Happy spring, Savvy Shoppers! Get slugged by energy bills during winter? We’ve got a couple of tips for getting discounts, as well as a credit card that might be useful.

Claim Health Care Card benefits

If you’re on any kind of benefit at the moment – including ABSTUDY and Austudy – you’re eligible for a Health Care Card. This entitles you to several benefits beyond the obvious bulk billing for doctor’s appointments, and other refunds for medical expenses.

One that not nearly enough people are taking advantage of is the energy rebate. If you’re with Powershop, for example, you’re entitled to $2.66 off your monthly bill, plus $0.78082 per day. Seems like little bits, but over a year it adds up to $316.92. In a time when electricity bills are creeping higher and higher, that’s a welcome relief.

Once you’ve applied for your concession card, it’s as easy as calling your energy provider and asking them to add it to your account. Make sure to update your provider each time your card renews.

Get more cash back on utilities

Want to save even more money on your utilities bill? Same. Well good news for ING customers, the bank is offering 1% cashback on eligible gas, electricity and water bills paid from your Orange Everyday account using BPAY or Direct Debit. You have to meet certain criteria, but if you’re already a customer, you’re probably already meeting them in order to take advantage of their 1.35% Savings Maximiser rate: deposit $1,000 or more from an external bank account into any personal ING account in your name (excluding Orange One, Personal Loans or Living Super), and make 5 or more settled (not pending) eligible ING card purchases. The offer begins on December 1, and you have to meet the criteria and set up the BPAY or Direct Debit the previous calendar month (ie. November). It’s capped at $100 a year, and ING will release a full list of eligible utility providers on their website soon, so stay tuned.

Get a washing machine with your credit card

Let’s start by saying: credit cards are not for everyone as they’re a really good way to get into unmanageable debt quickly. However, if you’re financially savvy and have good self control, they’re a great tool. The Kogan Money Black Card is one that we think offers some great benefits. Right now, Kogan Money is offering a bonus $50 Kogan.com credit when you make an eligible purchase in the first 30 days from card approval and a further $350 credit when you spend $1,500 in 90 days from card approval. A credit of $400 is enough to replace a broken washing machine (or a range of other household essentials). We shouldn’t have to say it, but don’t spend money just to get credit; if you would spend it anyway, it’s a nice bonus. Other things we like about this card are the $0 annual fee, the 12-month 0% balance transfer (see last week’s column for more about that), the complimentary Kogan membership and the rewards points (when you earn enough you could also get a dryer!) Be wary of the interest rate though, at 20.99% you really want to be paying this card off in full every month.

Stay savvy, shoppers.

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