Moving house? Now’s the time to also de-clutter your budget

Packing up and moving to a new home almost always means parting with things you no longer need or have room for – and it also presents you with a perfect opportunity to streamline your household budget.

So says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, who notes: “The careful planning and assessment of your family's financial health before you made the decision to buy a new home has already laid the foundation for a fine-tuned cost-saving strategy. All you need now is the commitment to keep looking for ways to cut down on your expenses.
“For example, making arrangements to pay the new water, lights, telephone and other service accounts is a good time to ensure that you are getting the best deals possible. There are obviously limited options with municipal rates, but it is definitely worth checking on the savings to be made by installing a prepaid electricity meter, or perhaps some “green” options like a solar geyser or a rainwater tank. Some banks will even finance these improvements via your home loan.”
This might also be a good time, he says, to review your phone, cell phone and data usage to see if you can either reduce your expenditure or get more for your money. “Your new home might enable you to connect to the Internet via fibre instead of DSL, for example, and to make much greater use of wi-fi instead of expensive mobile data. Alternatively, you may decide that you no longer need a landline.
“If you have purchased a new home, you should also shop around for the best rates on your homeowner's insurance (HOC). You will be obliged to have this insurance if you have a home loan, but you do not have to take the cover offered by the same bank that is providing your loan. Several short-term insurance companies now offer HOC bundled with your car and contents cover, and they may offer you a better rate.
“And while reviewing insurance, you might find that moving to a more secure neighbourhood or a home with better physical security measures will enable you to also negotiate lower premiums on your short-term cover. You may also find that if the move enables you to make more use of public transport, you can reduce your car insurance premiums.”
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says you should also check if any of the local security companies offer a special rate because they have a large number of clients in your new area.
“Then finally, relocation may mean also moving your banking business to a new branch, and present an opportunity to reduce your monthly fees by making sure you have the best banking package for your needs.
“Most banks have loyalty incentives that reward holders of more than one account with lower rates or service charges, or special rates for seniors, for example. You should establish whether any of these apply to you, ask how you can reduce your bank charges and also check out the benefits of telephone or online banking.”
This type of expenditure review may seem like a lot of work, he says, but it should not take more than a couple of weeks - and the savings should more than make up for the effort – while also making the move to your new home even more satisfying.

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