How to reduce your bills and save thousands

By Lauren Leisk, Yahoo7 Moneyhound Updated January 30, 2013, 8:00 am

Regroup, recoup, refocus. Don't let your monthly bills get the better of you.

Household administration can be a chore, but comparing prices and plans could be the best investment of your time that you spend this year.

When was the last time you compared all your current plans to see if you are paying the lowest rates across all your monthly household expenses?

Using online comparison tools could help you fetch a better deal and save you a bundle – maybe even enough for this years family Christmas holiday.

Compare your gas and electricity prices

Rising gas and electricity prices have been placing a great deal of extra pressure on Australian households for the several years and things are only set to worsen – or maybe not.

Changing your provider can save you a bundle on your power and gas. And, speaking of bundles, combining your utilities with the one company can often yield great discounts. Using Moneyhound to wrangle your power bills into a more manageable option is as easy as entering your postcode. Compare gas and electricity prices now.

Not only paying less for electricity but starting habits to reduce your usage can also help.

Moneyhound tips: 50 Ways to reduce your power bill

Compare your home loan

Now that the government has banned exit fees on new home loans, there’s no reason to stay loyal to your current lender – especially if it’s costing you money. With current interest rates at their lowest in years banks are becoming highly competitive for your business.

Your biggest monthly household expense is your mortgage. Getting a reduction of just $200 a month, will save you close to $50,000 over a 20 year loan.

Using Moneyhound’s home loan calculator and easy home loan comparison tool to helps you make sense of the hundreds of fixed, variable, split, interest only and low doc and home loan packages baying for your attention – and your hard-earned money.

Moneyhound tips: How refinancing can save you thousands

Compare your car or personal loan

Your car loan or personal loan might be costing you more money than it should, too. Put it under the New Year’s microscope and see if a different lender might be able to swoop in and help you pay off the debt faster, or save you money on interest.

It might also be helpful to consider consolidating your debts – especially at this time of year if you’ve gone a little overboard on the presents and holiday spending. Whatever your reason for a personal loan, you will find the best one for your circumstances when you compare personal loans at Moneyhound.

Moneyhound tips: Are hybrid cars worth the cost?

Compare your credit cards

It might be the right time to cut up that credit card which is costing you more in annual fees and interest than its worth to own it. If your credit card debt is out of control try transferring the balance over to a new, cheaper credit card, with a low interest rate for 6-9 months to help you get it back under control.

Check out these 10 low rate balance transfer offers now. One of the best offers around at the moment is the ANZ Low Rate card offering 0% p.a. interest on balance transfers for 12 months (limited time).

Compare your mobile plan

If you’re off contract, it’s time to shop around for a better deal. By comparing mobile phone plans, you can save loads of money by simply specifying your usage patterns, desired monthly spend and data requirements.

New 'unlimited' call and text plans are great, but be aware not all these plans have unlimited data for using the internet and email on your smartphone. You can quickly rack up hundreds of dollars in extra charges if you sign up for a plan with 50MB data when your usage dictates you need 4GB.

Tips: Which aussie telco has the cheapest 'unlimited' phone plan now?

Compare your broadband plan

Broadband plans have become highly competitive in recent times. Don’t put up with being overcharged by your broadband provider – when it comes to your telco, loyalty is not the best policy and it pays to shop around. The good news is that the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has introduced reforms in 2012 mandating that telcos send customers notification, by text or email for example, if they have exceeded their usage.

If you live in a metro area you can get up to 100GB a month for a cheap monthly fee when you bundle your broadband and home phone line into one plan. Some plans also offer to bundle your mobile phone plans and pay TV too.

Compare: Broadband Plans

Look at your pay TV plan

How many programs are on your pay TV plan that you don't watch? Your introductory or honeymoon period might have lapsed, so you can now ask yourself if you're really getting what you pay for with regards to your pay TV usage. There are nearly 20 channels you can now access for free so perhaps see if you can live without it for a few months or downsize your plan.

Compare your insurances

There are so many household insurances these days. Doing some research to find a cheaper insurer could be the best investment of time you make this year. There's private health insurance, car insurance, home & contents insurance, life insurance and income protection insurance too.

Compare saving accounts

Do you have money in the bank that is earning you little to no interest? If you do then that's a waste. High rate online savings accounts like the ING Savings Maximiser can pay you to save by giving you up to a high rate of interest on your pinched pennies and paying you monthly. Moneyhound can help you compare high rate saving accounts now.

Taking stock of your all your household expenses in one hit can help you save thousands when it all adds up.

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Whilst Yahoo7 Moneyhound attempts to provide information regarding as many products in the market as is possible, not all available products are compared on this site.The comparison rates for home loans are based on secured credit of $150,000 and a term of 25 years. The comparison rates for car and personal loans are based on credit of $10,000 and a term of 3 years. WARNING: The comparison rate applies only to the example given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees and cost savings such as fee waivers are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan. Read more on our disclaimers here.

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