generous data allowance with its $39.90 monthly deal. And you can get a limited package for as little as $19.90 a month.
Jump on phonechoice.com.au or youcompare.com.au. Check out the internet plans while you’re there, too.
Save on your insurance
It’s super simple to change a general insurer - think car, home and contents - but because of age or health history it can be trickier to change a risk insurer, according to life or income protection provider. Savings can be thousands of dollars a year, though, so it’s worth a try.
Get a better deal on your health insurance and it could compensate for losing the health rebate. Try comparison sites such as iselect.com.au and canstar.com.au to see how much you could keep.
With all sites mentioned, be sure to verify their independence and make sure default settings don’t mean top advertisers rather than top deals are displayed first. We’re all busy but make it your mission to tackle at least one of the above so-called fixed costs a month and discover if it is, in fact, flexible.