Financial experts have weighed in on what you should cut to combat cost-of-living pressures – and the advice might surprise you.
Cost of living pressures continue to mount for many Australian families, but experts have revealed how you can start saving money immediately and reduce your debt.
HPH Solutions financial planner Matt Hern told NCA NewsWire that the first thing to remove was “forgettable comfort.”
“You won’t miss them. Forgettable comforts include the sweet treat with your morning coffee, takeout, or at least the reduction in home delivery of takeout,” he said.
“Rather than having multiple streaming services at once, subscribe and consume one service every three months.”
Financial District manager and broker Sean Lee told NCA NewsWire that people spending money on food was a major factor.
“Some quick benefits people can consider to save some money are reviewing how often they go to restaurants and using food delivery services, like Uber Eats,” he said.
“Meal planning, sticking to a grocery list, cooking in bulk, and eating in could easily save a couple at least $200 a week.
“Consider replacing more expensive fitness memberships with cheaper alternatives or free outdoor exercise, limit the use of air conditioners and heaters, and turn off any appliances that aren’t used often as energy costs are expected to rise. “
Craig McDonald of CBM Mortgages has seen Australians start to worry about rising rate hikes over the past couple of months. He told NewsCorp the number one thing people give up to fight cost-of-living pressures is eating out.
The broker, based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, said: “Clients are aware of how banks look at their day-to-day spending, so the avo on toast and $5 coffees at the weekend are the first things to do.”
Financial planner and lecturer at Edith Cowan University, Damon Brown, told NCA NewsWire that entertainment and travel were the top expenses people should ditch if they were in financial difficulty.
“Especially trips that involve driving for fuel costs. The five hour drive to a campsite and things like that – just because the cost of fuel just skyrocketed,” he said. he declares.
“What was once a cheap vacation…has become considerably more expensive.”
Mr Brown also agreed that food delivery services should be scrapped for anyone trying to save money.
“It’s a discretionary element that can be reduced. We just need to budget food better rather than relying on discretionary purchases,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s a staple you need to have. I ordered just two nights ago and it cost me $80…it’s just mental, it adds up.
Mr Hern warned that having all your money in one account makes it too easy to overspend.
“Limit your likelihood of overspending by automatically setting money aside in a separate account with each paycheck to cover commitments, such as bills and essentials,” he says.
“Also set up automatic savings for your goals and additional debt repayments. Leftover monies can be spent on impulses and indulgences.
“Remove the temptation to spend on impulse by unsubscribing from marketing newsletters, and avoid browsing stores without a list and without a set budget.”
Mr Lee agreed that having a separate account was a good idea and said it was important for people to budget.
“Record your weekly income, add up your expenses, and calculate how much you have left, if any, to see if that’s enough to meet your annual savings goals. If not, adjust your budget and revise your spending,” he said.
“Transfer your budgeted weekly savings to another account to avoid spending them.
“Pay off your credit card in full each month to avoid interest charges, or don’t use credit cards at all to avoid getting stuck in debt.
Mr Hern said cutting spending could be difficult, so people should start with quick and easy steps.
“Look at the direct debits in your account and cut off the subscriptions you no longer use,” he said.
“Then switch to less expensive versions of your current spending habits.
“For example, bring your lunch to work rather than buying it, and rather than dining out, socialize with friends at home with homemade snacks.
“Use public transit or carpool if possible, and refuel your car at the lowest point in the fuel cycle.”
Mr Lee said he recommends anyone with a loan speak to a finance broker.
“This is usually your biggest expense, so it makes sense to review your loan structure and interest rate,” he said.
“More often than not, people are paying at least 0.50% more per year than they should and on a $600,000 home loan, which equals $250 per month in interest savings just by reviewing your home loans.
“The big banks expect the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise interest rates by at least 1% by the end of the year.
“For the average home loan balance, that equates to at least a $500 per month increase in your mortgage payments — be prepared and budget for it.”
Mr. Lee noted that banks are in fierce competition for business and it pays to shop around.
“Some banks give a discount of up to $6,000 for you to refinance your loan, subject to certain conditions, which could be an added bonus for interest savings,” he said.
Mr Brown agreed that mortgage holders should review their mortgages.
“Is it still competitive in the market? Because a lot of times we find that if we’re stuck with products that are a few years old…there are better products out there,” he said.
Mr. Brown also recommended paying off credit card debt.
“We’re going to see credit card interest rates increase significantly more than just the Reserve Bank’s price increase,” he said.
Mr Brown said if people felt under financial pressure, they should feel comfortable talking about it.
“Tell your family and friends about it. Don’t feel embarrassed because there are a lot of people under financial pressure,” he said.
“Historically…for baby boomers, everything was very confidential and they never spoke to friends and family if they were under financial pressure.
“I think we’re in a new era now where financial pressures are really common and there’s no judgment.”
Mr Brown said it could save you from hanging out with friends and family when you can’t afford it.
“Or if your employer wants to give you more opportunities to work from home so you don’t have to incur the cost of driving to work and things like that,” he said.