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Money The easy way to slash your bills and dent your debt

15:47  06 january  2018
15:47  06 january  2018 Source:   msn.com

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With the cost of living rising and wages stagnant, Australian household budgets are tighter than ever.

Many Australians are missing out on hundreds, if not thousands of dollars worth of savings on their bills by simply not checking to see if they’re getting the best deal.

Whether it's insurance, electricity or even the mortgage, the experts agree we're paying too much.

“It's really quite simple for the average Australian to save typically between three and five thousand dollars a year," Money Magazine financial expert Paul Clitheroe said.

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Laura Crowden from comparison website iSelect said as a nation we're paying $5 billion every year simply by staying with the same provider, adding “they end up paying what we call the lazy tax.”

The comparison site has been given the challenge of finding savings for three different Australian families.

Rohmi and Kathryn Carmont have always considered themselves as a budget-conscious family but with two young boys they admit staying on top of the bills isn't always easy.

“It is like a full time job trying to keep up with it, what's good six months ago is nearly irrelevant now so it's tough” Kathryn said.

Like most families their biggest bills are for electricity and internet.

The Carmonts aren’t too happy with the internet speed they’re getting on the NBN and are on a $121 a month plan with Telstra.

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iSelect found by switching to MyRepublic, not only will the Carmonts enjoy faster internet but they’ll save $372 a year and by switching energy providers from Red Energy to Origin, they can also save $486.52 a year.

The biggest saving for the Carmonts is in their mortgage.

Kathryn and Rohmi have had their home loan with St George for close to a decade and they've only managed to negotiate a variable rate of 4.22 percent.

While they will have to pay an exit fee, a move to Suncorp could see them pocket $1416 a year. That’s $48,378 over the lifetime of the loan.

“I think around about two-thirds of Australians are not in the best mortgage they can be in,” Mr Clitheroe said.

“What I say to people is if your mortgage on your own home is not three point something or very low four point somethings, you are throwing away a ton of money.”

Self-funded retiree Michelle Williams and her husband switched their two mortgages to Bankwest a couple of years ago. While Michelle believes it was a good deal then, she questions whether it's the best deal now.

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“I am just a creature of habit and I worked for a  financial organisation for 21 years so I sort of stuck with what I knew,” Michelle said.

After iSelect ran a quick comparison they found Michelle and her husband were missing out on thousands of dollars worth of savings.

By moving their home loan on both their principal place of residence and her investment property from Bankwest to Suncorp, they save almost $3000 a year.

Over the lifetime of the loans that adds up to $90,000.

It’s not the only saving they could find for Michelle and her husband.

Having had two knee replacements in the past year, Michelle knows all too well the importance of good health insurance, but a quick check of her policy revealed she was paying for some things she no longer needed like pregnancy.

By switching from HCF to NIB Michelle and her husband save between $579 to $887.

Similarly Deb Angus is also concerned about her health insurance. She’s paying $216.50 a month with a $250 excess. ISelect found by switching from Bupa to HCF and doubling her excess she saves $496.20 a year.

Another bill, where she has the potential to save is car insurance. According to iSelect, Deb could pocket around $63 dollars a month by moving insurers. The only catch is her excess would increase and the value of her car would drop by more than $4000.

“The excess doesn't worry me because it is only about $100 but $4,000 less is quite a lot of money,” Deb said.

Whether it's for your car or your life, it's important to make sure you choose an insurance policy that suits your specific needs. With so many market comparison websites like iSelect out there, there really is no excuse not to save.

“I would suggest to people that they want to do this about once a year,” iSelect's Ms Crowden said.

“So we would really encourage you, when you get that bill, to take the time and give us a call.”

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