Don’t wait for the new year to get on top of your finances.
Many of us wait until January to tackle our household bills so that the new year is off to a cracker of a start.
But if you set aside just a few hours right now, you could go into 2024 with one less thing to worry about.
Shopping around for a new energy, internet and phone plan to save money is easier than you think. We’ll also go through some tips to help you maximise your savings.
Let’s get into it so you can spend time afterwards winding down for the festive season.
Lock in mobile plan savings
Of the 3 utilities, switching mobile plans has to be one of the easiest things to do, as long as you aren’t tied to a phone contract.
Finder’s research shows that people spend up to $61 a month on their mobile plan with a major provider such as Optus, Telstra or Vodafone compared to $24 a month with a smaller provider.
That’s a $444 difference over the year which you could be missing out on.
There are also deals floating around all the time – from bonus data offers to discounted mobile plans that offer bang for buck.
When you start comparing mobile plans, consider the following to maximise your chances of securing the best plan for your needs:
- Choose a provider that offers the best network coverage in your area. This is particularly important for people who live outside of metropolitan areas.
- Consider how much data you need. The average Aussie uses 10.2GB of data per month. Look at how much data you use via your phone settings or calculate how much you need online. Don’t pay for data that will go to waste unless you can bank it for future use.
- Think about plan length. If you are happy with a network or provider, consider long-expiry prepaid plans that can last up to 365 days. The main caveat is you will need to pay upfront, but it can work out to be the cheaper option in the long run.
Don’t sleep on switching internet plans
Haven’t switched internet plans in the last 6–12 months? You’re likely missing out on hundreds of dollars in savings.
The reason is simple. Internet providers in Australia are known to sling epic sign-up discounts for up to 6 months. Many offer no-lock-in contracts and the option to BYO modem, making it even easier to keep switching around.
NBN prices have been on the rise since October 2023 and that’s even pushed the ACCC into urging Aussies to shop around as they might be overpaying.
For example, there’s a $450+ difference between the cheapest and most expensive unlimited data NBN 50 plan in Finder’s database. The cheapest one is from a smaller provider.
The price difference jumps to $520+ for NBN 100, the second most popular speed tier after NBN 50.
When you’re comparing broadband plans, consider:
- What speeds do you need for your household size? Don’t let providers convince you to sign up for faster speeds than you need.
- Don’t ignore unlimited data plans. These have become the norm and would suit people who use their internet regularly. There’s only around a $5 a month difference between a data-capped and unlimited data plan, which can be a small amount to pay for peace of mind.
- Contracts versus month-to-month plans. No-lock-in contracts allow you to switch providers and take advantage of deals easily. But if you decide to get on a contract, make sure you’re getting something in return, such as a free modem.
Cool down your energy bills this summer
Energy bills are expected to jump up as we brace ourselves for a scorching summer and some of us blast on the air conditioning.
Power bills will be more expensive than the previous summer given we were hit by a 25% increase in energy prices on 1 July 2023.
But there are ways to keep cool and save money.
Add finding a new energy plan to your pre-Christmas shopping list if you haven’t switched providers in over 12 months or negotiated a new plan with your existing provider.
For example, Finder’s analysis found a $410–$790 price gap in annual estimates between the cheapest and most expensive single rate tariff electricity plan for a 2- to 3-person household.
Besides that, consider how you will keep cool this summer. Some things to remember:
- Reverse-cycle air conditioners are one of the cheapest types of air conditioning to use if you already have them installed in your home. Small, portable air cons can be less efficient and more costly.
- Raise the temperature of your thermostat as every additional degree can add 5–10% to your running costs.
- Clean your air conditioner’s filters. Mould, pollen and dust can make it harder for your air conditioner to cool the room and end up costing you more money.
- Invest in a fan as they only cost 2–3 cents to run. You can even buy multiple fans to have in each room as they can be cheaper to buy.