Billbusters

Reporter: David Richardson

"The average Australian family is hurting, getting crunched by rising costs of living and it doesn't help that they have about 3-grand in credit card debt" says Scott

"It's just a constant balance of trying to find where you're spending your money, budgeting, okay these bills are coming we have to prepare for those so you cut back to prepare for those bills coming in." says Chris

Meet the Tippet family Chris, his wife Mel a part time child care worker, their one year old son Jasper and 4 year old Isabelle

Like millions around the country struggling in the face of higher prices on virtually everything

"This is the typical Australian family they don't have a lot of equity in their home, they're earning a combined income of about 100-grand, that's about 80-grand after tax, half of that is going on their mortgage." Say Scott

They borrowed almost to the hilt to buy their home south of Brisbane and save little after bills and the mortgage

"$100 about $100 to spare and that sometimes gives us the chance to have a nice dinner out or go to the moves. it's not much though is it? no. laugh." Says Mel

"Child care, that's quite expensive. electricity is a big one and water." Says Mel

The young family would like to save an extra $150 a week and perhaps one day take a holiday so we put together a bill busting team to help.

"And I'll show you how to save on your banking and credit cards." Says Scott

"And we'll show you how to halve your shopping bill and together we're going to show you how to save thousands." Says Kate and Shannon

"Chris, Mel, we've got your experts here to bust your bills. first of all Scott Pape the barefoot investor he's going to look at all your banking stuff, your credit cards Esta's going to look at everything around the house, that goes from phones to electricity and Kate and Shannon the grocery queens and budgeters extraordinaire."

All our experts have been there and done it

Scott Pape is the Barefoot investor a financial advisor and columnist who practices what he preaches

Esta Hammond is a budget queen having herself faced massive credit card debt which almost left her broke

"When we found ourselves in a lot of did what I did was pretty much challenge every single expense that we had and it's surprising nearby every single expense that you do have, there is money to be saved." Says Esta

Kate Filmier and Shannon Thomson are the authors of Hidden Path and know exactly how to slash grocery bills

"So Chris in your cupboard I can see a lot of food and my concern is a lot of it might end up in the bin. are you using this? Or is it sitting at the back of the cupboard." Says Kate

For a morning our team of experts went through every aspect of the Tippett's finances their banking credit cards bills pantry .fridge and freezer anywhere they'd spent a cent

Esta notices some unwanted expenses straight away

"Just the fact that they have two different lots of internet connections, so they have a wireless connection for convenience when they're out and about on the road or going on holidays, but they also have ADSL. plus they have a home phone and they also have two mobiles." Says Esta

Scott has located a hidden loophole in the mortgage repayments; Esta also has some good news

Scott first

"If you ring your mortgage broker and say I'd like you to rebate the trailing commissions you're getting paid over the course of your loan that can save you about 15-thousand bucks that would be kicked back normally to the sales person, the mortgage broker who put you on the loan. now if we put that onto your mortgage over the course of your loan that's going to save you around 45 grand." Says Scott

Tip: Bundle mobile phone plans with internet

"We're going to put Mel and Chris on a $49 dollars Vodafone cap which is unlimited and with that we are going to get a wireless connection through Vodafone." Says Esta

"Which saves them about $90 a month" says Esta

Tip: pay off credit cards"What I want you to do is knock over that credit card once and for all. no more credit cards. cut the plastic. Live away from that and within your means." Says Scott

Tip: bundle insurance policies

"We're about to bundle Mel's car with the home and contents and you should be able to save 1000-dollars here." Says Esta

Tip: pay down mortgage

"We're going to work on paying off that mortgage because little amounts of money onto your mortgage over 25 years is what's really gonna make the difference." Says Scott

Mel is also getting shopping lessons

"Break it down to your 100 grams. you've got 1.37$ as opposed to $1.62. cheaper even though they're on sale." Says Kate

Their top tips …

Tip: stick to a budget

Tip: Use meal plans

Tip: Buy generic, in season and in bulk

"Number one, have a budget. be prepared. have your meal plans worked out and look at catalogues. buy generic, buy what's in season and buy in bulk. and you'll save money? you'll save money yes." Says Kate

All these tips ideal for every Australian family not just the Tippetts

"So are you going to take this on board and use it?"

"Yeah definitely yep sounds good. sounds like a plan." Says Mel

"All those things that grandma did, she knew what she was on about. so she had to lay-by, she had cash, she got her little envelope, she made sure she wasn't spending more than she was earning and that is the key to managing your money. a simple golden rule? It's simple." Says Scott

FOR MORE INFORMATION CHECK OUT OUR EXPERTS:

Scott Pape - Barefoot Investor - www.barefootinvestor.com

Esta Hammond - Easy Ways to Save - www.easywaystosavemoney.com.au

Shannon Thomson / Kate Filmer - Hidden Path - www.hiddenpath.com.au