finance

5 easy changes to make if your household expenses have gone up this year.

DODO
Thanks to our brand partner, DODO

It's been a challenging year to say the least.  

We've had to adapt to working from home, home schooling, socialising and entertaining differently, and changing restrictions across the states.

For a lot of us, it's meant increased household costs as we use more internet, energy and water at home. Just think... how many people in your house are using the internet all at one time? Yep, it's a lot more than before.

Here are five simple changes you can make to save money, if you're looking for a few pointers.

1. Find better deals on your energy, phone and internet bills.

With all that's happened this year, it's an opportune moment to re-evaluate, make some changes to those essential expenses, and put the savings towards something you've had your eye on.

The biggest way to save with your energy and telecommunication bills is to shop around and switch to a provider that offers both, with a good deal.

You can save on your internet bill when you combine it with electricity and gas with Dodo. They've introduced nbn plans with unlimited data that start from just $55 per month, when you combine it with energy. That's $10 off their $65 per month plan, along with the competitive energy rates. Now, that can make a big difference.

In Victoria and New South Wales, you can get up to $10 per month off your Dodo bill when you have both electricity and gas, and $5 per month off in Queensland and South Australia when you have electricity. There's also the NBN100 plan with super-fast internet for six to nine devices, for just $80 a month (currently $5 off for the first 12 months, offer available until the 31st of October).

If you're looking to cut down on bills but don't want to compromise on your data or speed plan, these are solid, affordable options for every household. You'll also save $120 with a free setup and modem on a 12-month contract. 

There's more info on Dodo's website, so check it out here.

Devices, devices, devices: This is 2020 life. Image: Getty.

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2. Be savvy with your shopping.

Has your grocery bill skyrocketed since lockdown? I know all these restrictions have not been kind on my waistline or wallet. Luckily, there are a few practices you can put in place to minimise your spending at the grocery store.

Firstly, make sure you check the pantry and fridge before you leave the house so you're not buying things you already have. Wilted spinach and rubbery carrots? Time to plan your meals, make a list, and when you get to the shops, stick to it. That way you can avoid the aisles of temptation and head straight to the products and items you actually need.

Buying seasonally at local farmers' markets can help you get the best prices on fruit and veggies, and bulk-buying pantry items that are on special at places like Aldi and Costco or online bulk retailers can really help reduce grocery bills over time. Just remember, don't bulk buy so much toilet paper than no one else can get any from your local shops!

There's also automatic coupon sites like Honey, a Chrome extension that helps you scour the internet for the best deals running at any given moment. It's a savvy way to save on what you're actually planning to buy.

3. Say goodbye to delivery fees.

Those little $5 delivery fees you fork over when you order through apps like UberEats really do stack up. And, it's worse than you think.

I know it's tempting to get your meals delivered, especially at the moment when we're all social distancing, but if you really want to save a good chunk of change, delete the food delivery apps and collect your takeaways if or when you can.

Consider the fact that it's a bargain to spend $10 less per month on your internet provider... But if you're willing to get food delivered twice, or even three times per week, you've lost your savings and spent $40 to $60 per month on delivery fees alone. That's nearly $500 per year at two deliveries per week. Yikes!

Home delivery is great if you can't get your food otherwise. But if you can... Image: Getty.

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4. Minimise your debts.

OK, we're in serious financial territory now. But, it's true that the quickest way to spend less and save more, is by having less debt.

The first step is obvious... Stop creating more debt! Freeze your credit, pay for items with cash and increase your monthly payments so you pay off your debt faster and reduce the interest paid.

You can save thousands of dollars by doing this. MoneySmart.gov.au is a great place to start if you're trying to figure what debts to prioritise and how to get them paid fast.

5. Round up your transactions.

I love this idea, I really do. It’s so simple, yet it helps you save money you won't miss.

There are certain savings accounts and apps you can use that let you round up your daily transactions to the nearest $1 (or $5 if you want to be a super saver). The leftover money goes straight into your savings account, or with some apps it goes into micro-investing.

For example, if you spend $4.50 on a coffee, your account will be debited $5, with $0.50 going directly into your savings account. If you do that every day for a year, you'll have saved more than $180. And that's just on your daily coffee.

What other tips do you have for saving on household expenses?

DODO
Dodo is one of Australia’s leading challenger brands, with a promise to deliver simplicity and fairness to our customers. We’ve got straightforward and easy-to-use internet and mobile products across Australia, as well as energy products in selected states.
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