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How to save money on your biggest household bills in 2023

Whether it be your mortgage repayments or your car insurance, the rising cost of living has impacted almost all facets of our lives.

Composite image of a woman sitting next to a sold sign out the front of a property that was for sale and Australian currency to represent potential money savings.
Securing a mortgage to buy a house is an achievement but if you don't regularly review that loan, you could be missing out on big savings. (Source: Getty)

We've been hit with a barrage of savings tips during the cost-of-living crisis in 2022 – from switching to supermarket brands and ditching streaming services, to using online marketplaces, the list goes on.

While some have been helpful, there's a chance to save much more if you focus on your biggest household expenses, especially the ones you often buy and then totally forget about.

Car insurance

Research from Finder suggests you could be paying as much as $2,492 per year less for a comprehensive car insurance policy.


Some insurers are charging more than $3,000 for a comprehensive car insurance policy. It’s possible to get covered for a lot less. According to Finder’s award research, Bingle, Budget Direct and Virgin Money - on average - all offer policies for less than $900 per year.

Aside from comparing, there are other ways to save on car insurance. A Finder survey conducted in July 2022 found 51 per cent of Australians were working from home. If you’re among this group and drive less than a few thousand kilometres per year, pay-per-kilometre insurance could be a cheaper option.

Several providers also offer 10–15 per cent off your first year’s premiums. For a standard comprehensive policy costing around $900 (paid annually), this means more than $130 in savings.

Home insurance

The 2022 Queensland and New South Wales floods have cost insurers $5.65 billion in claims so far, according to the Insurance Council of Australia. Some home insurers such as Suncorp, which owns brands including AAMI, GIO and Apia, have increased premiums by an average of 15 per cent in 2022.

An aerial drone view of houses surrounded by floodwater, after which insurance premiums increased.
Home insurance premiums increased after the flooding in northern NSW and Queensland. (Source: Getty) (Dan Peled via Getty Images)

Despite this, 74 per cent of people have either never switched home insurance or switched more than two years ago, according to a nationally representative survey of 1,057 Australians. However, the potential savings are significant. By comparing and switching, research suggests you could save as much as $931 on a home insurance policy.

Lots of brands also offer discounts for the first year, which can knock up to 30 per cent off your bill. Don’t set and forget though – reassess every year. After 12 months, many providers will increase your premiums significantly, often enough to make up for the discount you received.

Health insurance

If you have a health insurance policy, look to see what services you've used over the past 12 months. You may find it’s worth downgrading your cover to only include the treatments you are likely to need.

Alternatively, if you're happy to use the public system, it may be worth getting rid of your hospital cover altogether since Medicare typically covers the same treatments. The main difference to keep in mind is that waiting times for private patients are often shorter and you can get your own private room and choice of doctor. There are also some tax benefits but these only apply if you earn more than $90,000 a year as a single or $180,000 as a couple.

To save on out-of-hospital treatments – which Medicare doesn’t typically cover – there are some extras policies that let you skip waiting periods for services such as general dental, physio and optical. This means you could take out a policy when you need it rather than pay for one throughout the year.

Home loan

If you’re a homeowner, this is most likely your biggest household bill so it can be daunting to tackle.

However, refinancing your home loan to a new loan with a lower interest rate could save you more than $5,028 a year, according to data from Finder and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). For example, the average Australian borrower refinances a loan amount for $487,355. The average variable-interest-rate loan on Finder is 5.47 per cent. As of November 8, 2022, the lowest variable rate is 4.04 per cent.

Assuming you’re on a 30-year loan term, if you switch to that lower rate your monthly repayments will drop from $2,757 to $2,337.That’s a saving of around $419 every month or more than $5,028 a year.

Just make sure you’re careful and take time to research your options because it is possible to lose money by refinancing.

Energy bill

Most energy plans offer discounts or benefit periods that last 12 months. After that, your provider will likely put you on its local standing offer that is usually more expensive than the market offer you originally signed up for.

This is why it’s good to compare energy plans at least once a year so you can switch to a newer - and hopefully better - energy plan once your benefit period has run its course. Make sure to compare all your options before signing up. According to Finder’s database, in some states, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive plans can be around $200–$300.

Good to know. Energy providers are obligated to supply a standing offer contract so you can get a basic service at a reasonable price. Standing offers are based on a benchmark figure set by the energy regulator. In contrast, market offers are usually more attractive because providers often price them cheaper than standing offers by giving bigger discounts.

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