The scary cost of bad habits

We show how five bad habits could be costing you more than you think.

If you’d like to pocket extra cash take a look at these money-devouring habits to see where you could save.

1. Leaving appliances turned on

Sounds harmless enough… you leave the computer, the games console or the phone charger turned on all day. How much energy could that use? It turns out stand-by power can suck up plenty of juice, even accounting for 10% of your annual electricity bill according to Energy Australia.

It’s a no-brainer. Turn appliances off at the wall, cut bills. Simple.

2. Drinking bottled water

Water is far healthier than sugar-packed juices or shakes. But regularly drinking bottled water could drain your finances. Buying a $3 bottle of water each day will add up to more than $20 weekly. That’s more than $1,000 annually. Why pay for the stuff when it comes out of the tap virtually free of charge? Here’s a simple solution. Refill bottles from the tap. Good health, great value.

3. The weekly lottery ticket

That $10 weekly lotto ticket may sound like harmless fun though it’s going to set you back $520 in just one year – or more than $2,500 over five years. With the odds of taking out ‘the big one’ hovering around 8 million: 1 according to Tatts Lotto, it’s not a guaranteed strategy for success.

Here’s a better bet. Aussie’s repayments calculator shows that if you add that $10 each week to a $350,000 home loan, you could save $17,750 in interest costs and cut one year and six months off your loan term based on an interest rate of 4.75% and loan term of 30 years. Talk to your local Aussie Mortgage Broker to see how much you could save with a similar strategy.

4. Withdrawing cash from foreign ATMs

It’s a bit rich having to pay to access your own money. Yet that’s what plenty of us are doing. Withdrawing cash from ATMs that don’t belong to your bank’s network could see you slugged with fees of $2 or more. Do it just twice a week and you’ll end up forking out more than $200 in unwanted fees this year alone. What a waste!

Many banks have apps that identify the location of your nearest ATM for fee-free withdrawals. Or head to one of the big supermarkets where you can usually withdraw cash at no charge – no need to buy anything.

5. Keeping the peddle to the metal

Being a ‘lead foot’ behind the wheel is going to cost you. And we’re not talking speeding fines.

Fuel consumption escalates dramatically at high speed. Hitting 110 clicks for instance can see your car guzzle 25% more petrol than if you stay on 90 km/h. If you’re on the freeway aim to travel just below 100 km/h if the speed limit is beyond this – sure you’ll be overtaken by most other drivers but there’s plenty of time to catch up while they’re refueling.

Sticking with a home loan that’s no longer right for your needs, or charges an uncompetitive interest rate, can see you pay more than necessary. Get into the habit of talking to your Proactive Lending Solution about an annual home loan review or ask your bank each year for a more competitive interest rate to help ensure you’re not paying more than you have to.

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