Nila Sweeney

It's true, Australians are saving more. But how much more could you save with just a little bit of effort? Do you really need that second skinny chai latte today? Here's the Your Money Magazine list of big money wasters that are easy to avoid and could result in some extra funds in your wallet this week


1. Service station convenience stores

They entice you to shop by offering a discount of a few cents off the per litre price of their petrol but then how much extra do you spend? They may carry supermarket branding but they certainly don't offer supermarket prices. You'll pay more for everything, snacks, bread, milk, bottled water. And be sure to say no when the attendant reminds you that you can have three packets of crisps for the price of two. You did only want one, after all.


2. Picture theatre candy bars

Cut the price of your next cinema visit in half by having snacks before you go or sneaking your own popcorn in if you dare. Everything available in the candy bar is super sized, including the prices.An outing to the movies can cost a family of four well over $100 and the tickets are not the main expense.


3. Mobile phone and internet plans

How long is it since your reviewed your mobile phone plan to make sure it's the best for your pattern of usage? If you consistently go over your monthly cap, it might be time to go up to a higher level. If you consistently come in under your cap you may be able to drop down to a cheaper spend and save some money. The same rules apply to internet plans so switch and save.


4. Drinks with dinner

Wine and corkage costs aside, if you regularly dine out with children it could be fizzy drinks sending your budget to the cleaners. Let's assume a family of four eats out twice each week. Assuming each fizzy drink costs $2 (sounds cheap to me), you could save $16 a week by drinking water. That adds up to a saving of $900 each year.


5. Sneaky, mean fees

Banks have been busy getting rid of some fees but there are still plenty of ways you can unnecessarily pay for the pleasure of doing business with a bank. Overdrawn fees, missed payment fees, over-the-limit fees, fees for doing business over-the-counter, paper statement fees... The list is still expensive and some of the costs can be huge. A bit of careful planning to ensure you have adequate money in the bank when direct debits and payments are due can save a great deal of pain.


6. Parking fines

If you haven't had one for a couple of years, brace yourself. They're not $55 any more. Some local government areas have penalties in excess of $200 for parking illegally. Surely it's better to be a few minutes late for that appointment than to part with that sort of cash.

It can be confusing to know whether to get a variable rate or fixed rate mortgage, and what features are important. That's why it's important to not only check the right rates, but make sure that you're getting the right features in your home loan. Get help choosing the right home loan