COVID-19: Spending less on Services & Utilities

Published on April 16, 2019 6:12 am, by

Key points

  • You should be able to get immediate help with Service & Utility bills from your service provider – especially for energy and telecommunications bills
  • Most people will be able to save a significant amount of money by switching to cheaper Service & Utility plans – especially for electricity and gas and probabl;y internet, phone and Pay TV
  • You may also be entitled to government assistance with electricity and gas rebates and concessions
  • we can make it a bit easier to make sure you are getting a good deal on electricity and gas with the MoneyBrilliant Bill Watch

Utilities – Water, Gas, Electricity

You need to do two things with your utilities bills – ask for a payment extension if you need one and make sure you are getting the cheapest electricity and gas you can.

This article will give you an overview of the help that is available if you you are suffering financial hardship due to COVID-19. Its a mix of things from energy retailers and governments.

Save yourself the time and trouble of finding the cheapest gas and electricity plans. Turn on Bill Watch in MoneyBrilliant and we’ll do the hard work for you. We won’t do it just once either. We’ll do it every month so you can always be confident you have the cheapest plans.

To set up your Electricity and Gas bills in Bill Watch follow these steps:

  • Set up your Bills in the Manage My Spending Dashboard using the Bills tile
  • Provide additional information for any bills that work with Bill Watch by tapping on the Bill Watch tile on the Manage My Spending dashboard. Here you can provide additional information about tariffs and usage levels from a recent bill

Now every month we’ll run the numbers of virtually all the plans available to you and let you know the details of up to 6 plans that are cheaper than your current plan. You can then make the decision to switch (or we can help you with that too if you like). More information on Bill Watch is available in this article.

Once you are paying the cheapest rates, look for ways to use less energy and become more efficient.

It can’t hurt to also look at the way you use electricity and gas to see if there are ways you can use less. This article provides tips on using less energy.


Pay TV

As far as we know, there is little on offer by way of concessions from Pay TV providers. so your tactics come down to either cancelling some or all of your subscriptions or switching to cheaper options. While you’re at it you might as well take a look at music subcriptions and gyms memberships.

Review any subscription services you have for Pay TV and decide whether you need them. If you need them, and let’s face it they can be a cheaper option than going to the movies, select the cheapest option that meets your needs. The best example is if you are an old Foxtel plan, paying $100 or more per month you are probably on the wrong platform. If you don’t want live sport consider switching to Netflix (about 10% of the price). If you want live sport consider switching to Kayo Sports.

These articles might be helpful if you need to get rid of some of your unused or unwanted subscription services like Pay TV.

Our guide to cancelling Pay TV and streaming services

Our guide to cancelling online music subscriptions

Our guide to cancelling Gym memberships


Mobile Phone

Again, you have two key things to do with phone services. First, if you need it, conact your phone provider and ask for a payment extension. If you do this you almost certainly will not have your phone disconnected in the new few months. Second, make sure you have the cheapest phone plan that suits you. If you are with one of the big providers that probably means switching providers.

This article provides details about the phone bill relief available for people suffering financial hardship.

The best value for money is SIM-only plans. To qualify for these, you need to either already own or purchase a phone outright. SIM Only plans are offered in different durations. You can even prepay for one or two years. If you are taking out a plan that isn’t monthly, check out the data. Some give you a huge amount to last the year, while others roll over each month. SIM Only providers worth checking out –

• Catch Connect (Optus network)
• Kogan Mobile (Vodafone network)
• Boost Mobile (Telstra network)
• Aldi Mobile (Telstra network)

Mobile phones that are purchased on a plan, often work out more expensive over the contract period – however, the cost of the phone is spread out. If you are going to purchase a new plan, shopping around is certainly your best option – as is considering what it is you want from a phone as there are always a lot of options more economical than those advertised. E.g. the last model of phone is often marked down, and these days the added value you get from the newest model may not be recognisable. 



Getting the best deal on this is a case of being clear on what you need, making sure you aren’t paying for speed, capacity or other features you don’t value and frankly ditching the bigger providers. Your best options for saving money are probably:

  • If you have internet data access on ADSL/NBN and your mobile phone can you use just the data on your phone and get rid of the other one? If you consider this option make sure your phone plan has sufficient capacity or the extra data costs if you go over your allowance aren’t excessive
  • Do the research and find the best option for you. If you are switching from ADSL to NBN it’s a good time to evaluate your options. We’d suggest using one of the better comparison web sites like whistleOut to do the comparisons.


If you are concerned about the financial impact of COVID-19 or you are facing the uncertainty of losing your job or having your income significantly reduced we can help. Sign up to MoneyBrilliant and we will give you access to a host of tools and features to help you organise your finances and make better decisions about your money. We’ll also give you tailored insights about the financial assistance available from governments and businesses to help you face the economic and financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

You can register for MoneyBrilliant online at or download our app from the App Store or the Play Store.


This summary has been prepared by MoneyBrilliant Pty Ltd (AFSL 492711, ACL 493068). The information in this summary is of a factual nature only. We are not suggesting or recommending that you take any particular course of action in relation to any financial product or service. It does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. If you need financial advice or taxation advice you should seek advice from a licensed financial adviser or tax agent. You may also be able to access additional information from the websites of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the relevant product providers.

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Peter is the CEO of MoneyBrilliant. He has over 20 years experience in banking, insurance and accounting. Peter has three sons, ranging in age from 16 to 3, is a sport and fitness fanatic and a volunteer firefighter. He is passionate about improving people's lives through making financial services more accessible.

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