Saving $400 on energy bills

No surprises that our power bills are soaring. But Rob Sims, chair of the ACCC consumers organisation, is furious. He says it’s about the retail sector gouging – and those full-page newspaper adds offering 25 per cent off are really available because the power companies have pushed prices through the roof. They’ve build in the special deals, so you end up worse off – but feeling you’ve got a bargain.

His recommendation: go to the energymadeeasy.com.au website. It could save you $400.

Meanwhile the ACCC is taking action against Click Energy, owned by Amaysim, for advertising that Vic and Qld customers could get discounts of between 7 and 29 per cent if they paid their bills on time. But the discounts were applied to Click Energy’s “market rates”, which were varied, and higher than Click Energy’s standing offer rates. Which meant in some cases there was no discount at all.

Something to remember the next time you’re contemplating a new energy provider because of a tempting offer you’ve seen online…

Buy US dollars – quick!

With the warning that our dollar might fall to $0.70 US cents this year, anyone who has overseas travel plans for 2018 might consider investing in US dollars. If the forecast proves true, you’ll save $40 for every $1000 purchased.

Last-minute travel deals

Can you feel the mid-winter blues creeping in? Maybe you need some of that milder, Gold Coast weather to cheer you up. Jetstar has a range of deals including return flights for two and two nights’ accommodation at the monumental Q1 Resort & Spa at Surfers Paradise – for $598, total.

By our calculations based on 18 – 20 July, if you were buying Jetstar flights and the same Q1 one-bedroom spa apartment separately, you would pay at least another $200.

If the Goldie isn’t exotic enough for you, the Price of Travel website recommends a list of cities that are warm, but not too hot, and offer some appealing deals this time of year. In the Caribbean and Jamaica, or Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, infamous all-inclusive resorts have a daily rate that includes food, drink and lots of activities. If you can hold off and book your travel for September or October, sites like booking.com show you could save $500 or more on a week’s all-inclusive accomm.

Tech on your radar

Techradar has just done its weekly pick of the best Australia tech deals. Buy an Echo Speaker and get an Echo Dot for free, saving you $79.

Or save $100 on Sony WH-1000XM2 wireless NC headphones.

Catch a deal on Catch and Deals Direct

A Dyson handstick vacuum, good for the carpet, your car and your furniture is $200 off at Catch.com.au, where Burt’s Bees’ hand salve is $22 cheaper than RRP.

Need to buy some baby gifts, or some outfits for your own progeny? DealsDirect has Bonds Kids clothing discounted by up to 80 per cent. Buying a four-pack of undies, a couple of girls’ crop tops and some new era trackie dacks will save you $43.

As seen on OzBargain…

The bargain seekers are at it again, reporting in OzBargain on grocery discounts.

Woolies specials include 50% off all kinds of goodies from Leggo’s Fresh Filled Pasta (save $3.80), Moccona Wholebean Barista Reserve Coffee 175g (save $9.00) and Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil 750mL (save $6.50).

Meanwhile, Coles is doing 50% discounts on Cadbury Favourites Gift Boxes (save $9.50), Gold’n Canola 4L (save $9.00) and you can also save $8.75 on a 5kg bag of Majarahah’s Choice Basmati Rice.

ALDI our most trusted brand!

Coles and Woolies are doing their best to win us over with discounts but this week Roy Morgan Research revealed that ALDI is Australia’s most trusted brand, beating NRMA, Bendigo Bank, Qantas and Bunnings.

“The success of ALDI’s entrance to the Australian market has been built not only on discount prices but also a reputation for reliability and meeting the needs of consumers,” says Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine.

And they were first on the plastic shopping bags front: they never gave them out.

Pay more, get less

Customers of Bupa Australia and HBF have been warned that they’ll soon be getting less cover for their money. Does that make you feel like switching providers?

CHOICE has a tool that helps you find the best-value policies that match your needs, but you have to be a member to use it. Membership costs $83.95 a year – it could be worth it in the long run if you save hundreds of dollars over time on your healthcare. Getting their members-only advice could also save you money by helping you buy better value appliances, insurance, solar and energy and tech.

And maybe you don’t even need health insurance? If you weren’t paying the $750 to $875 a year for hospital cover and extras cover of $575 a year that we’re paying on average as a single, you’d save at least $1375 a year ($6,625 over 5 years) minus the excess you pay out to doctors, dentists and the rest.

At the very least, check if you should consider dropping extras cover.