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Blindsided by bills: 2.4 million Australians caught off guard

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A worrying number of Australians are suffering from "bill blindness", according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,114 respondents revealed 1 in 8 Australians (12%) admit they are caught off guard when a bill arrives.

The research found 7% are often surprised when a bill is due, while a worrying 5% admit they don't want to know when bills are due.

That's an estimated 2.4 million Aussies who have their head in the sand when it comes to their financial obligations.

Sarah Megginson, money expert at Finder, said paying attention to your household bills and knowing what is due — and when — is important for your peace of mind.

"These blind spots can add a lot of financial stress when an unexpected bill arrives.

"With the cost of living spiralling, households need to be managing their expenses carefully and the first step to do that is getting a clear picture of your overall budget."

Megginson said it's not as hard as you may think to take control of your finances.

"You can call up your lender, utility companies and any other supplier and request a due date change so your bills line up with your payday.

"You can also try to set up regular automatic payments to break down your big bills into smaller, more manageable fortnightly or monthly payments.

"I do this with my energy bill, council rates and even my car registration. For instance, instead of a one-off $500 energy bill, you could pay $167 a month."

Men (15%) are almost twice as likely than women (8%) to be caught by surprise by a bill.

Queenslanders are the most prepared with 64% always aware of when bills are due.

Megginson said bill blindness can lead to late fees and make long-term financial planning difficult.

"The new year is an ideal time to reassess your savings and spending levels and implement some better financial habits.

"You can track expenses in the Finder app and be alerted when you're paying too much," Megginson said.

Do you know when your bills are due?
Yes, I always know when they're coming55%
Yes, I have a vague idea33%
No, I'm often surprised7%
No, I don't want to know when they are due5%
Source: Finder survey of 1,114 Australians, November 2022

Looking to track your spending? The Finder app lets you see all your money in one place and lets you categorise your expenses so that you can effortlessly track them.

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