Money Matters

Water Wally or just a crappy estimate?

Water bill blowout This month’s bill arrived in the mail the other day and I freaked out for a couple of seconds when I saw the average usage per day. Our household usually go through about 400L but this time round, the bill had jumped up to 857L! Continue reading

Money Matters

Lump sum payments versus regular payments

Not so recently, I briefly mentioned direct debit, a blessing for those who forget to pay their bills. Regular payments are another option for bill payers. While many businesses request a lump sum payment, some offer the choice of smaller and more regular payments. For instance, Yarra Valley Water can charge consumers fortnightly or monthly via their Smoothpay system.

Lump sum or regular payments, which is better? Each system has its pros and cons Continue reading

Money Matters

Bills, bills, bills

I stuffed up: I forgot to pay my credit-card bill. The amount wasn’t much–$190.54–but because I didn’t pay it before the due date, the bank charged a $5 late-payment fee and $12.24 in interest*. I also had to pay all that was owing on the card, since interest-free days only apply on purchases if the closing balance is paid in full on the due date of each month. 😦

While it’s good to put off bill payments for as long as possible, it’s baaaaaaaaaaad when you fail to cough up when the money’s due. Nasty things happens: extra fees, accusatory letters from the creditor, utilities being turned off…Continual late payments also affects your credit rating, making it harder for you to leverage a good deal whenever you want to borrow money.

So what’s the best way to tackle bills? Continue reading

Money Matters

It pays to check the cheque

I had a ventilation system installed recently. It wasn’t cheap but it was preferable to the mould that had taken up residence in the laundry. However, once the electrician had come and gone, Cheap Geek noticed that the installed model was different to the one that had been quoted. In fact, after a bit of Googling, we realised that we had been given the cheaper, noisier and less energy efficient version. Not happy. Several angry emails later, we got the right system installed for no extra cost.

The above might seem like a rare screw up, but businesses get things wrong (and often to the customer’s disadvantage) more often than not. Continue reading