Frugality part 2: spreading the load

My Yearly Metcard is almost up for renewal, and I was pondering if I can somehow organise to stagger it and my other biggish expenses for the year?

Yearly ticket — $1065. Mine expires in April, so if I want the cheap price I need to order in early-March — about now. If I pay by credit card there’s a surcharge. The date slips each year as sometimes just after the ticket expires there are a few days when I don’t use the next one and/or I have compensation Dailies to use up. (By the way, Connex is paying up for both January and February — Get the forms here.) Of course ideally you buy this late in the year, just before the annual price rise.

Home and contents insurance — about $800, due in August. Can probably pay periodically, but it’ll cost extra, which is better avoided where possible.

Car insurance — Due in August, $559 last year. Ditto.

Car maintenance — periodic due to mileage, not really unpredictable.

Car registration — I think it’s due in about June, as I lucked out last year; the car I bought had just been paid up.

The November holiday, assuming I keep up this tradition, with credit card bill arriving in late-November for payment in December.

Christmas — major expense in December, but credit card bill arrives in January, for payment in early-February.

School fees — paid in December, and can go on credit card, so is actually paid at the same time as Christmas. Government schools are cheaper than private, but not free.

What else am I forgetting that’s pretty big, and regular?

Obviously some payments can be moved, and some can’t. I can buy a couple of monthly Metcards to move the Yearly back. School fees can be paid in quarterly installments, and I may take that option from next year.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Frugality part 2: spreading the load”

There are plenty of car insurers who don’t charge extra to pay by the month. I’m with CGU, who I have found to be very reasonable and they have an under 10,000Kms a year policy at a discount. And I think ING car incurance is underwritten by CGU so if you join on the web you get an extra 10% off.

I am lucky, my employer deducts my yearly Metcard from my salary each month.

hi daniel,

perhaps not a possibility with kids, but for adults we have a christmas rule for presents “only something you make or can eat”

i usually bake shortbread cookies and they are more appreciated than any trinket you can come up with. plus once people get to a certain age, they don’t need anything anymore. i put a lot of time in baking and that is my way of showing i care. i’d rather spend that time in the kitchen than in chadstone during the christmas mayhem.


Hey, we have a few things you can salary sacrifice for (I’m getting a new laptop soon!) so maybe look into that with any of your big purchases?

Also, for our kids, we have a ‘school’ account. Yes, even the twins and Bert have one, even though they haven’t started school yet. Bert’s account is being built up with $5 per fortnight now, not a lot, but when he needs uniform, school fees, even excursions, the money is there. This money is for school needs only, so the kids won’t miss out on camps etc when time comes around. I know your boys are already in school, but something like this, say start with $100 in an ING account, might be a good thing to have.

Is a yearly metcard made from a more durable material than the paper card monthly one? My monthly one can be a bit dog eared after a month of use and since I walk to work I don’t even use it every day. One time I had a card that would not work well towards the end of the month.

Liz, thanks, I’ll check that out.

Donna, I do (alas) have private health insurance. They bill monthly, pretty sure no penalty.

Rae, thanks, some good thoughts there.

Jed, yes, the Yearly ticket is made of a tough (but thin) plastic stuff. Some people do have issues with the magnetic stripe wearing out, though mine for the past few years has lasted the distance.

I think $559 is a rip-off for car insurance. You’re over 35, you have a cheap car several years old. It should be closer to $400. Try another company. I use Allianz and it’s $423 for a 5 year old Renault doing less than 15,000 km a year.

Philip, I did shop around a bit. But I’ll do so again coming up to renewal time.

Chris, both water and council rates are quarterly for me.

Start a christmas club account, $40 automatically deducted from your bank account every fortnight and there’s over $1000 for spending on those you love.

$100/month =$1200 for christmas

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