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Spending smarts

Published: 9:10PM Wednesday June 16, 2010 Source: Fair Go

Reporter - Libby Middlebrook

Each month we all watch our hard earned cash pour out the door on basic necessities, like food, petrol and electricity. And my family's no different. Like most people, we can't believe how much it costs us every week just to live.

You know, the boring stuff like groceries, paying off the mortgage and electricity. So this year, we're making some changes.
We've set ourselves a savings target of two thousand dollars and we really need your help.

We want to hear any clever ideas you've got on how we can live more efficiently, and we'll use the best of them in the show.

Please write in to us with all your thoughts - by email at or you can also go facebook page. Just enter Fair Go in the search box and find the Spending Smarts link.

There are plenty of things we'd rather spend our money on, than servicing a car, but we try not to neglect it so it goes the distance.

But the one area of our lives we're guilty of ignoring is our finances.

I can't remember the last time we reviewed our fixed monthly outgoings.

And just you can't escape that nagging feeling, that you could be getting a better deal.

So this week, I decided to hit the phones and dedicate one day to giving our household a financial tune-up.

Starting with our bank. To my absolute horror and shame, I worked out that we spent $180 in fees over the last year - on one account. It's because of high cheque fees. We put a stop to writing cheques out of that account, making an easy savings of $180.

Next up, insurance. We've always paid in monthly instalments - but if we're prepared to pay in lump sum up front, that'll bring us savings of $325 a year.

We can also save $75 a year on energy, if we change our plan for the summer months.

I also cancel a rewards card we barely use, saving $40 in membership. And discover that we could save money on a new phone and internet plan - but we're stuck in a two year contract.

Look I'm not going to lie. Talking to call centres for a whole afternoon was a complete bore.

But for around the same amount of time to took to tune up the car - we've managed to save around $620 bucks towards our challenge target. And for that - the pain was worth it.



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