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CHOICE tips to take charge of 2021

Save water, save money and buy smart in the new year

Consumer advocate CHOICE has released the Take charge of 2021 Checklist – 5 simple things to improve your home, finances and life in 2021.

“No one wants 2021 to feel like the hangover from 2020,” says CHOICE consumer advocate Julia Steward.

“So CHOICE, as Australia’s non-profit consumer champion, is here to help you have a fresh start. We put products and services to the test so you don’t have to. You can take charge of 2021, saving water, cleaning up your finances and ditching things you don’t need anymore,” says Steward.

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CHOICE – Take Charge of 2021 Checklist

  1. Watch out for water wasters
  2. Audit your accounts
  3. Avoid dud health insurance
  4. Stay cool
  5. Ditch products that don’t work

1. Watch out for water wasters

“Australians are getting more and more conscious of their water use every year,” says Steward.

“Start 2021 by hunting down water wasters in your home. In our independent lab testing, sadly we find some whitegoods will do significant damage to your water bill and the environment. Washer Dryer Combo machines are some of the worst for water waste and one recent Samsung washer scored just 1% for water efficiency in our tests.”

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2. Audit your accounts

“2020 was a mess for regular services and contracts,” says Steward.

“The new year is a perfect time to ask - are you getting what you’re paying for? A lot has changed this last year - audit your bank accounts and credit cards to see what you’re regularly paying for. Is that credit card with travel rewards worth it this year? Are you going to the gym? Are you paying too much for your internet? Are you overpaying insurance for a car you barely drive?”

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3. Avoid dud health insurance

“Private health insurance can be confusing,” says Steward.

“Too many people get stuck on dud health insurance deals. You think you’re covered and then when the worst happens, you’re stuck with huge unexpected bills. We’ve named and shamed the worst health insurance policies from Medibank, Bupa, HCF, HBF and NIB. If you have one of these policies, you can do better!”

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4. Stay cool

“Staying cool over Summer doesn’t have to break the bank,” says Steward.

“Typically our labs suggest a reverse cycle air conditioner is your best bet long term. It’ll keep you cool in summer, warm in winter and pretty good at keeping the power bill in check. If you rent and don’t have air conditioning, you don’t have to stump up for an expensive Dyson fan - our tests this year found some much cheaper department store fans beat out the cult brand. The cheapest option of all is to seal your home and be smart with shade.”

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5. Ditch products that don’t work

We awarded the whole category of floor cleaners a CHOICE Shonky in 2020, because they could barely beat plain water,” says Steward.

“But it’s not just floor cleaners, lots of the cleaning products around your home are frankly useless and can be replaced by better, cheaper options or even classic home remedies. We put a huge range of cleaners to the test every year. You could be paying less and getting a better clean with a quick check of our reviews.”

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Media contact: Jim Hook, media@choice.com.au, 0430 172 669