Take the Time to Get a Better Deal and Improve Your Bottom Line in 2016

By Chris Tinta, MSI Taylor Business Services

A new financial year is fast approaching which means your 2015 profit and loss will soon become a historical scorecard of your business performance.

During this time, a lot of focus is often placed on increasing income and sales figures and not enough on reducing expenses or becoming more efficient with your current level of spending. Even if you are not running your own business, it’s still worthwhile evaluating your personal outlay to see if there are any cost savings you can achieve.

The internet has given small businesses and consumers immense power when it comes to getting the best deal. The amount of information available to us means that there is a potential for big savings if you are willing to invest a little time.

I have seen cases where my clients have had the same telephone and internet plan with their carrier for over five years. The carrier was happy to continue to charge them the same rate over this period and my client in return continued to pay it simply because it was debited from their account each month and they didn’t have to think about it. After a quick bit of investigation we realised that, because the internet plan had never been upgraded, the client could have been getting significantly more data for a considerably lesser monthly fee on the current product they were using – this was without even looking at another provider. This goes to show that it does pay to ask ‘Can I get a better deal?’

As the saying goes, “a dollar saved is a dollar earned”, so here are just a few tips on reducing your expenditure this new financial year:

  • Check your phone and internet bills – are they still appropriate for your usage? Ask your current provider for a better deal or look to move to another provider who can give you a better deal.
  • A similar story applies to electricity and gas – ask your provider for a better deal or look elsewhere. Many companies are offering no contract plans and signup incentives to attract new customers, so make the most of it.
  • Credit card interest rates are significantly higher than the RBA cash rate. In fact, even though home loan and deposit rates have declined significantly over the last few years, credit card rates have remained relatively high. Look to consolidate credit card debt and perhaps look into a 0% balance transfer option to help you repay it faster.
  • Ask for an early payment discount. Although this mainly applies to businesses, it can sometimes be available for individuals too. Business thrives on cash flow, so often businesses are willing to provide an early payment discount in exchange for prompt payment.
  • Look for a good deal online. The internet is a powerful tool when it comes to finding the best deal. Identify what you need and find the best price for it online.
  • Look to get a better interest rate on your home and business loans. Talk to your bank or a finance broker to see if a better deal is available – a small reduction in interest rates can mean a huge difference in the total amount payable over the life of the loan.
  • Make the most of social media for your advertising. In many cases it can be free or low cost, you just need to be creative, invest the time and connect with your customers or clients.
  • Ask your happy customers or clients to refer your business to others – word of mouth is often the best form of advertising and can be achieved for low or no cost.
  • Check your insurance as again you might not be getting the best deal available. Contact your current insurer or look around. Savings could be made on a range of insurances including business, home and contents, car, health, etc. While you are at it, make sure you have the correct level of cover.
  • Ask your bank for a better deal on bank fees – in particular bank merchant fees. There is no reason why you can’t shop around for better merchant fees and still retain the majority of your transacting with your current bank.
  • If you require work to be done by a tradesman, get at least three quotes. Compare them and choose the best one based on price and the agreed service to be delivered.

It is important to note that cost should not be the only consideration when it comes to expenditure. You still need to consider quality, service, value for money, whether or not it’s made in Australia and if you are supporting other small businesses like yourself.

On a final note, as well as looking to reduce outgoings, now is a great time to prepare a budget as it will allow you to track your expenditure and income targets. As for any business, a personal expenditure budget is just as beneficial and definitely worth preparing – particularly if you are trying to save for a house, holiday or car.

Wishing you all the best for a prosperous 2016 financial year…