Five money sinkholes to avoid - ACTU Australian Unions

Five money sinkholes to avoid

You could be throwing big bucks into a financial pit without even knowing it.  Industry super fund-owned bank ME outlines five money sinkholes that could be swallowing up $3,500 of your cash every year.

We could all use some extra money, but sometimes our own behaviour can see savings slip between our fingers.  It’s time to shine a light on the big money sinkholes to see how you can put extra bucks back in your hip pocket.

1) Sticking to the same mobile phone plan. Average annual cost: $500

Australians stay with the same telco for an average of six and a half years according to Finder.  But your loyalty can be a savings sinkhole.  There’s a whole smorgasbord of mobile carriers to choose from with some red hot deals up for grabs. According to Finder, switching mobile phone plans or providers could see you save over $500 a year.  Bring it on!

2) Holding onto unwanted online purchases. Average annual cost: $384

Sure, online shopping is fun, and super easy. The hard part can be returning a purchase that doesn’t quite meet your expectations.  According to new research by ME, a whopping 70% of us never get around to returning online buys that aren’t quite right, and it’s setting us back an average of $384 annually.  That’s money for a holiday, or your morning coffee covered for almost four months. 

3) Sticking to an unsuitable power plan. Average annual cost: $550

Winter is on its way, bringing budget-busting power bills.  Make this the year you stay cosy without burning through extra cash.  With sites like Energy Made Easy, it only takes a few minutes to check if you have the most competitive power provider – and plan – for your needs.  According to EnergySwitch, making the move to a better deal could slash $550 off your annual electricity costs.

4) Paying avoidable bank fees. Average annual cost: $477

According to research by Mozo, Australians households each rack up around $477 in bank fees a year.  Yet many fees are easy to avoid.  Check if you’re paying regular account-keeping fees for everyday banking.  Plenty of banks have scrapped them.  How about ATM fees?  These can really add up, so look for an everyday account that lets you access your money at an ATM anywhere in Australia without having to cough up a fee.

5) Using food delivery apps. Average annual cost: $1,590

Feeling hungry?  No need to jump in the car these days because you can let the takeaway come to you.  Food delivery apps like UberEats and Deliveroo are super handy but they can be a super-sized money sinkhole.  According to Finder, Australians collectively spend $2.6 billion on home delivered food and drinks each year – or about $1,590 per person annually.  That’s a whole lot of laksa!  Save the delivery fee by taking a stroll to the local cafe.  Better still, prepare simple meals at home and feast on the savings.

Avoid these five money sinkholes and you could be better off by a total of $3,500 each year.  That’s a big reward for not much effort.


This article is brought to you by ME. For more information, please visit

Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.

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  • Helen Politis
    test actuonline
    commented 2019-05-31 10:13:31 +1000
    Good money managers are always conscious of how they use money to achieve the life they want and always aim to live within their means. A budget helps enormously as does a regular review of where you are spending your money. Small changes in spending and lifestyle habits can result in significant financial gains. My neighbour turned her life around by planning meals and buying fresh from a local market, instead of the last minute dash at the supermarket. She also quit smoking, reduced her visits to the hairdresser and no longer pays to have her dog washed. These changes are saving her over $15K per annum and as a bonus she is fitter and healthier and feels so much more in control of her life. This example may require a little bit more effort, but the rewards are so worth it and so empowering.