Bleats

If You Haven't Ever Changed Banks You're Definitely Paying A Hefty Can't-Be-Arsed Tax

But you can save yourself hundreds with a tiny bit of internet-time.

Banking is one of those things which is so damn boring that no-one especially wants to think about it for more time than is absolutely necessary.

Your pay goes in, your buying goes out, and unless something goes horribly wrong with either of those elements then for the most part people are happy to ignore the issue.

And banks know this.

“We banks are so sorry for the way we’ve treated you.”

They know that you don’t want to go through and change all your automatic payments. They know that you don’t want to have to remember another PIN or access code. They know what you don’t want to have to learn another institution’s netbanking layout.

And they’ve done tricky emotional things to you too that make you less likely to change banks, like sign you up when you were a kid so you associate the bank with bouncy cartoon characters and cool money boxes rather than eye-gouging fees.

It’s tragic, but true: the Dollarmites weren’t really your friends.

Here’s the thing that we all learned in the Royal Commission into the Financial Sector, though: wow, banks just hate your guts.

Once you’re a customer the aim is to shake you down for fees and charges, often opaque ones that you’d never notice, and assume that you won’t go “wait a second, I’m paying literally hundreds of dollars a year for the privilege of accessing my own money!”

And while the Royal Commission was very big on large corporations blaming “bad apples” within their banking culture and making showy apologies, there’s zero sign that they’ve decided to do right by the people who’ve been parking their money with them for years.

What we assume banks do at 5.01pm every day.

So: it’s time to do some searching around.

One big development in recent times is the emergence of online banks. The downside is that they don’t have shopfronts that you can go into in order to do things like deposit cheques not via post, for example, or discuss things face to face with a human.

However, if the lions share of your banking is pretty much done digitally – as is the case with most people – then it’s worth looking at them, since that’s where the lowest fees are. Often in the form of no fees at all – including at ATMs, or using your card overseas. That’s cash in your hand, right there.

And look how happy he is!

And don’t panic about going with a smaller bank: all Australian deposits are guaranteed by the government up to $250,000. And if you have more than that… um, why are you leaving it in a bank account? Don’t you have investments to leverage or something, Wealtho McMoneybags?

At the very least it’s worth doing a search and check what the likes of UBank or ING are offering their customers and then giving your current bank a call and saying “so, what will you offer me in order to keep me as a customer?” And don’t hang up until you have some fees waived.

Because they’re not going to offer it just out of the goodness of their record year on year profits (and misleading claims about where said profits end up), that’s for sure.

We Need To Start Living Like We’ve Got Long, Long Lives Ahead Instead Of Just Giving Up

Humans are notoriously bad at thinking about the future. However, but when I was but a child, that wasn’t an issue because I knew that I was definitely going to die in a nuclear war.

That’s the story of almost every Gen X kid. We just took as read that at some point the USSR and/or the USA would do the final button push and everyone on the planet would be toast.

Thanks for playing, humanity!

Best case scenario was a Mad Max dystopia where we’d eke out a dusty, shirtless existence bartering for petrol and water with our gently radioactive blood. Worst case was our still-glowing fossils would be an object lesson for future alien archeologists.

And it wasn’t even like our parents could convince us otherwise: the booms in baby boomers was, after all, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki which ended WWII and started mass global relief-shagging.

“Peace in our time! So, fancy getting a leg over?”

But even as the first smart, desperate voices were saying “hey, the planet appears to be getting warmer, there are ways of stopping that, we should get onto that now” in the 70s and 80s we kids just added climate change to the list of things that we needn’t worry about since we’d be dead.

And now, to my constant surprise, I’m still around. And all the same problems which terrified me as a kid are still there.

And let’s be honest: the urgent will always shriek louder than the things which are important but down the track aways. But here’s a different tack: let’s all start thinking about our lives as though we’re going to be living a long, long time.

Dignity. Quiet dignity.

Because chances are you’ll be around for ages. If you’re reading this there’s every possibility that you’ll live into your 90s, with a level of health that would make your parents jealous and your grandparents accuse you of being a warlock.

So we have lots of self-interested reasons to opt into the idea that we need to do things now that will pay off later. But thinking ahead has also got benefits for society. And let’s be honest, we could do with sowing a few hope-seeds now.

And it’s never been more important, because there are a bunch of fairly important things going on which are going to mess up your future self, from immediate practical money-issues like government attempts to weaken compulsory superannuation to more existential things like the blindingly obvious horrors of climate change.

Actual NASA photo.

And right now, while we’re all preparing our tax and thinking about the year that’s passed and the challenges ahead, to extrapolate that a bit more – whether it’s consolidating your super, or taking notice of the environmental policies of the government and thinking not about how that’s going to affect your theoretical grandkids, but your slightly greyer self.

Basically, this is a great opportunity for us to go “so, what will I kick myself for not doing now when it’s 2040?” Because the more we do now, the better things can be later: for ourselves, and for the species as a whole.

Hell, panicking about the immediate present hasn’t worked great for the last few decade or so – what do we have to lose?

$5 Lunch Ideas For When You're Tired Of The Same Old Salad

You can save money *and* also not eat horrible garbage!

Leaving the office for a few sanity-minutes in the middle of the day can be one of life’s great joys, but lordy, you pay for the privilege.

Even the most high-value foodcourt or discounted pub lunch can see you drop an easy hunge on weekly dining over a year. That’s over $5k you could be spending on far better things.

Like… um, whatever this is.

And the answer, which you already know, is bringing lunch from home WAIT THERE ARE SOME REALLY GOOD EASY OPTIONS COME BACK.

And yes, we get it. Prepping lunches is rarely bitchin’ fun times. But think of it like this: if you were offered $75 for less than an hour of food-making time, you’d take it, right? ‘Xactly.

So why not try…

Dinner part 2!

If you’re price-conscious you’re probably buying the cheaper, larger supermarket portions which are too much to have in a single meal but annoying as hell to portion off.

For example: you’ve bought some stir fry beef, it’s been in the freezer, and you don’t want to try chipping off a third of it – and you’re not going to thaw it and then refreeze it, are you? No. No no no no no no.

So instead: make a big wokful of goodness, and then portion off some for tomorrow’s lunch. Boom. Done. No chipping involved.

Soup: Wonderful, wonderful soup

When it’s cold out it’s the perfect excuse to make a huge pot of pea and ham soup, or cauliflower and pea, or cannellini bean and pea soup. Any soup, really. And there are so damn many to experiment with!

The beauty of it is that you only have to make the thing once and boom, you have loads of the stuff that’s easy to freeze and easy to heat up.

Speaking of which…

Use Every Part Of The… Um, Dinner

Don’t hurl your leftover vege scraps from dinner straight into the green bin: they make a perfect base for a vegetable soup.

Bung them in a pot of water, boil it up, simmer away, refrigerate and boom: FREE LUNCH!

Build An Easy-To-Construct Office Falafel

The best part is that it’s not only cheap but something which doesn’t rely on having good kitchen facilities in your workplace: a packet of wraps, some hummus, tomatoes, lettuce. No need for a microwave or a toaster or a non-disgusting sandwich press!

Insta-Pho is a thing

Got a kettle in the office? Is there an Asian grocery nearby? Instant pho is less than a dollar a packet, and you’re one boiling kettle away from Vietnamese noodle goodness.

Adopt these habits and boom, you’ll be cruising around in your hover-jetski in no time!

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