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Millennial Personal Finance: Save $500 in ~5 hrs

Let’s face it: we’d all like to make more money with less effort. That’s why books like Tim Ferriss’s The Four-Hour Work Week have become bestsellers. And there’s plenty of amazing opportunities to make money in today’s ever-changing world. As well more than a few get-rich-quick schemes out there to be wary of.

So, how do you make a quick buck or thousand? You could work harder, longer hours? Yuck. How about getting lucky and investing in the next Airbnb or Afterpay? We should all be so lucky. Quit your depressing job to potentially just rack up more student debt? Hmmm.

So, let’s say for whatever reason you can’t shake the Money Tree for more money-in at the moment. Logically, our next step should be to look at money-out. According to some folks, this is the point where you were spending most of your income on smashed avo. However, in practice, it’s rent and bills. Well, also maybe more on console games than you might like to admit to your bae.

In today’s market, slashing your rent is a bit like seeing a flying pig in a tutu. It’s not exactly the most realistic proposition. But hey, it’s not all bad news, because it’s ridiculously easy to slash your bills significantly. Here are the deets.

  1. Play hardball with your phone company. Here’s a Business & Economics fun fact. Did you know that it’s significantly more expensive to sign up a new customer compared to just keeping your existing customers happy? Keep this in mind, because knowledge is power, and this is powerful stuff.

Now that there are so many phone companies out there, it’s a buyer’s market. There’s a ton of competitors, and they all kinda do the same thing in the end. That means that they often end up in a “race to the bottom”. Many of us don’t feel any particular attachment to our phone companies. So when we see a better deal, we’re like Roadrunner meep zooming outta there.

So, compare quotes from other companies. Contact your phone company and tell them you’re thinking of making the switch. See if they’ll offer you a discount. Otherwise, you may wish to wave adios.

  1. Compare electricity providers. There’s something nicknamed a “lazy tax” imposed on Australians who don’t compare electricity plans and providers. Not all Aussies know about this lazy tax, but it can cost them up to $522 a year. And yes, that’s an Aussie Government official! (Source: AEMC.) What’s available varies from state to state, and even postcode to postcode; plans come with a variety of conditions so you can find the best one for how you use power. But be careful to find a plan with conditions that work for you. Bill shock can happen very easily if you don’t read the fine print. Sadly, 55% of Aussies find their bills hard to understand. But it’s usually quite doable with a little time/effort. EnergyMadeEasy has a very helpful guide to reading your bill. And websites like EnergyMadeEasy and Econnex let you compare electricity plans on offer from electricity providers in major markets. Their tool works with NSW, VIC, SA, QLD, ACT, and more. With electricity plan comparison at a glance, you can choose a plan that works well for your needs. Econnex will even process the switch for you!

  2. Negotiate a lower interest rate from your bank. 2020 was a crazy year that brought about a lot of changes. Many of these changes were awful, but there’s the occasional silver lining: in this case, low-interest rates. What are the other banks and financial institutions offering? Will your bank match it? If not, what do they offer that makes it worth staying? If nothing, then just like Japanese cleaning celebrity Marie Kondo puts it, it does not spark joy. The time has likely come to wave adios once more and move on.

Want to know more about doing personal finance better? Some popular experts on the topic include Ramit Sethi (I Will Teach You To Be Rich), Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad), and back on our shores, Scott Pape (The Barefoot Investor). There’s plenty more than working long hours to being financially secure and successful. You’ll find a lot of handy tips between those three financial geniuses!