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The February Bill Shock

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The February Bill Shock

How are you going with your bills this month? I thought I was ok, but then that unexpected big bill turned up, you know the one you didn’t account for, and it’s thrown my February finances for six. I am pretty confident I am not on my own out there when it comes to February bill shock. Yep bill shock, there’s such a thing believe it or not. It’s even got its own Wikipedia entry, defined by someone with clearly too much time on their hands to put this stuff on the internet as….

“Bill shock can generically be used as a term for the surprise an individual receives on any bill that has an amount higher than expected pending to be paid. Other examples of bill shock have been noted in credit card bills, rental bills, and utility bills.”

February surely has to be the worst month for bill shock in the entire year. You’ve lived large over the Christmas/New Years break, caught up in the heady indulgence of summer, the reality of bills seems a world away when that second, maybe third mojito lands in your hands. But now as you sit at your computer staring at your bank balance and pile of bills with the mojito replaced by a cuppa all that indulgence is starting to seem unwise.

Take heart, an exclusive survey by Budget Direct has revealed bill shock is something many of us are pondering at this very moment, with 1 in 10 people saying they are extremely or very worried about the bills that are coming in. What the survey found may not surprise but it may at least provide some comfort. 21% of Australians relied heavily on their credit card during the festive season, what’s really worrying is that 5% said they wouldn’t have had food on the table or presents under the tree without it.

Sadly it is families doing it the toughest with 30% revealing buying food or presents would have been significantly or totally affected without their credit card over the festive season.

When Budget Direct asked how Aussies plan to get the bill blues under control this year;

  • 65% aim to plan ahead and shop around to change how they buy
  • 60% plan to change what they buy
  • 49% will watch when they buy
  • 46% are looking to change where they buy

So you want to fix the problem right now why not try these simple budget busting moves;

  • Shop around and see if you’re getting a good deal on your car insurance, all your insurances for that matter. There are some great offers at the moment, so exercise your customer power and see if you can save.
  •  An oldie but a goodie, put your credit card on ice, literally. Put it in the freezer in a container of water, and see if your retail urge cools off by the time it defrosts.
  • Bring your lunch to work, that $10 a day you’re spending on a sandwich adds up to $200 a month. Why not give the coffee machine at work a go while you’re at it. $4 a day on a latte is an $80 per month luxury, which could be covering your mobile phone bill instead.
  • Save money on your beauty regime by trying a local hairdressing training college, where a cut can cost as little as $12 for a woman.