Australia’s real cost of living storm is far from over, with costs expected to rise in spring as the fuel excise expires, winter power bills land and mortgages and grocery prices peak.
Protect yourself from upcoming cost hikes by planning to tackle your energy bills, insurance premiums, car costs and mortgage. Let’s get started.
Review what you’re paying for gas and electricity.
Australia’s energy market isn’t pretty right now. Price hikes are sitting around 15-20%, with record high wholesale prices and some smaller retailers going under. But the good news is that switching and finding a low rate is pretty simple.
Try Energy Made Easy, the Australian regulator’s price comparison website. You can use this anywhere, but note that the energy comparison feature is only available in locations where the National Energy Retail Law has commenced. At this point, it’s just NSW, QLD, SA, TAS and the ACT.
If you live in VIC, you can visit their government-run energy comparison website, Compare Energy. Once VIC commences the National Energy Retail Law, you’ll also be able to use Energy Made Easy to compare generally available gas and electricity offers near you.
If you can’t switch because you live in WA, northern QLD or the NT and can’t choose between providers, check out these simple ways to save on energy costs and see if you’re doing them already.
Consider pre-paying your insurance policy ahead.
Postponed premium increases will start back up in September as spring kicks in. If possible, it’s a great time to pre-pay your policy for the year ahead.
Nifty hack: Push your premiums back even further by pre-paying your premium at the current pricing. Most health funds will let you do this for a year, but providers like HCF will let you do it for up to 18 months in advance. This means you could potentially avoid any premium hikes until April 2024.
The ideal timing is the day before your health fund increases its rates. That’s 1 September for AIA Health, 1 October for GMHBA, Frank, TUH, Teachers Health, UniHealth and Nurses & Midwives Health, Peoplecare, and 1 November for HCF, NIB, Medibank/AHM and Bupa.
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Is it worth selling your car? Think about it.
If petrol prices are smashing your budget and you hardly use your second car (or even the first), now is a great time to sell it for an inflated price. Used car prices are very high!
Otherwise, remember that the old ‘sum insured’ for your car might be less than the value of a replacement car now that prices have jumped. This could mean you’re under-insured if you have an accident and write your vehicle off. Shop for a better car insurance deal if you plan to increase your sum insured.
Could you save money on your mortgage?
Mortgages are taking a fair whack right now. Refinancing your mortgage could save you some good money over a few years. Existing borrowers are getting slammed by rate rises, but if you can refinance, you might find some low rates under 3.5% – and occasionally some cashback offers too.
Ask your current lender to drop your rate once you present them with cheaper options you found – it can’t hurt.
Avoid petrol price spikes.
Motorists have been suffering pain at the bowser this year, with petrol prices pushing $2 a litre. That’s despite a move from the previous federal government to half the fuel excise to reduce financial pressure on drivers. But that cut is not forever, and the reduced rate will expire on 28 September.
How it works:
You usually pay a tax of 44.2 centres for every litre of fuel you buy, (it’s included in the price at the bowser), and that excise was halved on 30 March to 22.1 cents per litre.
Sadly, it was only a six-month measure, and drivers can expect a jump in petrol prices from 28 September. Use fuel apps to check for the cheapest retailer nearby, and fill up at the bottom of the cycle wherever possible.
If you’re struggling, there is help available.
Keeping up with regular payments like rent, electricity, and gas can be challenging when money’s tight. If you’re having trouble paying any of your bills, it’s good to understand your options. Check out our article on bill help today.
Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.