Easy budgeting


The Christmas feasting is over and we've all but lost the cricket test match so it's a good time to get back to real life and start organising. In the past week Hanno has put in some time going through our ongoing insurance bills. A bit of research on the internet and a couple of phone calls and he's cut $164 from the home and contents and $124 from the car insurance. It can be a boring task but if someone asked you if you would like to earn $288 in 30 minutes, you'd jump at the chance.



The week before Christmas, Hanno transferred our electricity account to Alinta and now we get a 28% discount on every bill that is paid on time and 54 cents per kilowatt-hour, an increase of 10 cents, on our  solar feed-in tariff. A few months ago I renegotiated our internet and phones and now we pay $50 less per month but get more data and services.  That took me about 15 minutes work on the phone.  This is easy budgeting.

By taking an hour or so to go through your accounts and contacting your service providers and their competition, you can negotiate decreased payments or, at the very least, the same payment but much better service. If you don't do this you'll pay increasing bills every year so it's worth the time it takes and now is the perfect time to do it.

47 comments

  1. This is so true Rhonda.
    Last month I called my internet provider to see if there were any discounts and they reduced the bill by $15/month.

    I'm planning to do the same with auto insurance this month. :)

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  2. Great reminder Rhonda thanks. We have started our 2019 budget but haven't looked into that yet.I know we can't change our mobile plan until the end of the year and then we will put one mobile on pre pay which will be a good saving.
    Ingrid

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  3. How fantastic to see your blog active again! Yeah! Good luck with your health adventure, you are in my prayers. Very happy to hear that it is not malignant. As my grandmother used to tell me...if you live long enough, you get everything. Happy 2019 and thank you for lighting up the blog again.

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  4. Hello, I dropped by on a whim to peruse your older posts and what a nice surprise to see you posting again. I do hope your tumor remains the same size.
    We do this too. Many times we don't get an additional discount but sometimes it really pays off. I was able to get our internet and phone service to reduce our payment by 40% for the same service.

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  5. Glad you are back....I pray your health is fine and things go better than expected with all of that! Beautiful, fresh new start to your blog. We did the same thing, making phone calls to save money, when my husband retired a couple years ago. I'm sure there are still ways we can find to save. Andrea

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  6. :D I knit a whole cabled cardie for a 3yr old in just 5 days watching the cricket and tennis, lol
    It truly is the best thing ever to have your writing to look forward to again,
    Much love xxx

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    1. Your cricket/tennis knitting does not surprise me one bit, Susie. I’m glad to be back and I’m just taking it as it comes. xx

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  7. I couldn’t agree more Rhonda, I must make the time to do this soon!

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  8. I have just logged back into your account and have read you have not been well and I am so sorry to read it. I hope 2019 will be a good year for you Hanno and family lots of love to your family from our family.

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  9. Maybe I should make some calls because my Internet keeps going up every year. That's wonderful how much of a reduction you achieved. Congratulations. How is your knee?

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  10. Hello, hello...I just noticed your new posts, Rhonda. Is this the lady who had retired her blog pretty well? LOL! Good to see you back. Regarding the electricity accounts, we don't have any options here unfortunately.

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    1. Yep, it’s really me Chel. I’ve discovered that Instagram does not give me what I thought it would. This is better but I won’t be as prolific as I used to be. 🙃

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  11. Dear Rhonda,
    What a lovely surprise to see you are back posting on your blog. I'm sorry to hear of your health concerns though and I wish you all the best with conquering them. I will look forward to reading your posts whenever you are able or feel like posting. I have missed you! Happy New Year to you and Hanno. Kelly xo

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  12. This is the prompt I need. I negotiated our electricity plan down in the autumn and meant to do the same for our phone/ broadband bundle but life got in the way. Now's the time! Thanks for the reminder Rhonda.

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  13. Really nice to see you back Rhonda. I’ve missed reading your blog. Wishing you well.

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  14. A great tap on the shoulder as I have forgotten to do that with our insurances and suppliers this year - a job for the weekend me thinks.

    Another little trick I do to help with Xmas is pay bills fortnightly straight into the accounts via Bpay but to pay extra so come next December all the utility accounts are a month in credit which frees up $$ for the holiday season, which for many can be expensive.

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  15. Dear Rhonda,
    It was such a joyous surprise to see new posts on your blog, I burst into tears with happiness.
    You taught me how to pickle beetroot, grow tomatoes and make soap. You filled in the gaps of knowledge that appeared after my step-mother
    passed away, and you provided an honest and down to earth Australian voice to the frugal home keeping/homesteading scene that I had dearly craved.
    I have never been one to comment in public internet spheres, but I was so saddened when I read your goodbye post in September and the comments where already closed. I really wanted a chance to say thank you. So hear it is, a long gushy thank you for teaching me so much, for sharing your world with us all. For being the reason I make my own bread, make my own laundry powder, grow a vegetable garden, make salmon patties, know what Rosella fruits are, make elder flower cordial and manage to keep this little house running and well fed on a disability pension. You taught me to take pride in what I can make and do over what I can buy. This Christmas was the third in a row that everybody received hampers of home preserves as gifts. At $0.30 a jar, bottled pears, strawberries and marmalade are gifts that everyone loves to receive and I can happily give to in abundance with out blowing my December budget. Your blog has changed my world for the better. Thank you to both you and Hanno for sharing your lives with us. I am sorry to hear about your meningioma.I hope your health stabilizes and your garden flourishes.
    Emerald.

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    1. Hello Emerald, it's good 'seeing' you again too. Your hampers sound fabulous. Thank you for your heartfelt comment.

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  16. Hello Rhonda,

    It really does pay to do this every so often. We saved a lot of money by changing insurance companies last year. For years I had been telling Phil that we should see if there was a cheaper company than the one we were using. He was very surprised when he finally made the phone call. That same day he also rang our electricity company and they offered us a reduction if we paid before the due date.

    It is so lovely to see you posting here again.

    xTania

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  17. Great news with the savings, well done

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  18. Thanks for the reminder to do this, it is an easy way to save money. I am so glad you are back blogging. You have such good common sense ideas and a lovely way of writing.

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  19. I always poo pooed this but last year took the challenge and I was shocked at how much I was able to lower our bills. I can be so wasteful.

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  20. Hello Rhonda! With my phone/internet/tv bundle we could go lower if i dropped the phone (we also have cell phones) but my husband doesn't want to do that. I did shop around for lower home heating oil and was successful in dropping the price by about $0.50/gallon. I also turn it down when my husband is not home..he likes it warm! I have drastically reduced our consumption of gasoline by being really mindful of planning outings so I am not running here and there and wasting gas and putting wear and tear needlessly on the car. Every little bit helps!

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  21. Thanks for the reminder! We've moved across the US this year, from one coast to another, and into a house that actually fits our family! (From 960 square feet to more than 1800) Now to set up the new house in a way that works for us in this new place! Good to "see" you here again. :)

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  22. Hi Rhonda, so good to see you back again. I was very sorry to read of your health problems, and I do hope that things go as well as they possibly can. BTW, I've tried lots of times to comment here, but mostly my comments just disappear into the ether. No idea why.... Anyway, hoping this gets through to you, and with all my good wishes for you and Hanna.

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  23. A good reminder Rhonda, especially being a new year. Phone plans are one of those things that often become better value all the time. I have not looked at mine for a while, must be a year now.

    Moving off grid some of these things wont apply in 2019, but insurance and phone/internet certainly do. We have just been researching tax returns and it looks like we are eligible for a 40c return on every L of fuel we purchase for our generator which is huge.

    xx

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  24. I switched to Alinta 12 months ago and my electricity bill has been the cheapest in 7 years. Not only do they give you a 28% discount for paying on time the discount is in your monthly bill and not a give back in 12 months time like another supplier I was with a few years back. Also when I compare electricity I compare ex gst per kw for peak and ex gst per kw for off peak + the daily supply rate and lastly the discount. On all accounts they were all lower. Then after a year I got an unexpected cheque in the mail for $50 from Alinta because I had been with them for a year...I can highly recommend the switch in Qld.

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  25. Hi Rhonda, I'm so glad that you have decided to reactivate your blog ! As many here, I have read it for sooooo long, but very rarely commented, as I always feel that I don't have anything interesting to add. But from now on I will make an effort and just chat along. You have helped me so much with so many homemaking thing that it's unfair just to take it and not give back.
    I have learned from you that it's ok to slowly learn and do what feels right for me. For example, I've learnt that I will never be a fantastic gardener, so I plant herbs and occasionally some tomatoes and other bits and pieces. But I take pride in my numerous herbs and use them daily in my cooking. I save quite a lot as herbs are so expensive to buy.
    Now you are saying that you will blog whenever you fell like it, and this is another wise move that does not surprise me. Doing what feels right for oneself just makes life so much easier and less stressful. I certainly will be glad to read you anytime !
    Ahh the dreaded phone calls to service providers... Being a creature of habit, I absolutely hate changing provider, but the fees going up an up and the feeling of being ripped off are so annoying that I might just do it this year. The savings are not enormous one by one, but added all together it might make the different between going away for a little holidays with the kids or not. That might be a nice little resolution for 2019 !
    All the best for your health !
    Corinne from the Blue Mountains

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  26. Happy New Year! So glad to see your post. As our small increase in Social Security went up, so did our electricity. We cannot "negotiate" our electric bills here in the U.S., so we went up $29 a month, starting this month. We have cut every other way we can. It is an ongoing battle when you are trying to be debt-free. Thanks for the advice.

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  27. Yeah it's like old times!!! Hello everyone 😀

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  28. So true Rhonda,
    we too made some hard decisions regarding our insurances, especially the farm insurance that came in at about $3,000.
    We had to decide what was the most important things to be insured and what we could reduce to cut the price. We had already rang around the competitors but couldn't source a better quote.
    we ended up saving about $300 without losing too much.
    It annoys me that as returning customers that they don't give you their best offer straight up.
    Always worth the effort to let your fingers do the walking and talking.
    Cheers.
    Jane.

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  29. Hi Rhonda, unfortunately we only have one electricity provider here, and our natural gas is through the same company as well. Other than that though we are able to shop around with phone/internet, insurance etc. My car insurance provider give me a no claim rebate every so often which is welcome. A good idea to make it a New Year job to see if there are other providers with better offers or whether the current provider has a better deal, too often these things pass unnoticed because people don't ask. Take care x Kate from Tassie

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  30. Definitely must get on to these insurances. We too put extra on our utilities as we really need the help with heating in winter months. Hope you are keeping well.

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  31. Hi Rhonda,
    thank you for encouraging us to contact our service providers and insurance companies. It certainly will be time well spent once we receive discounts or better value for our money.

    Many of your recipes have become family favourites. So many of your baking recipes are used regularly here. I think of you whenever I make the 5 Minute Bread, your Flatbread or the delicious Plum Cake. Our plums will be ripe soon and that cake is the first thing I will make with them. We also love the savoury recipes. Tasty wholesome food made from scratch. No takeaway menus or food delivery apps are used in our home.

    I'm looking forward to finding new posts on your blog when you have time and feel up to it.
    You have made a difference to so many of your readers Rhonda. Your hints and advice are like what a mother, grandmother or special neighbour would offer us. This guidance is so appreciated by those of us who don't have any of these people in our lives. Thank you for sharing so much with us. You and your blog have played a very important role in the lives of so many readers.

    I would love to hear how little Gracie and your gorgeous feathered ladies are going.

    Take care Rhonda. Warmest regards, Maria from Adelaide xx.

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  32. Hello Maria, thank you for your lovely comment.

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  33. Hi Rhonda, it is certainly a blessing to know that your blog is up and running again. I enjoy reading your postings and reader's comments. Please take care of yourself, Hanno and Gracie. Joan (USA)

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  34. Such a great result for a small slice of the day - I love the impact of someone offering you that much money for half an hour's work, really brings it home.

    Loving your new pic too Rhonda <3

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  35. That is great Rhonda, we recently did it with our private health insurance. We are saving $100 a month but are covered for more! So worth doing. And.... I’m so happy you are back blogging. Your posts always keep me on track!

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  36. Great advice! I am so glad you're back.!

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  37. A resounding YES! You can even take advantage of some promos offered by cable companies, etc. And if that is not possible at the moment, they usually will tell you when to call back in a month or so to get a deal. It does seem like a hassle at first but as they always say, you won't know if you don't ask.
    The flowers are gorgeous! Best to you and yours.

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  38. I recently switched my home insurance. I saved $200 a year! when i rung to cancel the old one even they admitted they couldn't beat that price haha. Really worth shopping around. I moved from Budget direct to ING.

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  39. You are back! It is a bit of a pain, but worth while to make those phone calls. So glad to see you back online again with your wonderful wisdom. take care.

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  40. It's wonderful to see the beautiful flowers, as we are in the dead of winter here in the New Mexico desert. Thank you for sharing :)

    Also, a great reminder to search for better deals. We've been calling around, looking into our accounts as well, and have been able to reduce some of our billings!

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  41. Welcome back dear friend, oh how I have missed you but you have never been far from me, every time I made my gravy or flat bread or ginger beer or something else from a Rhonda recipie, sending positive vibes your way, cheers Kat from Gippsland Victoria

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  42. Budgeting, I purchased a beautiful little dress from the op shop for $3.00, its just a bit short for this 56 years young girl, so I'm of to sew 2 inch lace around the hem just to get the right length, I'll now have a very pretty floral and lace dress for a good price.Kat Gippsland

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  43. Hello Rhonda,

    brilliant to see you back. I've thought about you often and gratefully as I go about my simply filled days.

    I've just renegotiated my electricity and now save 18%. I have put off the insurance as it takes longer, but am encouraged to go for it after reading your post.

    Madeleine

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  44. I am just one of many who have to thank you for teaching me so many things like soap making. It was via your blog some years ago that I discovered it was possible to negotiate the price of energy. We have saved ourselves a small fortune by regularly changing suppliers. Thank you so much. I am delighted you are back blogging. I first started reading your blog in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep due to ill health also caused by a tumour. That was 11 years ago. I know it can be a very difficult time and I am sorry you are ill. Fingers crossed for you Margaret

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