The Grocery Switch That Can Save Families $2,468 a Year

One change can save families $2,468, home loan approvals in less than 60 minutes, and East Coast floods are breaking records. Here are five things you may have missed this week.

This simple gesture can save Australian families $2,468 a year

Aldi Australia has just released its 2022 price report, revealing how much families can save by switching their store to Aldi.

Based on data analyzed by PwC, the report says an average Australian family that usually buys branded goods can save $2,468 a year buying from Aldi, or about $1,555 a year for those who opt for the cheapest no-frills products.

The savings couldn’t come at a more critical time.

Aldi’s report found that almost all (98%) Australian grocery shoppers noticed an increase in the overall cost of living compared to previous years. Up to one in three say they are in a more difficult financial situation than in mid-2021.

Price is now the most important factor in the weekly grocery store, with one in two shoppers paying more attention to price tags.

Even so, the report says only one in 10 Australians switched supermarkets to save money. It could be that the temptation to spend on impulse purchases in Aldi’s famous “middle aisle” is holding shoppers back.

Home loans go pronto to NAB

The onset of the COVID pandemic saw home loan approval times skyrocket as lenders adjusted to having credit teams work from home.

However, NAB says it has resolved the situation, saying customers applying directly for a loan are unconditionally approved in less than two days on average, compared to four days six months ago.

One in three NAB customers are now unconditionally approved for a mortgage in less than an hour.

The fastest result is the result of simpler policies and processes.

Rachel Slade, NAB Group Head of Personal Banking, says: “Clients tell us that receiving a quick decision is key. It gives them the certainty and confidence to help them get into a property.”

March floods are costliest floods on record

The storms and floods that hit southeast Queensland and the NSW coast in February and March are officially the country’s costliest, racking up nearly $3.35 billion in insured losses.

According to the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), the floods are also the fifth costliest disaster in Australian history after the Eastern Sydney Hailstorm (1999, $5.57 billion), Cyclone Tracey ( 1974, $5.04 billion), Cyclone Dinah (1967, $4.69 billion) and the Newcastle earthquake (1989, $4.24 billion).

ICA CEO Andrew Hall said: “We knew this year’s flooding on the east coast was one of the biggest in our history, but these updated figures show that in monetary terms, it’s was actually the biggest of all time.”

The floods have prompted Australians to review their home insurance coverage, but many homeowners are facing affordability issues.

According to Compare the Market’s latest quarterly Bill Shock Tracker survey, 18% of respondents said they could not afford insurance.

ACCC data shows that insurance is more likely to be unaffordable in regions most prone to natural disasters, meaning those who need it most tend not to take advantage of it.

In northern Australia, for example, where extreme weather conditions are more common, around 20% of buildings are uninsured, compared to 11% in Australia as a whole.

Questions Raised About Online Marketplaces

A new report from the ACCC on online retail marketplaces such as Amazon Australia, Catch, eBay Australia and Kogan, has highlighted a range of concerns for consumers.

A key issue, according to the consumer watchdog, is how algorithms are used to decide how products are ranked and displayed, with some online marketplaces giving preference to their own products.

ACCC President Gina Cass-Gottlieb said: “Online marketplaces need to be more transparent with consumers about how they work. For example, they should explain to consumers why their search functions and other tools promote certain products rather than others.

Worryingly, the report also highlights the large amounts of consumer data collected and used by online marketplaces, which may not match the privacy preferences or expectations of many consumers.

“We believe consumers should be given more information and control over how online marketplaces collect and use their data,” Cass-Gottlieb adds.

Buckle up for more price hikes

Inflation is currently at 5.1%, which has already led to a rate hike of 0.25% in May.

But prices are still expected to rise before they start falling.

In its May Economic Outlook, the Reserve Bank projects inflation will hit a whopping 6% by the end of 2022, before dropping steadily to 3.0% by mid-2024.

It should be noted that the Reserve’s forecast is based on the assumption that the cash rate (currently at 0.35%) will reach 1.75% by December 2022 and climb to 2.5% a year later.

If these assumptions prove to be correct, we could see today’s variable mortgage rates increase by 2.25% over the next 18 months.

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