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Five ways to minimise your financial waste in 2024

With the cost of living crisis continuing to bite as we begin 2024, consumers are feeling all the uncomfortable feels. It’s more important than ever for people to understand where their money is going and cut down on wasteful spending.

Waave is on a mission to make your financial journey simple and empowered. Today, the way businesses and customers transact and understand their money is outdated, broken, and just bang average. 

With new tools and technology emerging that will transform this space, true consumer empowerment is on the horizon. But there are things you can do right now to work the system and start reducing your financial waste in 2024.

  1. Develop an eye for spotting surcharges

Payment surcharging is widespread across most industries but often flies under the radar and the rules are not well enforced. It’s a problem that is costing people huge money each year and they aren’t aware of it. In a recent national study by Waave, almost half of Australians (47%) said they had no idea when they are being surcharged at the checkout (online or instore), or what for.

Businesses can surcharge to recoup their transaction costs, but not more. This shouldn’t be more than  0.5-1.5% of the bill, but it’s commonplace to see up to 3%. For consumers, even a small surcharge on a daily cup of coffee could be costing you hundreds each year. 

Look out for surcharges wherever you shop with a card or digital wallet - from supermarkets to cafes to gift shops. Often it’s not advertised (though must be), so consumers should always ask if they are being surcharged and how much. If it seems excessive, raise that with the merchant and consider shopping elsewhere. Tapping your card can also incur a higher surcharge as this usually routes the payment through a card scheme rather than EFTPOS. If a surcharge is advertised at a lower rate for EFTPOS, insert that card and select savings.

Thankfully, new account-to-account payment options like Waave’s Pay by Bank are beginning to emerge that express pay with funds straight from your bank without using a card or being hit with a surcharge. 

  1. Pay with cash

Until Pay by Bank and account-to-account payment methods grow to become widespread (as they are in Europe), the other lever consumers can pull is to pay in cash. Old school, yes, but effective. You may have seen the ‘cash stuffing’ trend that has gone viral on social media, and it’s not a bad way to keep track of what you’re really spending and avoid hidden fees. Set a spending limit for each ‘bucket’ of expenses, take the cash out you need, and only shop with that. Boycotting cards is also going to place continued pressure on merchants to offer new payment alternatives that cut out the surcharges.

  1. Request a price match

Google to the rescue. When shopping, have your phone handy and look up pricing for the product you are after. Most retailers will price match on request. Saving $5-10 on each item will quickly add up. Retailers want your business right now, so use the information on your phone to get a better deal on the spot.

  1. Take stock of your subscription costs

Summer is streaming season. We sign up to entertain the kids during Christmas holidays, but as we all know, it’s very easy to let free periods roll over into a monthly payment - and sometimes near impossible to cancel them when we need to. And of course, there’s the New Year’s gym membership we haven’t used much yet.

Subscriptions are a huge budget black hole. If you really want to take control of your spending, use Wendi, a free subscription tracking tool that quickly and safely connects to your bank accounts, scans your subscriptions, and tells you how much you’re spending and where. Most people are shocked at what they find, like paying for pet insurance after the dog died! You’ll know exactly where to cut back and could save yourself several hundred each year.

  1. Get on board with cash back apps

Right now it pays to be a deal hunter, and as a technology business we love supporting other companies that are giving consumers a fair go. Apps like Shopback for deals and cash back rewards, or Little Birdie for comparing deals (particularly useful for big ticket items), are game changers.

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