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Author: Gary Luck

Easing the cost of living

If you’re battling with rising living costs, Gary Luck, our Shellharbour Branch Manager, has some tips on how you may be able to get some relief.

Whether you are a family, single person, pensioner or self funded retiree, we are all being hit with cost of living increases – increases in electricity, gas and water bills, increases in Council rates and it is costing more at the supermarket checkout.

There are two areas where there can be some relief from cost of living increases or at least a way to put some certainty into the household budget.

At the Greater Building Society we are helping reduce the cost of living by offering lower interest rates on home loans and higher interest rates on savings accounts. Here are three things to think about to help ease those cost of living pressures.

1. Consider fixing your home loan

It is still not clear where rates are heading. Some economists are saying rates may go up and some are saying they will go down. Monetary policy is a matter for the Reserve Bank and will be influenced by what happens in the US and Europe as well as issues such as tax and inflation on the home-front.

If you need certainty, if you want to know that your mortgage will cost you a certain amount each week for a certain timeframe, then fixing your home loan may be an option for you to consider. You may be on a fixed income or just want some peace of mind that Reserve Bank increases in rates won’t affect your repayments.

There are some very good deals around. At the time of posting this blog, the Greater’s 1 and 2 year fixed rates are both the lowest in Australia. The Great Rate Loan is 6.59% for one year (comparison rate 6.90%*) and 6.79% (comparison rate 6.91%*) for two years. Those rates are lower again if you take up our Ultimate Home Loan Package. The 2 year rate is almost a full 1% lower than the average standard variable of the four major banks (7.785%)

Remember that you may fix all or part of your loan. Fees and charges can apply to new loans or changing loans, so it is best to shop around or come and talk to a lender to see what’s best for you.

Fixing is not for everyone. If you do fix, make sure you know the “revert rate”. Many lenders put you into a rate higher than their cheapest variable rate once the fixed term expires.

 2. If you no longer have a mortgage, make your money work harder for you

Instead of just having an ordinary savings account, opening up a Bonus Saver account (or a Term Deposit) can make your money work harder for you. Bonus Saver gives you extra interest if you make at least one deposit and no withdrawals in a month. There are some great investment account rates around at the moment. Bonus Saver is currently paying 6.00% per annum.

 3. Check the comparison rate.

 Whenever you are looking for the best deal on home loans or savings accounts, remember to use the comparison rate to check the true cost or true rate. The comparison rate takes into account fees and charges.

 More information

The Federal Government (ASIC - Australian Securities and Investment Commission) has an excellent calculator to help you to calculate what your repayments will actually be as well as other advice. Visit www.moneysmart.gov.au.

You are always welcome to call the Greater or visit a branch Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings or visit our website.

* Home loan comparison rates are based on $150,000 for a term of 25 years. For fixed rate loans, following the expiration of the fixed rate period the annual percentage rate will revert to the Greater’s then current Home Loan variable rate relevant to that product. Rate applicable will be current rate at the time of draw down.

# WARNING: The comparison rate applies only to the example or examples given. Different amounts and terms will result in different comparison rates. Costs such as redraw fees or early repayment fees and cost savings such as fee waivers, are not included in the comparison rate but may influence the cost of the loan.

There are many other things we can do to help ease cost of living pressures. Are you worried about cost of living increases? Share your thoughts and tips below.

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