The 2015-16 Household Expenditure Survey showed families nationwide were paying an extra $190 a week when measured against the cost of living six years earlier. The data shows between 2011-2017, energy costs rose a hefty 26 per cent across Australia. The growing hip pocket pressure can leave a lot of Aussies feeling as though combating these costs are a lost cause.
But while nobody loves receiving their gas or electricity bill, there are many options out there for an Aussie household looking to shrink the costs of running a home week by week. Best of all, a lot of these methods can be implemented quickly and easily and deliver lasting savings. Let me tell you about some of my favourite ways to cut household running costs.
Smart power switches & alarms
When it comes to saving costs around the home I’m a fan of going back to basics at the start.
Getting energy efficient lights that automatically switch off are fantastic. So too are power boards that not only save energy when in use but can also automatically switch off all connected appliances at the end of the day. No longer will the computer, TV and sound system be left on standby to drive up your power bill overnight.
Alongside electricity, there’s a number of great gadgets you can deploy to save water in the home. Water leak alarms are one of my favourites. They are simple and easy to put in place and will set off an alarm if someone has left a tap running. It’s a really simple but fantastic way to ensure a dripping shower overnight doesn't add extra dollars to your water bill and to stop a leak from turning into a costly flood.
Home assistants & solar panels
Home assistants are another great way to save some cash around the home. Many people already know about Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home and other smart home assistants. These gadgets are good but personally, I really like two local outfits.
Wattcost are a local team that offer a device that all Aussies will recognise if you know Alexa or Google Home. You set it down in your home, set it up to sync with your smartphone and then it all flows from there. As well as giving you reminders whenever you leave a light on or the fridge open, Wattcost also gives recommendations over time about how you could reduce costs.
Shinehub is another group I really like that go the distance when it comes to saving costs. They look to install a solar system in your home for a low cost, and then over time, your power bills will reduce by up to 30 per cent! This is a bigger investment than Wattcost, but a great long-term deal. Especially if you're in South Australia, as you'll get the cost of your solar system covered thanks to the Federal Government's solar rebate.
A truly smart smartphone needs smart integration and while using desktop PCs is often possible at home, apps are an Aussie's best friend for using smart tech around the home and when they're away from home. A number of the smart tech options I’ve listed here so far connect directly to their dedicated apps. But as well as keeping costs down, apps can also be used to prevent unexpected expenses.
Anybody who has ever had a fridge go faulty knows a big power bill can result. By installing fridge monitors with wifi connectivity, you’ll get a notification on your smartphone if your fridge or freezer temperature suddenly goes out of whack.
This may not make dealing with the melted ice cream a cheerful chore but will ensure any issues that arise unexpectedly won’t spread to taking cash out of your wallet.
Budget & cut costs on big moves
These savings around the home are always really good. But I know a lot of Aussies are thinking ‘OK but what about when I move home?’.
16.7 percent of Aussies had switched homes between the 2011 and 2016 Census. This is something a majority of young Aussies deal with, as a third of young Australians between 20 and 29 had shifted homes between 20 and 29.
Maximising the benefits of smart tech in your home also requires being smart about your moving costs. Saving a few dollars here and there each month is great, but if you hire a moving company that charges an extra $100 per hour a whole year of savings can quickly go down the drain. That’s why I’m a fan of findamover.com.au which allows you to compare quotes from different movers in your area and make an informed choice based on reviews, their availability and of course the best price.
This is also where I need to give my team a bit of a mention. In a nutshell, what we do at Hero Broker is put the power in your hands to sort your own mortgage. And because you're your own broker you don’t pay broker fees, and better yet: you keep the money you would’ve spent on commission. A simple process on our platform, but a big saving for everyday Aussies.
These devices can cost a little more up front, but in the long run are really worth the investment. Plus many of them can be moved with you to your new address.
Sure you may not be planning to undo the automatic lights if you move home, but water alarms, power boards, and smart devices can easily travel with you from one home to another. By using handy apps and nifty platforms like Hero Broker, you can be sure any mortgage you arrange for your new home will be an easy and stress-free experience. One that saves you money too!
Clint Howen is the founder of Hero Broker. The online mortgage broker platform that lets you arrange your own mortgage - and keep the money you save on a broker’s commission! Head to our website for more info about Hero Broker.
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