Writing a financial round up means we quite often dwell on the down side:  for every rise, there has to be a fall; for every winner, there is a looser.

But as we look into our crystal ball for 2018, the good news is there is plenty to celebrate.

Our economy is growing.  House prices are coming off the boil, opening up the possibility of home ownership to more young families.

If there is one blot on this promising picture, it is low wage growth.  Australians work harder than almost all first world countries.  Yet our pay doesn’t keep pace.

Let’s hope, with a stock market on a high (with the usual dire warnings of a bubble about to burst), employers learn the real value of their workers.

Avacado myth smashed

Remember those avocado smashing millennials of last year.  Well, guess what: a survey by Homeloans.com.au reveals young Australians are the most committed to saving money in 2018.

The site surveyed 800, and over half aged 18-24 said they planned to save more in 2018, compared to just 16 per cent of those aged 45-64.

Almost 70 per cent aged18-34 saved money regularly throughout the year, compared to 24 per cent of 35-44 year-olds and 19 per cent of those aged 45 to 65.

Says Will Keall, National marketing manager of Homeloans.com.au: “From last year’s survey to this year, wherever there’s a change, it’s to do with people saving more and spending less.”

McCrindle social researcher Eliane Miles was quoted as saying millennials were more financially aware than in the past and feeling the pressure.

Not hanging on the line

In 2016-17 , there were 28,200 complaints about telemarketing made to the Australian Communications and Media Authority –  up more than 5000 on the previous financial year.

But more astonishing was the rise in those demanding to be put on a Do Not Call register: a 375,000 increase, or 3.5 per cent.

Yes, 11.02 million have said they don’t want unsolicited calls.

Telecommunications giant Telstra said yesterday it would allow customers to keep their numbers , names and addresses out of online directories for free. Before, they actually chaged a monthly fee of $2.93 to request a silent line – on top of the rental.

No doubt they now realise they have consigned their own copper wire home lines to history.

‘‘Protecting our customers’ privacy is paramount to Telstra, and providing tools to protect telephone numbers and addresses is part of what we do to help,’’ said a company spokesperson.

Can you think of any industry loathed by as many as eleven million people that was allowed to continue to operate? Nor can we.

Bargain broadband

Great news – telcos are cutting the price of broadband by an average an average of $120 a year, following last month’s national broadband network wholesale price cuts.

Amid spiralling complaints about broadband speeds, NBN Co slashed the wholesale cost of its 50 Mbps plans in December.

Of course, this is no act of contrition.  The telcos want the 80 per cent of those connected to the NBN on 25 Mbps or slower to move onto higher-speed tiers.

But , according to the Sydney Morning Herald, there are savings of $10 a month, or $120 a year up for grabs.

Best days to book a holiday and save

They say the best time to book a holiday is when you have just come back from one.  So given many have returned from their summer break, we’ve found ways to book and save, thanks to Which, the UK equivalent of Choice.

Their five tips on how you can save when it comes to handing money over to airlines suggests you can save up to  88 per cent on the cost of a trip to Italy.

Choosing the exact moment to book flights is crucial if you want to save money.

Their expert tips:

  1. Sign up to price alerts because websites will email passengers and notify them when the flight price drops.

Many websites scour the internet looking for cheap deals. Sign up so you are kept informed of deals and offers.

  1. Be flexible Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive days to travel.

Which? reports a return flight from London to Florence on British Airways departing on a Friday, returning on a Sunday could be reduced from £265 to just £33.

The first step was to move the trip forward one day and travel on a Saturday, return on a Monday via Vuelling Airlines, which reduced the flight to £144.

To further reduce costs, it then switched the flights to Ryanair, arriving in Pisa and departing Bologna, as both cities are just a bus ride away from Florence. This brought the price down to £90.

Which? then made another £50 saving by choosing to travel on Ryanair with hand luggage only.

  1. Travellers can still save if dates can’t be moved, by being flexible with their destination.
  2.  Use budget sites like Momondo and Kayak, where you can enter your dates and budget and their app will come up with a destination for you.
  3.  Look for alternatives

Booking flights usually means flying from and returning to the same airport using the same airline.Which? suggests there is sometimes money to be saved by using multiple airports and airlines.

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