The downside of spending more time at home is that household running costs are also going up.
One of the big ones is power, and it’s only set to get worse as the temperature drops.
See more in the video above
Financial comparison service Mozo has found that many Aussies simply weren’t prepared for the sudden rise in home costs.
Its latest survey revealed that:
- 75% of Australians are currently experiencing financial stress
- 50% of us have less than $7,000 in the bank
- 10% have less than $90 in their accounts
- 40% of Aussies aren’t putting any money into savings
“Three in four Australians feel a real level of financial stress when an unforseen financial circumstance comes up and the financial curve ball that is COVID-19 is really taken it’s toll,” Kirsty Lamont from Mozo told Sunrise.
“It really shows the thin edge that many households are walking when it comes to their financials.”
Getting back on track
So if you’re watching your savings fly out of your account, how do you get your budget on track – and fast?
1. Cull any unnecessary expensesSubscription services are a great place to start, including Netflix, Stan and Disney+.
Check your bank statements to make sure there are no hidden amounts coming out. And delete Uber Eats from your phone if it’s just too tempting.
2. Set up a direct debit for savings
To ensure you’re putting something away each week, set up a direct debit from your everyday account to a dedicated savings account – even if it’s just a few dollars.
3. Track your spending
It’s easy for us to tap’n’go coffees everyday and grab lunch from the local cafe. But all those little amounts add up to a big cost blowout over time.
“There’s a lot of great apps on the market right now that help you track unnecessary purchases and watch your savings grow,” Lamont said.
Consumer group Choice said the biggest power guzzler at home is often heating.
“Bills are still coming in and now we’re coming into winter and heating costs are going up so unfortunately there could be a lot of bill shock on the way for a lot of Australian households,” Chris Barnes from Choice said.
There are many simple things you can do around the home to reduce costs.
1. Warm clothes
When you feel that winter chill, start by pulling on a jumper and warm socks before turning your heater on.
2. Seal draughts
Draughts can easily get in through gaps around your doors and windows, so seal up as many as you can to keep your home cosy.
3. Make use of curtains and rugs
Up to 40 percent of heat can be lost through your windows, so make use of curtains and rugs
“It’s all about keeping the heat inside where you want it, where you have paid for it to be and not letting it get out of the house,” Barnes said.
4. Be aware of how heat moves around your home
While it can be tempting to move a chair in front of the heater so you can feel extra toasty, this will restrict the flow of hot air around your home.
To get the most out of your heat source, make sure nothing is blocking the flow.
Remember, nearly everyone is in the same boat right now, so if you are struggling, speak up.
Contact your energy provider or financial institution and ask for assistance or head to the Government’s MoneySmart website for free advice.