Welcome back to Savvy Shopper – this week we’re looking at how you can save a bit of money on energy, petrol and credit cards.

Purchase protection on credit cards

Last week we looked at price guarantee insurance on credit cards, so this week we’re checking out purchase protection. This is another type of insurance you get on many higher end credit cards, but it’s not often discussed or used. Essentially it gives you a short term insurance policy on new items you buy using your credit card, and it’s included as part of the suite of insurances.

The terms and conditions will vary between providers but purchase protection has a few standard elements. Most retail items you buy for yourself are usually covered, though there are usually limits to the cover amount and certain categories – such as secondhand items, antiques, phones bought on a plan, cars, plants, animals and items bought outside Australia – are usually excluded. You’re usually covered for theft, loss or accidental damage, and most policies cover items for three months (though some will stretch out as long as six months). There will usually be individual claim limits as well as annual claim limits, and you’ll still be required to pay the excess.

What does that mean for you? It means that if you buy yourself a brand new iPhone 13 Pro and the next day someone steals it right out of your pocket, you don’t have to go and fork out another $1,849 for a new one, you just need to pay your excess (usually around $100).

We absolutely do not recommend getting a credit card for the insurance – insurance companies are notorious for wriggling out of paying claims – but if you already have a card and a new purchase gets stolen, it’s definitely worth checking to see if you’re covered.

Have a lightbulb moment

Have you considered switching your household lightbulbs to LED bulbs? They’re a great way to reduce your energy consumption, which will help you reduce your energy consumption in the long term. They also last longer than other lights, so you won’t have to replace them as often.

A general estimate on energy savings is that an average home with 28 downlights can save $866 per year. As a bonus, the NSW Government Energy Savings Scheme offers incentives to help eligible households replace old lights with new LED lights.

This means that when you upgrade your lighting through one of the approved suppliers, you’ll get a discount of up to 80 per cent on the products and installation  – potentially saving you hundreds more dollars. You’ll need to contact the approved suppliers to determine your eligibility and individual incentive amount, and it’s up to you to shop around for the best deal. Rather than claiming a rebate, you’ll receive an immediate upfront discount on the price of the LED light upgrade. So, while there is an upfront cost to you, it’s significantly less than the full price and will save you money (and reduce your environmental impact) in the long run.

If you’re not in NSW, look at the Victorian Energy Upgrades program, the South AUstralian Energy Efficiency Assistance, the Household Energy Efficiency scheme in Western Australia, Smart Energy Grants in the Northern Territory or the Affordable Energy Plan in Queensland.

Fill up where it’s cheap

Need to fill up? You may save yourself a few dollars by checking a price tracking app or site. The winners (according to Choice) are: Petrol Spy in the ACT; the government-run NSW FuelCheck site, Petrol Spy, My NRMA, Pumped Fuel, Fuel Map Australia and Vroom Fuel Price Compare in NSW; Petrol Spy and Fuel Map Australia in Queensland; and GasBuddy and Petrol Spy in Victoria. You could save yourself $30 on a tank of gas – which will make a big difference on your next road trip.

Stay savvy, shoppers!

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