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Cars are money-sucking monsters. There’s no rocket-science here. Australian registration now averages above $700. 
 
Here are some ways we are adding to the cost of owning a car in petrol:
  • Burning up highways doing drop-offs
  • Stuffing your car with grocery shopping
  • Commuting to work at rush hour
  • Filling your car at the servo with petrol
  • Driving the kids all over the place
Whatever your scenario there are plenty of common and little know ways to save on your car.
 
Read on to discover:

How Not To Burn Cash With Your Car

Don’t buy new

The first stumbling block of car ownership is what you paid for it. Whether you leased your car or syphoned your savings to make this big ticket item buy, you would have felt it. A car is one of the biggest purchases you’ll make aside from a home mortgage.

DayronV / Pixabay

 
Here are two ways to reduce this cost:
 
Option 1:
 
Avoid buying new. The minute you drive your car out of the yard, you’ll burn up cash the moment you hit the road. New cars depreciate super fast. Instead, consider buying something like a good quality secondhand car. For example, Japanese cars have a reputation of lasting the distance even if when older.
 
Tip: When buying a secondhand car do your homework. Don’t risk buying a lemon.
 
Option 2:
 
Some families skip buying a car altogether. This can work well for city-dwellers who have excellent access to public transport. These families might find a way to rent a car for holidays or long trips. With the advent of sites like Airtasker, there’s even less need for cars now. These services are not only cheap but time saving.
 
Tip: For other families this option is not practical or doable. In this case, look at losing the family’s second car. Many families work their schedules to reduce the cost of owning two cars. The cost of owning two cars adds up tenfold over the course of one year.

Bulk Buy Tyres

The running costs of owning a care are also a major expense. One way to save is to make sure tyres are safe and kept well-serviced. Get them checked often to reduce any longer term problems.
 
Tip: To save money on tyres look out for 3-for-2 deals like the ones offered at Bridgestone. Just like cooking in bulk, buying tyres in a deal can reduce costs over time.

Unsplash / Pixabay

Check Petrol Prices

Petrol is a given. We all know how a budget can blow out with the rise and fall of petrol prices. Think about how much more petrol costs the day before a public holiday.
 
Feels shifty? Is shifty.
 
Beware of all the tricks petrol stations play when pricing their petrol. Consider a finder app, which determines the cheapest petrol near you.
 
Tip: Consider converting your car to run cheaper. Change over to more environmentally-friendly biofuel.

MichaelGaida / Pixabay

 
Sounds like a hassle?
 
Consider leaving your destination earlier. This reduces the temptation to speed. Driving too fast eats up fuel very quickly, especially on smaller roads. You’ll have to refill your tank more often, which equates to throwing money out of your car window.

Get Your Insurance Sorted

Skip automatic insurance renewals at the end of each period. Providers usually increase the cost during this time. Instead, shop around and find a better deal. Tell your current insurer the deal and they may match it. This simple step will reduce annual costs by anything up to $300!
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It’s that time again and the annual health fund rate is on the rise. You’ve no doubt heard the numerous media stories and adverts on the topic. They’ve either rung some alarm bells or you’ve just go on with your day as usual.
Don’t worry. 13 million Australians with private health care feel the same sense of worry or apathy. While many of us will continue to pay more, there are also plenty of potential savings on the cards. But the point is, now is a good time to make sure your health insurance cover is coughing up what you need and for a price you can afford.
The goal is to get value for money and there’s plenty of help out there in the health insurance hemisphere.
With all the fuss of late, it is hard to know what is actually going on.
So here are the basic facts:

  • The 6% figure (actually 5.59%) is an average across all products and all funds.
  • Your particular arrangement may rise a little, or it may go up a lot.
  • Using a comparison service is the easiest way to find a deal that works for your needs right now
  • Whilst comparing policies online is a good place to start, talking to experts will get you sorted

There are winners and losers every year and here’s how the cards are falling.

DarkoStojanovic / Pixabay

DarkoStojanovic / Pixabay

Are you a winner?

There are two kinds of winners.

  1. Those who have a health fund that hasn’t changed much.  These winners fall into the minority as most fund providers increase premiums each year. Such increases are due to the rising cost of health and the ageing Australian population.
  2. Those who recently adjusted their cover to accommodate changing needs. If this is you, you’re already in the best place because you’re not paying for unnecessary extras.

What you should do

Take a couple of minutes to double-check your health cover policy. Use the annual media blitz as an alert for reassessing your situation each year. Use a comparison website to see what’s out there and make an informed decision. For best results choose a package that suits your needs now and in the future.

Losers

Your fund raised your premiums on 1 April and now the increases are burning a hole in your wallet. The rise is likely the 6% increase and could be more depending on your provider and circumstances.

What to do

Start asking questions

Assess your needs and consider the immediate future. Ask questions like this:

  1. Are you paying for a pregnancy option but have no plans for a baby?
  2. Are your kids done with the orthodontist?
  3. Have you used your Chiropractor option in the last year?

Do this

Get on the internet and compare health funds.
Your current arrangement might be the best for you, but it pays to check and revise premiums each year.

Moving forward

Health insurance premiums will continue to rise every year. The rising cost of health services is due to Australia’s ageing population. As a result, people are using more services such as expensive services like prosthetics. This is making health care one of the fastest growing costs for Australians.
Every March the media will sound the health insurance alarm bell. Make this your cue to revise health insurance premiums and reduce your cost of living. You may not need to swap funds every year, but being curious is your greatest asset.
Use Choosewell to check to compare funds online and see which fund right for you and your family’s needs. Visit the Choosewell website or call 1300 421 154 to speak with a consultant and start getting more from your health insurance.

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Life insurance is one of those sensitive ideas people don’t really want to think about. At the end of the day, the idea of death is certainly not the most optimistic topic one would want to deal with on a bright sunny day in spring! But just like visiting the dentist or seeing a doctor about a minor health issue, the idea is worth thinking about in terms of ‘the bigger picture” and what could happen if you didn’t take a small step in the right direction now.
There are many reasons for getting life insurance and the most popular one is that they may have a vested financial commitment or interest in something. They may also want to secure their family should something happen. For example, they may have a business which has taken years to build up and they’d like to pass the profits of that business on, should something happen. Some people get life insurance if they’d like to leave a legacy for their children, grandchildren or a charity. Having life insurance gives a person, a couple or a family ultimate peace of mind.


Here are a few reasons to consider life insurance:

  1. Life insurance can take the stress away at the time of a death by assisting with dealing with funeral costs and suppliers like Astral Stone.
  2. Help a partner continue and maintain their life should something happen.
  3. To cover mortgage o higher education costs in terms of family and assets.
  4. Small businesses and employees may wish to protect income and assets in the event of death.
  5. If you are a carer of someone with special needs (i.e. a parent or child), life insurance will help continue that care if something happens to you.
  6. If you have a serious health issue, you can deal with it without having to dip into family savings or money intended for the future of your family.
  7. You can use life insurance to add additional income in retirement.
  8. If you have had a divorce getting life insurance will give you more peace of mind.

Fact: 59% of families in Australia would struggle to continue their current standard of living if the main bread winner passed away. (Source: AIA)

Here’s how to choose the right life insurance policy and what to look for

There are numerous forms of life insurance out there, as well as a large range of flexible options.


Term insurance

As the name suggests a term life insurance policy is for a specified time period. In this case, a person will buy cover if death occurs only.
There are three key factors to be considered in term insurance:

  1. Face amount (protection or death benefit),
  2. Premium to be paid (cost to the insured), and
  3. Length of coverage (term).

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance is just that – permanent. Such a policy can’t be cancelled, unless there is a fraud case against it after it was set up. Such a policy accumulates what is known as ‘cash value’ up until the policy is cashed in, if it is. These policies usually cost more for older people, as opposed to younger people.
There are four types of permanent cover; 
See below for their names and definitions according to Investopedia:

  1. Whole life cover
  2. Universal
  3. Limited pay
  4. Endowment

Whole life cover

As the most basic form of cash-value life insurance, whole life insurance is a way to accumulate wealth as regular premiums pay insurance costs and contribute to equity growth in a savings account where dividends or interest is allowed to build-up tax-deferred. (Source: Investopedia)

Universal life insurance

A type of flexible permanent life insurance offering the low-cost protection of term life insurance as well as a savings element (like whole life insurance) which is invested to provide a cash value buildup. (Source: Investopedia)•

Limited pay cover

Limited payment whole life plan entails that the insurance protection is provided until the death of the insured, however, the premiums can be paid up to a certain period of time. Description: In a limited payment whole life plan, the premiums are paid only until a chosen age. (Source: Insurance Line)

Endowment Cover

Endowment life insurance is a specialised insurance product that’s often dressed up as a college savings plan. These policies couple term life insurance with a savings program. As the policyholder, you choose how much you want to save each month and when you want the policy to mature. (Source: Investopedia)


Have you thought about life insurance or do you have cover? Why did you take it out and are you happy with your policy? Leave your thoughts in comments below.
 

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Guest Post: With 2015 just around the corner, it’s a great time to review your health insurance situation. Even if you’ve had a policy for years, you may be missing out on ways to cut back on your premiums without compromising your level of cover. Here are eight hot holiday tips for getting the most from your health insurance in 2015.

Why it’s good to re-evaluate your health insurance needs

1. Choose a health insurance policy that’s right for you

Ideally, your health insurance policy will cover the services that are most important to you – or as much of this as your budget will accommodate. Depending on your life stage, these needs will change. Young and healthy singles can often get away with having a basic hospital policy that excludes obstetrics and age-related services but this type of policy will be far too restrictive for families and seniors, for example.

2. Review your policy annually

Even if you’re not moving into a different life stage, it’s still wise to review your health insurance at least once a year to make sure that it is still the most appropriate option for your situation and your budget. Now is an ideal time to look at your existing policy and seeing if you can cut back anywhere without getting rid of services that you definitely need.

3. Assess the right policy for your age bracket

With a mid to top-level hospital policy, you might currently be paying for services that are irrelevant to your situation. This is particularly true for those who are young and healthy and are not expecting to need to use services that become more necessary as you get older, such as joint replacement surgery, cataract surgery and cardiac services.

4. Downgrade your policy

You can save money on your premiums by downgrading to a lower level of hospital cover that still gives you good peace of mind. Many health funds offer hospital-only or hospital and extras cover that is aimed specifically at young and healthy singles, for example.

6. Drop unnecessary policy items

If you are not planning to have a family any time soon or you have already finished having children, obstetrics is another area that you can drop without compromising on your cover.

7. Anticipate future needs such as planning a family

Waiting periods mean that you’ll have to anticipate when you may need certain services to avoid being caught out. Obstetrics is a prominent example, given that there is a 12-month waiting period. If you wait until pregnancy is confirmed, it will be too late to be covered. This means that you’ll need to already have obstetrics cover in place before it’s definitely needed. If you’re planning to start a family in the not-too-distant future, make sure that your policy includes obstetrics. For those on a basic hospital policy that excludes obstetrics, this will require you to upgrade to a broader policy.

8. Consider future dental needs

Major Dental is another area with a 12-month waiting period, which can be crucial if a check-up reveals that you require relatively significant dental work or you have children who are likely to need orthodontic treatment.
Think about the type of services that you’re likely to need cover for over the next year and get ready to upgrade your health insurance in line with this, if needs be.

Bonus Tip: Use your holiday time wisely

Use your free time during the holidays to take a good look at your policy and make sure that it is as cost effective as possible. Unless you’ve already got a basic policy that excludes services that are not relevant for your stage of life, there is often some scope for downgrading your cover for lower premiums. On the other hand, your changing situation may mean that you need to upgrade your policy in 2015 to avoid being caught out by waiting periods.


Bio

HealthInsuranceComparison.com.au is more than just a comparison site; we want to help more Australians to understand health insurance. Whether you’re just trying to get an idea of the market or you have a specific policy in mind, we’ll provide you with the tools and knowledge to make informed decisions about your health insurance options so that you can compare policies with confidence.
This post was written in collaboration with Health Insurance Comparison.
 

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Cars are wonderful machines in terms of their ability to put up with screaming kids, those messy chip packets and travel mugs, and us stressed-out mums singing the wrong words to great songs day-in day-out. My car is amazing at coping with what I throw at it daily and, like many other mums’ cars, my car, is a little trooper.
But my car won’t give out those luxuries cheaply and here’s why:
Anything as wonderful as a machine that can get me, (the mum) and her children from A to B every day, 365 days a year, for many years – costs money and bags of that happy green stuff. But even though cars cost a lot of money, there are many ways mums like me can get super sneaky. We can make small changes to make massive savings on running our cars, so it costs less for the luxury these little troopers afford us daily.
Here are 8 ways you can make this happen a.s.a.p!

Hot tips for saving big on car insurance this year

1. Become a better driver

Keep the cops off your tail and reap the benefits of cheaper premiums. If you think you are pretty good behind the wheel and you have an excellent incident-free driving record increasing your excess will reduce your premium.

2. Pay your insurance annually

Monthly insurance payments are often more.

3. Pick the right make and model

Yeah – driving an extra rare super fast sports car will cost you more than a Ford with a nifty bunch of safety features.

4. Don’t let your kids drive your car

Drivers under 25 will up your premium. Get them to catch the bus until their 25th birthday or save for their own car and the associated costs of having one.

5. Think about where you are living

If you live near a high accident zone (a highway prone to cars coming off it) or thieves and vandals you will pay more. If you do secure your alarmed car in a garage that has an alarm and you’ll pay less.

6. Get good at maintenance

Maintain and service your car regularly as your policy is unlikely to cover you for mechanical faults or tyre damage due to neglect. Yeah – you know that tyre? The one you keep pumping up that always seems to be a lower gauge than the rest? Drive down to the tyre shop and get it fixed. Do it today.

7. Make your car as safe as possible

Install an alarm and immobiliser. Anything you add like this will reduce your premium. Just calling around insurance agencies and answering their questions will give you a good idea of what you need to do to get your premiums down.

8. Become a bundle-it-up freak

It’s always cheaper to bundle. But make sure you shop around for those bundles too. Shop around and compare policies using online comparison sites.
Got some great tips on how to save on car insurance? Please leave them in the comments below.

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