Ask these questions about your expenses, says money expert

Not asking questions of your bank, utility providers and other businesses taking your money means you’re probably being taken advantage of. But what are the questions you should be asking?

It’s virtually impossible to watch the news these days and not see a reference to the rising cost of living.

Rampant inflation, coupled with years of lingering economic downturn due to the pandemic, have left many Australians looking to save money wherever they can.

But too many are paying too much for essential services. Asking some simple questions about the bills you pay could claw back hundreds, if not thousands, per year.

Nick May, general manager of customer experience at Beyond Bank, told the Weekend Australian that long-term customers of a business are often reliable customers, which puts them in a strong bargaining position.

“Banking has become more and more competitive with many new entrants,” he said.

“The same is true for utilities providers where competition for consumers is really intensifying, but the good news is this means the power of the savvy consumer is also increasing.

“Many organisations rely on customers shifting to reach their growth targets, but at the same time retaining good customers will always be a key focus.”

He says consumers must examine all expenditure and ask the following questions.

Do I really need this?

This one may seem obvious, but ask yourself if you really need to be paying the bill at all. Of course, you need to pay your mortgage and utility bills, but are you really using all of those subscription TV services you’re paying for each month?

Reviewing your overall expenses will often unearth things you’re paying for that you’re just not using anymore. Cut them off.

Can I get a better deal with my provider?

If you decide you can’t live without a particular service, at least make sure you’re getting the best price for it. It’s important to shop around for the best deal.

Daniel Rensberg-Phillips and his wife Leah looked for a better deal on their home loan when their five-year fixed rate mortgage expired.

“We recently spoke with our bank about a reduction in our standard variable rate home loan, and in doing so we were offered a significant discount from the standard rate,” he says.

“Ultimately, in terms of a home loan, you are a customer who adds value and profits to your bank, and they don’t want to lose you to another institution.”

Can I get a better deal elsewhere?

Sometimes a particular business just isn’t able to offer you as good a deal as a competitor. Don’t be afraid to jump ship if that is the case.

Many companies offer generous incentives to switch to their services, but be aware that these sweetheart deals often have a time limit.

Have you found a better deal by shopping around? Did your current provider try to match the deal? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Will the Reserve Bank review make a difference to interest rates?

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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