With many people out of work or unsure about the security of their jobs, and the September cliff looming, the 2020 EOFY sales won’t see many people upgrading their technology, wardrobes or cars.
Instead, savvy shoppers are putting aside as much cash as possible to insulate themselves against the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crises.
Here are five ways we’re saving money on life’s essentials (rather than splashing out in the sales):
Phone plan: I’ve been with Optus on a $40 p/m sim-only plan for the last year. The plan offers 40gb, unlimited national calls and texts, unlimited calls to a handful of other countries (my home country included) and a few Optus customer deals and offers that I’ve never used. It’s not a bad deal, but if I take advantage of the Circles.Life EOFY sale, I can get a massive 100gb and unlimited national calls and texts all on the Optus network – for $28 a month! After 12 months, the price will go back up to $38, but it’s not a lock-in contract, so I’m free to find a better deal anytime.
Saving: $12 x 12 months = $144 per year
Internet plan: If you’re with Telstra, the largest internet provider in Australia, you’ll be paying $90 a month for unlimited data at home, with a 44Mbps typical evening speed. Switch to new provider Tangerine (with their friendly citrus mascot) and you’ll be paying $49.90 a month for the first six months, then $59.90 a month after that. You’ll still be getting unlimited data, though your typical evening speed drops to 21Mps. If you like your internet speedy, you could upgrade to 42Mbs on Tangerine, which is still a bargain at $59.90 a month.
Saving: $240.60 (first six months) + $180.60 (next six months) = $421.20
Rent: This won’t be for everyone, as it’s a bit of hard work, but now is the time to take a good look at how much you’re paying in rent. With the rental markets experiencing much of the COVID aftershocks, you may be able to negotiate a reduction with your landlord (if you haven’t already) or move house to take advantage of falling rents in major cities. Purely anecdotally, my partner and I moved house in May and applied for the house we wanted at $50 a week less than they were asking. They snapped us up (makes me wonder if I could have offered less), and we signed a year-long lease.
Saving: $50 x 52 = $2600 (minus the costs of moving house, of course).
Groceries: Look, a girl’s gotta eat. And no matter how many times I attempt to regrow my veggie tops in an attempt to be thrifty, I inevitably end up back at the supermarket. I know all the tricks – don’t go shopping hungry, choose home brands, buy in season – but realistically, groceries cost money. However, since we’re unlikely to be doing a lot of travelling in the next few months, I traded 19,000 of my soon-to-expire Qantas points for a $100 Woolworths gift card and used that to fill my fridge – much less exciting than a flight, but at least the food’s better.
Health insurance: If you have private health insurance, you may already be taking advantage of premium reductions or holidays offered during this crisis, but if you’re not, now might be a good time to switch providers. Several of the major funds – including ahm, Medibank, Peoplecare and health.com.au – are offering six weeks free cover, which could equate to as much as $300 saved. Others are offering $200 off, vouchers or loyalty points, but all these deals must be grabbed before July 1.
Total savings over a year = $3,565.20