Reporter: Damien Hansen
Belinda Molloy is about to get busted, waste busted.
With four young children and husband Daniel working up to 60 hours a week, Belinda's budget isn't adding up. So Today Tonight's financial renovator Justine Davies and waste buster Fiona Lippy are here to help. "We tend to have a very ad hoc budget now that it is sort of in our heads", Belinda said.
Justine's first tip is always the same. "I tell people to print out three months' worth of bank statements, then go through them line by line and put every single dollar that they are spending onto a spread sheet", Justine said.
For the Molloys, that means turning their mental budget into a physical one.
Next the shopping list. "If we have run short of time at the end of the day sometimes we do duck out to get take out so we can still keep that family meal together", Belinda said.
Belinda forks out around $400 each week on food. "I reckon we can get that down to about $200 which will save a good ten grand a year", Fiona said.
Then there's car insurance. With RACQ Belinda and Daniel were paying five hundred and thirteen dollars a year. One call to Coles Insurance and it's down to three hundred and forty -- a saving of $173. "If you do find a better deal online give them a call and see if they can match it", Justine said.
Household utilities are always up for negotiation. You should be getting some sort of discount and if you're not, ask why. "It is definitely worth having a look at, particularly with the carbon tax coming in next month. Any ways you can save money on electricity is potentially quite significant", Justine said.
Another tip is to avoid rogue bills by avoiding estimated utility bills and insist on readings. "This house is pretty good with electricity -- they've got blankets, they've got hot water bottles and they don't have air conditioning. But the swimming pool is a concern -- it doesn't have a cover which is really costing them water and power", Fiona said.
When it comes to health insurance for the Molloys it's an expensive necessity. "Two of the children see specialists which are easily over one hundred and fifty dollars an appointment. Then five of the family are on permanent medication so easily five hundred dollars a month, at least", Belinda said.
Our renovators say if you shop around you can save up to $600 a year by tailoring your health plan.
While you need to be careful with some group buying sites, there's a new player in the market -- tradesavers.com.au -- which offer discounts to renovators and builders.
And there's another discount website for parents of school children helping you save on uniform and school supplies -- schoolshopper.com.au -- but our waste busters says use them wisely. "Sometimes consumers think they can win with a coupon but it is like trying to beat a casino -- the casino always wins, the store always wins. You really have to make sure you're buying what's best for your family and if it happens to be on sale that is a bonus -- but don't buy it because it is on sale", Fiona said.
Tim Wingrove is from shop a docket and says you don't even need a docket anymore -- all discounts are on line. "Fifty per cent of respondents were saving up to one hundred dollars per month by using coupons and a further 20 per cent were saving up to two hundred dollars", Tim said.
Back at the Molloy household and they're getting ready for tax time. Justine's advice is visit the ATO website because it lists what you can claim by occupation. "Things like income protection insurance, any donations you've made to a charity, things like that. Your medical expenses tax offset, all those things, definitely claim them. There is no point in giving the Government money we don't have to", Justine said.
Last on Fiona's list are the kid's toys. They have plenty but how many do they actually use? "All these toys are really high quality Fisher Price and on e-Bay they'd go for a lot of money. It comes down to how many toys can one child play with", Fiona said.