Money

7 things you shouldn't take at face value

Are you being cheated on a daily basis?

By BTYB REST Industry Super
While it's OK to take some things in life at face value (Ryan Gosling included), you can really benefit from a bit of research behind others.
We’re not talking home loans or high finance, but rather those little parts of everyday life: your takeaway smoothie, your Facebook feed, your gym shoes.
Without trying to sound too cynical, you're probably being cheated in all those areas.
A little investigation might not only save you in the money department, but it could help your health and general wellbeing, too. So although ignorance can be bliss, a rude awakening can also have its charm.
Here’s our list of things you shouldn’t be taking at face value:

Your gym shoes

We can thank the activewear trend for the surge in snazzy sneakers we’ve seen in shops — that and for making life a whole lot comfier. But as cool as we may feel in our limited edition kicks, they might be doing us more harm than good. While some sneakers can offer you the correct support your feet need, others are simply there to look pretty. Make sure you do your research and work out the best pair for you.

Social media

We love a silly selfie as much as anyone, but it’s important to remind ourselves of the reality behind it all. Comparing our own lives with what we see on social media is not only negative, it’s pointless. Try and limit your daily time on social media streams and remember that it’s a fabrication of reality. In short, don't take Facebook at face value.

Your employer’s choice of super fund

There’s a lot to think about when starting a new job: your first day outfit, the commute, how the kids will fare in daycare, your capability to remember an entire office of names — superannuation often doesn’t make the cut. But, while it’s easy to simply tick a box and let your boss choose your super, you could be losing out in the long term.
Before jumping in, make sure it’s the right superannuation for you. How? Start by finding out what type of super fund it is (is it self-managed, accumulative or defined-benefit?) and whether it suits your needs, then look into its insurance policy and fees. Not all superannuation funds are created equally, so one that matches your employer's needs may not match yours. And remember, multiple super accounts mean multiple fees so don't just tick the box on your new employee form thinking it'll be cheaper and easier to accept your boss’ choice of fund. If you do find yourself with multiple accounts, you can easily consolidate yours online at REST Industry Super.

Price tags

Anyone who's shopped at Target knows the thrill of a discounted-when-scanned item, but it's not just mid-price department stores that have bargaining power up their sleeves. Next time you go shopping don’t be afraid to ask the staff if that's the best price they can do. Often stores give their staff room to move on pricing (within reason) so you might be able to save yourself some money just by asking the question. Also, most stores won’t do a physical mark-down on products until you’re at the register, so next time think twice before you put back a dress you could actually afford!

Your moisturiser

If there’s one thing you shouldn’t take at face value, it’s what you put on your face. However, due to a lack of skincare-specific regulations surrounding the use of terms such as “natural” and “organic”, it can be tricky to know if what you're buying is as pure as what it says it is. If you’ve got sensitive skin, or are trying to stay away from parabens and sulfates, opt for “certified organic” skincare lines. These have been given the approval of a governing body, such as Australian Certified Organic or ECOCERT, and carry a logo to say that 95 per cent or more of the ingredients used to create the product are of natural origin.

Your phone bill

If you don’t know how in the world you’ve used all of your phone data in ten days, then ask. There’s nothing wrong with calling your phone company and asking for the specifics of your bill. More often than not, a little discussion can lead you to a discounted bill or better-suited plan.

Your takeaway smoothie

While you may feel a little Gwyneth ‘Goop’ Paltrow sipping on your takeaway morning smoothie, you could be consuming more kilojoules than a Big Mac. A survey by government-funded initiative LiveLighter found that many beverages advertised with phrases such as “fat-free” or “dairy-free” contained more sugar than the average adult needs in an entire day. The alarming study found that regular consumption of store-bought smoothies could lead to weight gain and increase risk of type 2 diabetes. The solution? Ask staff about the ingredients in your smoothie, or, make your own at home! You’ll know exactly what’s in there and save yourself a pretty penny, too.
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