If you haven’t come across this phrase before, you might be sitting there thinking ‘What are my laurels and how the heck do I rest on them?’
(In case you were wondering, it’s a type of tree – Laurus Nobilis – otherwise known as a Sweet Bay. In ancient times a laurel wreath was a sign of success, presented to a victor or champion to be worn like a crown).
Of course, resting on one’s laurels isn’t referring to someone kicking back on a comfy cushion of leaves – it’s a figurative term, referring to someone becoming complacent, relying on a past victory or success.
Still with me? Ok, let’s get into it …
In financial terms, resting on your laurels is a pretty common occurrence.
At one point or another you may have got yourself a sweet deal for your mortgage, or set yourself up with what you think is a pretty awesome package for your house and car insurances.
And while that may have been the best offer on the table at the time, chances are if it’s been a couple of years since you claimed that crown, your laurels would be well and truly wilted by now …
Time for a refresh.
Now if you took my last email as the inspiration you needed to kick that holiday hangover and start trying to take control of your cash flow, you would have already identified all of your regular expenses. You might have even tried to cull a few of the less essential items from the list to save a buck or two.
What you might not realise is that those major weekly, monthly and yearly costs, which add up the quickest on your bank statement, are actually among the easiest areas to make a saving.
Take your mortgage for example. A home loan is a pretty serious sort of debt, especially as it’s often taken out over a 25 or 30-year period.
But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with the one loan for the next few decades.
Banks and other lenders rely on the fact that most people don’t want to go through the process of taking out a mortgage more often than they need to – that you will, in fact, rest on your laurels.I call this the ‘lazy tax’.
But for those willing to do the hard yards (or find a mortgage broker to do it for them), comparing your existing loan to the other products on the market may save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage while also leaving a little bit more in your bank account week to week.
Delving into the packages offered by competing electricity providers can also provide an easily achievable financial windfall.
Many utility companies will be more than happy to dangle a discount in front of a potential new client, which might come in the form of a reduced rate for your usage, or certain amount of credit applied to your first few bills. Some even provide as much as 20 per cent off the total of your bill simply for paying on time – they get their cash flow under control while helping you improve yours.
Insurances are another area that shouldn’t be ignored for a quick, easy saving – a friend of mine saved almost $700 on their annual bill just by bundling up their policies with a new provider. Just make sure you compare the features and benefits of your policy before switching – you don’t want to find out that you’re not covered in the event of a claim.
And with the rate technology is advancing, telcos are also proving far more generous with their offerings than in the past. My family recently changed providers and reduced our spend by almost $100 per month while gaining around 20 times the amount of calls and data available for our use.
When it comes to controlling your cash flow, making changes doesn’t always have to mean missing out – it could just mean getting off your laurels and doing a little leg work!
In the next couple of weeks I’ll look at a few of the tougher moves you’ll need to make to truly become the master of your money and make it work for you.
Do you want to make the most of your money but aren't sure where to start?
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