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LETTERS: Ways you can cut the cost of living by being a bit smarter

YOU can cut your personal cost of living by being smarter and getting far more than any government can deliver to you.

I sometimes laugh at supermarket customers who when asked "do you have an Everyday Rewards card (Woolworths) or Flybuys (Coles)" and they say no. These silly people don't realise that they are actually paying for the rewards that smart people, people like you and me, are getting by taking the simple step of joining the program.

For example, all seniors are entitled to a five per cent discount across the board at Woolworths PLUS the rewards they get on their Everyday Rewards card. How? Go to the NSW Seniors website and click the Woolies link. Once there choose a gift card amount up from $50 to $500 and it costs $47.50 to $475. You can also get reward points on your purchase. At the counter, show your card details. Simple. Even pensioners would spend this much a month I reckon and that's a saving of $300 a year upfront. Older people who aren't tech savvy can get their grandchildren from Year 1 up to do it for them. There are even discounts for seniors for online delivery.

With Flybuys you get rewards much quicker, plus if you use a Coles-branded card you also get extra points plus targeted specials every week. Things like free products for new lines that are introduced, five per cent off fruit and vegetables, half price goods, five per cent discount on gift cards and more from time to time. Personally, I transfer my points to Virgin Rewards and recently had my first "escape" from COVID lockdowns with return business class seats to Melbourne for a weekend at the Flemington racing carnival. The passenger next to me was a pensioner in his 80s who had saved up his points for two years to get a business class flight to Perth where he was moving to be with relatives. I also have Masterchef knives, saucepans and now Kitchen Aid oven trays for zero cost. I'm donating any extras I don't need to Vinnies.

Many people refuse to be in the program for fears about privacy, well believe me we all lost our privacy years ago and COVID has taken us way past the point of being anonymous. By the way, there are plenty more discount programs out there, even our local pharmacist has, and it often includes cheaper prescriptions and 10 per cent off everyday personal items.

We halved our electricity costs when we put in solar panels using government subsidies, helps save the planet, and then we halved them again when we switched energy providers. So plenty of things you can do to cut your costs.

We also discovered that suburban "servos" with no particular brand affiliations are generally 20c cheaper than mainstream branded petrol providers.

I hope that helps our fellow readers, as whichever government we get in is likely to be a lame duck.

Garry Robinson, Mannering Park

Let's look at the Libs' record

WITH truth the first casualty in this election campaign, it's good to go back to first sources, not populist folklore about economic credentials.

The Reserve Bank's site makes this observation about the Howard as Treasurer years: "The 1982 wages explosion - wages rose 16 per cent across the country - resulted in stagflation; unemployment touched double-digits and inflation peaked at 12.5 per cent. Official interest rates peaked at 21 per cent".

Management of the economy was seen to be so poor that the Hawke Labor government was elected with a significant majority in 1983, heralding a long period of prosperity and fiscal and monetary reform.

John Beach, Cooks Hill

We have a say, but are we heard?

I WOULD like to add the final connection to the circle of information that has been submitted by concerned residents regarding the issues relating to how their rates and other monetary aid is spent by the City of Newcastle.

David Clark , Newcastle council's director governance and chief financial officer, has given a detailed account of how, why and where significant money should be spent, ("Economic pressures at play", Letters, 7/5).

I find it insulting to my intelligence for him to suggest "placing our draft budget on public exhibition gives the community a chance to have their say".

About 25 years ago when similar proposals were first floated for community participation in public amenity, we were very excited.

Soon after, I attended a Landcare excursion and it very quickly became clear to me (like many public/government offers ) that suggesting "the public have their say," is a sweetener to coax the community (fodder) into participating in what has turned out to be a "poisoned chalice".

Christine Everingham, myself and many other contributors to the Newcastle Herald letters, have over the years "had their say" about the truncation of the train line, the introduction of the ineffectual red tram and the ludicrous Supercars event, all to no avail.

The current behaviour of leading federal politicians during the election campaign is a perfect example of raising one's hopes only to be disappointed.

Pat Garnet, Wickham

Nuclear is the only answer

WHILE political parties and others seeking personal agendas have been electioneering with big plans for the next decade, what's amazing is that everyone is evading the crucial decision, as to what power source will be available after Eraring, Liddell and Bayswater power stations are decommissioned during the next few years.

AGL is removing their responsibility to provide a reliable power supply by dividing their company in half; one half to be dismantled with the closing of power stations, the other half selling government subsidised renewable energy that comes with no responsibility, as no one can guarantee that the wind will blow or the sun will shine.

Is it only me who shows concern or are too many hiding behind climate change, afraid to face reality before it destroys our economy? In my opinion, nuclear power stations are the only answer.

France is gearing up to be a nuclear energy exporter to Britain and the rest of Europe.

I realise there would be a lot of opposition because nuclear power will remove the need, thus the profit made from solar farms, wind farms and hydro pump systems, even the huge industrial storage batteries that cost a fortune, will no longer be needed. If time to think is needed, think about the time already wasted and the financial cost already paid.

Carl Stevenson, Dora Creek

Swish on fight against stadium

CONGRATULATIONS to Marcia and Mark Spitzkowsky and their neighbours for their successful effort in pointing out to the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel the folly of the Hillsborough site for a new basketball stadium for the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie districts.

Glendale already has extensive sporting facilities, there is plenty of space, and it has long been identified as a future transport hub, catering for both train and vehicle services. It is a pity that the Hillsborough residents had to endure such an exercise when the problems were so obvious.

Richard Devon, Fishing Point


AS the grandfather of eight young adult grandchildren, who are all university graduates or will be in the near future, I must agree with the headline "Major parties 'failing' young people on housing and climate", (Herald, 10/5). Will they ever be able to purchase a house and what type of world shall we leave them to live in years to come? They need greater government recognition.

Eric Roach, Croudace Bay

NRMA dribble or drivel, Bruce Cook (Short Takes, 9/5)?

Keith Parsons, Newcastle

I BELIEVE there could be money lying at the bottom of ash dams in all those minerals that they threw away because they couldn't make any from them at the time.

Dave Wilson, Bar Beach

WHOEVER thought they could control the ether or the "stairway to heaven". Seems that many have tried and failed ... a signpost of the council troops jumping in. But into what? I realise that big business is bigger than your thumb, especially when it comes from Sydney. Tell me who lives in this region and who do you try your hardest to work for?

Vic Davies, Tighes Hill

DON Fraser, you really must tell us what it is like to be part of the small group of loonies who ignore climate change science? You must be pretty lonely until the climate science deniers annual meeting held in an old-style phone box.

Mike Sargent, Cootamundra

IN regard to comments on whether or not the ABC is biased to the left, it must be pointed out that the Broadcasting Legislation Amendment Act of 2017 requires the ABC to ensure that the gathering and presentation of news and information is fair, balanced, accurate and impartial. As all taxpayers fund the ABC, regardless of their political leanings, we all have a right to expect the ABC to abide by its charter. Other press agencies do not have the same obligation and therein lies the difference between them and the ABC.

John Cooper, Charlestown

REMEMBER that government enterprise LANDCOM, that developed land for low income and first- home buyers? Maybe that could be resurrected and instead of receiving the first home buyers' grant, that could serve as the deposit on a block of land. Homes could be restricted to weatherboard 10-square, three-bedders that are affordable. Provision for additions and extensions late on down the years may occur as required. Ask mum and dad, who probably got their start this very way and have long owned their home. Remember, with the large two-storey, four-bedroom double garage homes constructed today, come years of mortgage pain. Nice to own, but maybe a little further down the track as your circumstances and family grows.

Rob Bernasconi, Rankin Park


Email letters@newcastleherald.com.au or send a text message to 0427 154 176 (include name and suburb). Letters should be fewer than 200 words. Short Takes should be fewer than 50 words. Correspondence may be edited in any form.

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