Why don't we all switch banks?

The Prime Minister is telling angry bank customers to "take their money and their business somewhere else". For your transaction and savings accounts, this is reasonably easy. If you have a mortgage, it's quite difficult.

I attempted to move our transaction accounts to the ING Direct "Orange Everyday" account. It has some very compelling features: no fees from any ATM when you withdraw $200 or more at a time, free EFTPOS cash out for any amount (and they even pay you $0.50 when you get over $200 out this way) and no monthly fees.

The thing that stopped it? Actually it was the Federal Governments anti-money laundering KYC process.  I'd signed up without using Holly's middle name. Her middle name is on her identification. Australia Post would not validate the document unless it also included her middle name.  Erm.

That said, the PM's suggestion has got me thinking I should try again.

Some other things I'll have to sort out:
  • Automatic payments, including my mortgage and to my high-interest savings account (UBank have been the winners there for some time).
  • I handle the money for our fruit and veg co-op, so everyone there will have to update the details they use.
  • I'll have to learn to use a new Internet banking service.

All up, these aren't really show stoppers.  Changing mortgages, however, would be a big deal. We don't need to, as we have an excellent mortgage provider, but for those who do, the government needs to get involved to make switching easier.

For a comparison of low-fee transaction accounts, Choice has a review. I'll give a spoiler for those who don't subscribe to Choice: ING Direct Orange Everyday and NAB Classic Banking are the "Best Buys".

Spreets: a bit shonky, a lot badly organised

The concept of the Groupon has been going on in Australia for a bit. Essentially it's a "deal a day" idea where, if enough people sign on to the day's deal, it happens. Suppliers can use it to build interest or get rid of stock. Bargain hunters can get good deals.

I've followed a few of them and yesterday bought up an offer on Spreets for some good quality meat.  The offer looked good at $99 for a fair selection of good quality meat.  Sneakily there was an additional $25 delivery charge, which is pretty shoddy (and likely illegal under the Trade Practices Act) behaviour. I spotted the sneaky fee and still thought it a good deal at $124.

When the coupon arrived this morning, I tried to check out only to find the seller's site didn't recognise the coupon code. To be fair to Spreets, they responded to my enquiry pretty quickly, and it seems the problem was sorted out.

Next problem comes when I can finally pay for the goods, they now want to add a payment fee to the delivery fee! There's three payment methods, all of which incur additional fees.  Now we're getting into the territory of completely out-of-order. This is like the airlines charging a "credit card fee" while providing no other mechanism to pay.  It's just not on.

I'll be getting my money back thanks Spreets.


I know the feeling. I bet this sign went up on a Tuesday.

This is a house around the corner on Illawarra Road that had an open house on Saturday, so we went and had a sticky. Turns out it's a house I lived in for two weeks about fifteen years ago.  As I was moving into the house, I noticed a copy uniform jacket hanging on a hook by the front door.  I asked my new flatmate whose that was and it turns out her boyfriend was a cop, and he stayed most nights.  That hadn't come up when I was deciding whether to move in!  I immediately started looking and was out two weeks later.

Sun, beer, friends

We had a wonderful afternoon down at the Concordia Club, drinking German beer, eating schnitzel and pork knuckle, hanging out in the sun.  A fantastic, lazy Sunday.

In the photos are Matt's pork knuckle, an "after" shot when Louis picked up and sucked on a lemon (I wish I'd had the video camera rolling), and Jameson and Maz with pilfered flowers.  Videos are material for the documentary that will be made when Louis is a world famous footballer, and Jameson grooving to the Schlager.

Child bike seats are problematic

Louis is in daycare and Holly starts back at work two days a week on Monday, so our attention has gone to a seat on our bikes for the boy to help with the daily commute.  It's a bit problematic.

To start with, Australians get royally ripped off. The Weeride, pictured below, costs US$60 in the US.  In Australia? $170. On current exchange rates the price should be around $61.


WeeRide is a front seat, so the kid sits in front of you but behind the handlebars. That means you can chat with them, and the bike is a bit more stable than a rear seat.  When I tried a friend's WeeRide, my knees hit the seat. Not ideal, though I'm told if it's properly installed that's less a problem.


So we've been looking at rear seats. Problem with those is that you can't generally use panniers with them, so how do you carry all your kid and work stuff?

One seat range that might solve this problem seems to be the seats from Hamax.  They have rack-mounted rear seats and a matching pannier that will fit underneath.  Alternatively they have the "Kiss" seat, which hands from its own frame-mounted carrier and looks like it might have space for a pannier!


Anyone got any experience with these seats?  Ideas? Opinions?