One of the most polarising memes I’ve seen all year was this one.
The condescension and privilege is pretty offensive to people managing their way through a global trauma. On the upside, it spawned a number of great parodies. I particularly like this witchy one:
But that’s not the point.
While many of us have more spare time, now that our work and/or social lives have been shut down, there’s still a lot of stress involved.
Whether it’s homeschooling kids, chasing up Centrelink, or going mad from solitude, these stressors use up emotional energy and, in many cases, hours of the day.
So if all you want to do is watch Tiger King, bake sourdough and watch people stack Jenga blocks on their dogs, then you should totally do that guilt-free.
If, however, you think you’d like to employ your time productively to save some money and get your finances in order, I present to you a list of options – many of which can be done online and therefore actually combined with a binge-watch of Kath and Kim.
Sort out your superannuation.
Regular readers will know that I go on about this all the time. Sorry not sorry.
Super is one of those things where small actions pay big rewards. The easy things you can do right now are:
- Make sure your super fund has your correct contact details – and set up online access. It’s easy for a fund to lose track of your address over the years and then you miss out on receiving statements and other important info. Plus, if you have online access you can easily check your account balance and insurance levels (more on that below).
- Check if you have lost super. You can visit the Government website here, and there are options to do it online or call up. There is also a paper option if you live in the olden days.
- Roll over multiple accounts into one. If you know you have multiple super accounts and have been putting this off, DO IT NOW. Contact your main fund and they will likely do it for you (because they want your money). Paying fees on multiple funds is like paying for memberships with multiple gyms – a waste of money. In fact, it’s estimated to cost an average of $50,000 by retirement.
- Review your Life & TPD Insurance. It usually comes as part of the super deal without you asking. That’s fine if you want it, but you should still check if it’s the right amount. There is no one-size-fits-all option with personal insurance. For example, I have a fancy income protection policy outside of super, because I’m on my own and need income even if I can’t work. But I ditched my life (i.e. death) insurance because I have no dependants and nobody I need to look after. If you’re not sure, a financial adviser can review all this stuff for you.
Drive a hard bargain with your service providers
Plenty of people are doing this out of necessity right now. But even if you haven’t lost income, it never hurts to ask for a better deal. Some things you can review are:
- Energy company
- Internet provider
- Health insurance (just be sure the coverage is comparable)
- Home and car insurance
- Mortgage (for an average owner-occupier, your interest rate should start with a 2)
How do you do this? Well you can just call up and ask, but leverage is better.
Look on comparison sites like Canstar and Finder and get quotes. Then you can ask your current provider to match or beat it.
You could always just move to a new provider, but I find that requires more paperwork (which I hate), so I avoid it if I can.
Also, be sure to read online reviews before changing providers, because there is a strong element of ‘better the devil you know’ in this situation.
Review and cancel subscriptions
It’s easy for the little costs to add up. A streaming service here, an App Store purchase there.
Yes, upon writing this I remembered to go in and cancel the $65 MyFitnessPal subscription I was surprised by 6 months ago. (Was there ever a worse time to count calories than now, anyway?)
I actually had to Google ‘how to cancel subscriptions in the Play Store’, but the internet delivered, and it took me about 5 seconds after that.
If you’ve got some time while watching Season 3 of Ozark (which you should be), go through your bank statements and make sure you are genuinely happy with all the recurring charges you see.
Remove temptation by unsubscribing
Just like not having chocolate in the house stops you from eating it*, not receiving suggestions about things to buy is a marvellous not to buy things.
So I unsubscribed from shopping emails in a fit of ‘new year good intentions’ – and wrote about it for you here.
Basically, I found a tool called unroll.me and linked it to my Gmail. In seconds it had scraped a list of all my subscriptions and I cancelled them. Now I never have to know about sales for shit I don’t need. Genius. You could literally do it while watching the recap of Ozark Season 2.
*Unless you have PMS and are forced to go to IGA to buy a 4-pack of Magnums because can you believe they don’t sell single ice-creams there?
Just see how you go
So ladies, if you don’t want to do any of these, you don’t have to. Maybe just diarise it and see if you feel like it a month from now? And if you still don’t want to? Then don’t.
Right now, the main thing is staying safe, staying sane and not shouting at kids/pets/parents/police if we can avoid it. Everything else is a bonus.