When was the last time you called your lender to ask for a better interest rate on the products you have with them? It pays to place a call every time the RBA drop their interest rates or every 6 months, whichever occurs sooner.
Don't just ask about interest rates, ask about annual fees, ATM fees, monthly account keeping fees, credit card fees and basically anything else where they charge YOU to keep YOUR money.
Once you've exhausted your banking options, move on to your utility providers.
Phone, internet, gas and electricity. Last but not least, place a call to your insurance providers. The market is saturated with options for all of the above so before making your phone calls, arm yourself with facts of what their competitors are currently offering.
A quick internet search will supply you with all the information you need. Be sure to be precise with what you want and be sure to know the exact product you are looking for a comparison with. Don't be afraid to push back a little to get a better deal. Let them know you have enquired with another company and you would be happy to make the switch but you wanted to first check to see if they could match it.
Pays to remember that the people you are speaking to aren't in control. Most of the time if you are calling for a better deal there is a good chance you will get it. I had people last week tell me they called Foxtel for a better rate. The person on the other end of the phone said it wasn't possible so they instead decided to cancel. Once they had told the operator they were cancelling they were offered 25% off their current bundle to stay! Go figure!
For such a long time I wanted to keep my head in the sand, I didn't want to talk to anyone for fear of them telling me worse news. After reading the barefoot investor I kicked myself for not being more proactive sooner. Making these phone calls might be awkward to think about but if collectively you can be saving hundreds of dollars a year it is totally worth the hassle! I guarantee that after your first phone call you'll be ready to tackle the next.
Let me know how you go!