Big splurges are out, budgeting is in as cost of living bites

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CommBank offers $2700 saving on NBN, Aussies tighten up on treats, and beefing up on veggies could save $1844 annually. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

CommBank offers free NBN for three years

The Commonwealth Bank is offering home buyers a chance to save $2700 on internet costs

aussies cutting back on coffees five things

The bank has teamed up with telco More to offer conditionally pre-approved home loan customers a free 36-month NBN plan - a saving of up to $2700.

Existing CBA customers don't miss out, with 30% off More NBN plans for the first 12 months when signing up with a CBA credit or debit card.

Dr Michael Baumann, CBA's executive general manager of home buying, says, "We know the rising cost of living is being felt by all Australians, particularly those looking to purchase a property in the current environment.

"We want to support pre-approved home loan customers where we can, and that includes longer-term savings on essential and ongoing bills and commitments like internet."

Treats are out, budgeting is in

In these inflationary times, NAB research reveals how Australians are making their money go further - and one of the first things to be cut is non-essential spending.

NAB found one in two of us are switching to cheaper brands, and 44% are skipping or cutting back on 'micro' treats such as takeaway coffees, snacks, and lunches.

On the plus side, the study shows close to half of us (43%) have started using a budget and are keeping better track of spending.

NAB Group Executive Personal Banking Rachel Slade says, "We know many Australian households are already feeling cost-of-living pressures.

"This research reflects the conversations I've been having with our customers - people are finding ways to make short-term changes and get on top of their money."

Going green dishes up big savings

Three out of five Australians have become more mindful of their environmental impact since COVID-19 according to Finder's latest Green Consumer Report.

The study highlights how a number of green choices can save money. Cutting back on meat consumption for instance could save $1844 annually.

The big surprise is that Finder says switching to a high-performing ethical super fund, could leave Australians better off in retirement by $292,000.

That's a possible saving of about $6490 annually (ignoring inflation), with a 4-tonne reduction in carbon emissions each year. The savings don't translate into more money today but are based on a 45-year investment timeframe. Despite the potential benefits, only 2% of Australians have gone green with their super.

Darwin Australia's least profitable city

CoreLogic's latest Pain and Gain report, which looks at property resales in the December 2021 quarter, shows that not everyone made money on bricks and mortar last year despite double-digit gains in property values nationally.

Across the quarter, 96.2% of houses were sold for a profit compared to 88.6% of units. Investors had a lower incidence of profitability (91.4%) than owner-occupier sellers (96.7%).

For those who made a profit, property turned out to be a nice little earner. The median gain in the quarter was a healthy $319,000, far outweighing the median loss of $34,000 on properties resold.

Hobart took out the title of capital city with the highest incidence of profit-making sales (98.3%) - a position the Tassie capital has held for 14 consecutive quarters.

Darwin was the least profitable city, with one in four (26.2%) properties resold for a loss. On the plus side, CoreLogic says the March 2022 quarter has seen the Darwin market notch up "vast increases" in the rate of profit-making sales.

Time to stash some cash in super

If you're thinking of making a personal contribution to super this year, it's time to get cracking.

Super regulator APRA says Australians have significantly ramped up personal super contributions during the pandemic.

In the year ended March 2022, personal super contributions totalled a whopping $34.9 billion - a 61.7% jump on the previous year.

The beauty of making personal super contributions is that you may be able to claim a tax deduction for contributions worth up to $27,500 though this figure includes employer contributions.

Better get a wiggle on if you plan to claim a personal contribution on tax in the current financial year.

Super funds are usually flat out in the lead up to June 30, and most funds ask that your contribution is made at least a week before June 30 to allow time for the payment to be processed in the 2021/22 financial year.

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A former Chartered Accountant, Nicola Field has been a regular contributor to Money for 20 years, and writes on personal finance issues for some of Australia's largest financial institutions. She is the author of Investing in Your Child's Future and Baby or Bust, and has collaborated with Paul Clitheroe on a variety of projects including radio scripts, newspaper columns, and several books.