Plenty of us are feeling the financial pinch at present.
Supermarket prices are rising, and if you have a variable rate home loan, the chances are your repayments have jumped up again in June.
Many Australians are rising to the challenge of higher inflation and interest rates with some serious belt tightening.
And we are all looking for ways to save money during the cost of living crisis. NAB research shows two out of five of us are cutting back on treats. One in three have scaled back travel plans, and one in five households have cancelled outsourced services like lawn mowing and home cleaning.
Cutting back can help balance the budget. But don’t overlook the potential to pocket big savings on everything from entertainment to travel simply by tapping into the perks and discounts on offer through health funds, power companies and even telcos.
It’s all about getting more for less, and it can be surprising how much is up for grabs.
Right now we could all do with some hacks to save a bit more money, so let’s take a look at what’s available and start pocketing savings you may not even know about.
Dial into Telstra rewards
Over 18 million mobile phones Australia-wide run off the Telstra network.
That means plenty of us are eligible for Telstra’s consumer rewards program – Telstra Plus.
It costs nothing to join, and you can become a member just by using your Telstra ID.
You’ll earn 10 points for every $1 of eligible spend, which includes paying your regular phone account or recharging a Telstra prepaid service.
Points can be redeemed for a variety of merchandise.
Or, you can use your Telstra Plus membership to buy discounted movie tickets through the My Telstra app and pay just $12.50 for adults or $11.50 for each child at selected cinemas.
Freebies from your health fund
Around 15 per cent of health fund members have ditched or cut back their cover through the pandemic, according to the Melbourne Institute.
But before taking the scalpel to health insurance, it could be worth checking if you could score savings in other areas through member perks.
Bupa offers Bupa Plus, with healthy discounts on a variety of activities and entertainment, including 25% off movie tickets at Hoyts and Event Cinemas.
Or save 30% on attractions such as Legoland Discovery Centre and Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium.
If you’re a HCF member, HCF Thank You lets you buy movie tickets at big discounts. Save 50% on tickets to Event Cinemas and 40% off Gold Class at Village.
If you have held health cover with Medibank for over 10 years, you may be classed as a Medibank Priority member, which lets you and a friend pay just $14 for movie screenings every Thursday at Palace Cinemas.
Spark up savings with your power provider
As electricity prices head north, it’s definitely worth seeing if your energy provider offers any customer benefits.
Simply Energy customers who sign up for a Simply Movie Perks electricity and gas plan can earn rewards linked to Village Cinema’s Vrewards program.
Receive 2000 Vrewards points each month and redeem points at any participating Village Cinema.
You will need 2500 points to claim a free standard ticket.
Red Energy has a Red Taronga Flex plan, which includes an annual Zoo Friends Family Flex membership for one adult and children. That gives you and the kids 365 days of fun at the Zoo, valued at $110 annually.
Use your home loan to save on internet costs
The Commonwealth Bank is offering new home loan customers a free NBN plan for three years with telco More. The 36-month plan could save homeowners over $2700.
Commbank’s existing home loan customers don’t miss out.
If you have a CBA home loan you could score 30% off a More NBN plan for the first 12 months.
You just need to sign up to More using a CBA credit debit card as your bill payment method.
Drive your savings further with a motor association membership
If you’re a member of a motoring association, you could be entitled to a lot more than roadside assistance.
In Victoria, members of RACV can drive away with 30% savings on movie tickets, or save 7% on eGift cards to major brands including Freedom Furniture, and save up to 50% at OPSM and other outlets, plus savings on attractions including theme parks and zoos.
In NSW, NRMA members can save around 15% or more on tours and attractions as well as pocketing up to 40% off the price of tickets at Event cinemas, and 20% discounts on takeaways and dine-in meals at selected restaurants and fast-food outlets such as KFC.
NRMA members can also cash in on fuel discounts of up to five cents per litre at participating Ampol service stations.
Queenslanders with RACQ membership can be eligible for discounted movie tickets as well as pocketing savings of four cents per litre on fuel at participating Puma Energy and new Caltex petrol stations Australia wide.
RAC also offers a four cents per litre discount at Puma and Better Choice to its members in WA, as well as participating Puma, Matilda, Choice and Mobil stations in other states.
Lastly, RACT offers a six cents per litre discount at participating United stations in Tasmania.
Effie Zahos is a money commentator at Canstar and Channel Nine’s Today.