Seven ways to get rich in 2019
MANY cash-strapped Australians will have entered 2019 feeling a bit worse for wear and trying desperately to shake off a financial hangover.
And January is the optimal time to reassess your situation and attempt to wipe the financial slate clean.
From erasing card debt to paying off essential bills, we've looked at seven simple ways to put money in your pocket in 2019.
1. CREDIT CARDS
This is the most evil debt of all, attracting interest rates of up to 25 per cent data from financial comparison site Mozo has found.
Annual fees can also bite at up to $749, Mozo's spokesman Tom Godfrey said.
"If you're carrying a balance forward on your credit card the only thing that matters is the interest rate you're paying," he said.
"Check your rate and if you're paying more than 10 per cent consider switching to a low-rate card."
Customers should also consider balance-transfer cards where you move debt from one card to another and enjoy a zero per cent honeymoon period to tackle a chunk of debt.
2. HOME LOANS
Home loan rates have continued to remain at record-lows and should stay cheap for some time yet.
Mozo data found on a $300,000 30-year home loan the average variable rate is 4.34 per cent and monthly repayments are $1491.
The cheapest deal is 3.44 per cent on the monthly repayments at $1337.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission's MoneySmart senior executive leader, Laura Higgins, said borrowers should check how they are using their mortgage.
"A lot of people have offset accounts but are not using them as they are designed and it's costing them fees," she said.
"Also consider what your provider can do for you, chat to your bank and see if it's the best deal and offer for you."
Borrowers should also consider refinancing lenders to save.
3. ENERGY BILLS
Power prices remained a hot topic in 2018.
The Federal Government is working to roll out a default market offer in 2019 that would set a maximum price for standing offers - a basic plan for electricity and gas - for residential and small business customers.
But there has been backlash that this could harm competition and lead to higher prices in the longer term.
Regardless of this customers should review their energy bills - often the easiest way is to look at the supply and usage charges and do a comparison online.
EnergyAustralia's chief customer officer Chris Ryan said customers who spend time to find a better deal should be rewarded.
"Visit two or three retailer websites and enter a few details such as usage from your last bill, and compare what's being offered in the market," he said.
"This only takes a few minutes for each retailer."
Latest Australian Taxation figures show a whopping $17.5 billion in lost super is waiting to be claimed by its rightful owners.
Intrust Super's chief executive officer Brendan O'Farrell said it's critical Australians consolidate their accounts to avoid eroding balances by paying fees on multiple accounts.
"Once your super is together, it will be easier to track your contributions ensuring firstly that they are being paid and secondly that they are being processed correctly," he said.
He also urged Australians to check their insurance within their fund to ensure they have sufficient coverage if something does go wrong.
Funds have taken a hit in 2018 due to ongoing sharemarket volatility and are expected to post a negative result for the first time in seven years.
Nearly every Australian has a mobile phone and it's likely many will be throwing money down the drain by being on the wrong deal.
Competition in the telco industry is as hot as ever and customers should be pouncing on cheaper deals that continue to be rolled out.
Telco comparison website WhistleOut's spokesman Kenny McGilvary said it's worthwhile considering smaller carriers outside of the big guns - Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
"You don't need to worry about the network quality or coverage of smaller providers because they all use either the Optus, Telstra or Vodafone networks," he said.
"This means you can focus more on plan prices and inclusions, and choose one that suits you best."
But he warned consumers to compare deals because they varying widely.
"On a two-year contract you could easily pay $104 per month for an iPhone XR plan with 20GB data with one carrier, or $84 per month for a plan with 100GB with another," Mr McGilvary said.
"That's $240 per year in savings while also fives time the difference in data allowance."
6. HEALTH INSURANCE
Major health insurance changes are coming in 2019 including the reclassification of hospital cover into gold, silver, bronze and basic categories.
Premiums will rise on average by 3.25 per cent but don't kick in until April 1.
Bupa's director of customer experience Sally Damiani said the changes may include "changes to price, inclusion or removal of cover of certain procedures and the way policies are described."
She said insurers have until April 2020 to use the "same language" and meet set criteria to fit within a gold, silver, bronze of basic classification which "should make it easier and more transparent for customers."
Keep an eye out for any correspondence from your provider in the coming months and take note of upcoming price changes.
Savings rates have remained dismal for those holding cash in the bank, particularly retirees who rely on interest payments.
Interest rates on many accounts are under the 3 per cent range, Mozo analysis has found.
For a saver with $10,000, Mozo's database found the best "at-call" savings account was Move Bank' bonus saver offer at 2.9 per cent.
Account users must deposit a minimum of $300 each month and make no withdrawals.
While for one and three-year fixed-term deposits the best deals remained at 3 per cent.
Mr Godfrey warned, "To make the most from your money, you need to stay on top of the latest rates.
"If you have a term deposit don't just let the money roll over at the end of the period.
"Compare rates and bank the best deal you can."