Day 10 – energy challenge – set up direct debit

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bill.jpgDo you wait until your electricity or gas bill is due and then scramble to find money to pay for it?  Consider setting up a direct debit instead. You might even get a discount.

You would think that being a frugaleer who writes on how to save money, including running an energy challenge, that I would know most things. But I am always learning something new. It wasn’t until I moved house six months ago that I heard that my energy utility, ActewAGL, offers a direct debit system called Even Pay.

How it works is that your yearly utility bill/s is averaged out into fortnightly chunks.  You then receive a 5c discount each week, which works out to savings of $20 per year.  OK, $20 might not sound like a lot but that is almost half of my weekly grocery bills.  Plus little things have a habit of adding up.  The big saving, though, is in being able to better budget your bills so that you don’t get hit with any nasty surprises, especially in late winter or early spring.  Further, you really get to know per fortnight (and thus per day) what your utility costs are and this can help you be more mindful. (I’m betting that most people don’t have a clue about what their average daily electricity or other costs are.)

Of course, arguably, you could be better off paying your bills as they arrive.  You might not think about it, but what a blessing to provided with electricity, gas and water for up to three months before you have to pay for it!  You need to pay rent in advance (and pay for bond as well), but with utilities, you just use and pay later.  You are effectively getting three months interest free use of such utilities. If you have enough savings to be able to weather each bill, then you can also get a discount by setting up Full Pay options so that your bills are paid from your nominated bank account automatically.

I do not *yet* have a direct debit set up.  The reason is that I only moved house six months ago.  The cost of Even Pay is averaged out over a six-month period of time.  But after a comment from a lovely lady on the Frugal Dare to Millionaire group, I decided to set up Full Pay instead (which will allow me a saving of $20/year).

Your challenge for today is to ring your utility company and find out if there is a discount you could receive for paying your bills in a different way, such as via direct debit.  Make sure you are getting the best possible savings.  And then tell us about it on the Frugal Dare to Millionaire Facebook group!


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