Do Lisa’s leases make sense?

Lisa is “A new era in leasing”, according to Domayne. She’s the fictional mascot for their lease product, and she encourages you to “Be a Lisa” by leasing their gadgets and/or appliances worth up to $20,000.

The main advantage of leasing, Lisa says, is “always having the latest and greatest without the huge outlays that buying requires” including laptops and tablets your kids need for school. Here she shares Domayne Leasing’s terms and conditions with you.

When we calculate lease repayments on a $1200 item, there’s an extra $237 to pay over 12 months, ON TOP OF the $1200, plus there’s a 0.5% fee on credit card payments. And you probably don’t own it at the end

Ask Lisa lots of questions if you’re thinking about leasing, especially about exclusions, and unexpected terms and fees; and bear in mind all this great advice from MoneySmart.

Save when you walk down that Country Road

Country Road’s Spend & Earn sale is on, for eligible cardholders. Spend $150 or more in one transaction and receive $50 off; spend $300 or more to receive $100 off; and get $200 off for a $600 spend! Ends on Sunday 29 April – loyal customers are getting chatty about it on Facebook, if you want to listen in.

Country Road’s (and Trenery’s) rewards program could save you money if you buy a lot of their clothes for work or weekends. Your purchases earn you ‘Spend & Earn’ rewards; plus the more you spend, the higher up the membership hierarchy you climb, with VIP Platinum the upper echelon for people who spend $5,000+ a year.

Country Road voucher codes are online too – The Organised Housewife has a few for $200 off, or 50 percent off when you shop at their outlet store online.

Energetic discounts

We’ve also seen AGL advertising 25 percent off electricity usage charges, 15 percent off gas usage charges and a $100 credit when you switch. The energy companies offer these kinds of deals regularly; a bit of digging reveals similar, but different, deals from many providers including EnergyAustralia, Dodo and Origin.

An SMH article published this week points out that a basic ‘0 discount’ plan is often cheaper than the 25 percent-off deal – $338 a year cheaper they calculate, for a five-person household in Victoria.

The easiest way to compare these different energy offers is to use the government’s Energy Made Easy tool, which also gives you a reality check on those discounts.

Telstra goes cheap!

Looking through the deals posted at Top Bargains, we spied a Telstra offer worth noting: 25GB data + unlimited calls & SMS + a $200 JB Hi-Fi Gift Card for $49/month (includes a credit of $10/month), over a 12-month plan.

It’s limited to new Telstra customers who port their phone number over, and you need to supply your own handset. Still, when you factor in the JB Hi-Fi gift card, you’re actually saving another $16 monthly, which brings the price down to $33 per month – comparable to a lot of cheap plans, but potentially better mobile coverage for some people. Just remember to use the gift card, for starters, and use it on something that will save you money, not on an impulse gadget.

Another reason to use credit cards with caution

If you miss credit card payments, you might find it harder to borrow in the future, according to this SMH story. This year, Australian banks have to join the comprehensive credit reporting scheme, which will require them to provide data on your credit repayment history – including any red flags that result from your failure to pay monthly credit card minimums.

That in turn might affect your credit score. It could even stop you from getting a mortgage down the track, or a personal loan.

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