The financial new year has come, and brought with it a bunch of changes in the world of banking. From keeping the lights on, to buying your first home, right through to your weekly Suits marathon, the way you spend and save your money is just a little different now.
To help you keep track, here’s a quick rundown of some of the majors things that changed on July 1….
Your electricity bill
Power prices have spiked by as much as 20% following the annual price updates from Australia’s energy retailers - just in time for the winter chill! Bills are expected to rise by as much as $400, depending on where you live and what provider you’re with.
We’re keeping a close eye on the changes made by energy retailers, and you can check out whether your provider is serving up a nasty shock here. And if your bill just got a whole lot heftier, think about using our energy plan comparison tool to find a better value deal.
The way you save for a home deposit
Trying to get your foot on the property ladder? Saving up that initial deposit can be the hardest part of affording your first home. But the government’s Super Saver Scheme means that you can now make up to $30,000 over two years in extra super contributions through a salary sacrifice scheme. These funds can then be withdrawn and put towards a deposit for your first home.
But proceed with caution - until the legislation passes there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to reclaim those funds when the time comes. Industry experts are warning that you may be better off to wait until the bill is formally passed before jumping in.
Ok, so you’ve saved a deposit, found your dream home, and now you’re ready to buy. Another massive cost you need to take into account is stamp duty. But, post-July 1, there’s some good news for first home buyers in NSW and Victoria.
If you’re buying a property worth $650,000 or less in NSW, or $600,000 or less in Victoria, you’ll be exempt from stamp duty entirely. On properties up to $800,000 in NSW or $750,000 in Victoria, you’ll be able to snag stamp duty discounts.
According to Premier Gladys Berejiklian, these changes could save first home buyers up to a total of $34,360.
Interchange fees on your credit card spend
In May last year the RBA put an 0.8% cap on the interchange fees banks could charge for credit card transactions, set to come into effect on July 1 2017. There’s good news and bad news now that this rule is in place.
The good news is, you’ll no longer pay exorbitant surcharges for flashing your plastic at your favourite shops. Retailers can now only pass on the real cost of accepting credit cards, and aren’t allowed to add extra on top.
The bad news is, banks can’t earn as much through these fees anymore. But rather than take a hit to their bottom line, most credit card providers have started devaluing rewards programs, by reducing earn rates, introducing point caps or hiking annual fees.
If the value of your rewards card has tanked lately, it might be time to trade up. Take our Rewards Revealer for a whirl to find the rewards plastic that suits you best.
Your netflix bill
This one will really hit you where it hurts. As of July 1, GST will be applied to digital downloads purchased in Australia, in what’s being called the “Netflix tax.” But if you thought you were getting away with only paying an extra 10% you’re dreaming - Netflix has taken the opportunity to bump up its own profits a bit too.
Aussie binge-watchers will now pay $9.99 (11% increase) for the Basic plan, $13.99 (17% increase) for the Standard or $17.99 (20% increase) for the Premium plan per month.
Think you might need re-evaluate your budget for the coming financial year? Our budget calculator can help you crunch the numbers to balance your spending and saving.