In the past week I have saved myself $5 a month plus over $7 in fees that I shouldn't have paid. This was simply from glancing at two statements - my mobile phone bill and my Myki account - and feeling something wasn't quite right. Whilst this does not add up to a great deal of money in the grand scheme, it has made me wonder how many other organisations charge accidental or incorrect fees somewhere on some obscure line on any of the many statements we receive.
So, I've decided to read every statement that comes in the mail. I'm predicting I can save a significant amount. I have two areas of focus. Banks and Utilities.
Banks are notorious for not setting up accounts correctly. I have heard of people with mortgages who thought they had an offset account that they could use to reduce the overall interest of their loan by using it to keep their spending money until they need it. In reality, many branch staff (example I've seen are mainly NAB and Westpac), struggle to set these up correctly, so the money you think is offsetting your mortgage interest is actually doing nothing.
Most utilities will not let you leave for another provider without offering a sweeter deal. Look at your Gas and Electricity bill, then ring two competitors to compare what they can do. If you give your current provider the right of reply to these quotes, you probably won't have to go through the bother of swapping to a new provider anyway. It's worth a shot. I just heard someone in the office do it with Lumo.