2020 has been a year like no other! With the new year upon us, now is the perfect time to consider your financial goals for the next 12 months, and the best place to start is with a good money management plan. We’ll share some great tips in this article.
But first, complete this quiz to see how good your saving skills are. It’s important you don’t think about the answers too long, select the first one that comes to your mind. Ready? Here we go.
Please note that this test is not very scientific and is intended for fun, but it should give you an insight into how you feel about money and your behaviour towards handling your finances.
Let’s see how you did:
If you answered mostly A’s
Money, for you, is for spending and leading an enjoyable life. You have a great life – until your overspending catches up. If you’re in the spender category, know that you’re far from alone but it’s not too late to make some changes. As much as you may loathe the idea of a budget, there is no doubt that drawing one up is the best place to start. Read further for our top ways to cut your expenses and increase your savings.
If you answered mostly B’s
You live and breathe the ‘B’ word. Budgeting is one of the most important financial habits you can adopt, so you are off to a great start! Read further to amp up your money saving skills.
Here are some top ways to cut your expenses and increase your savings
Is the key to saving a home deposit as simple as giving up smashed avo toast for breakfast? Well not quite, but spending less does make a difference.
On top of a budget, a savings plan and strategies such as a high-interest savings account, an effective way to save is to reduce or eliminate expenses.
Start by understanding what you spend money on
It can be easy to lose track of how you’re spending money, especially due to cashless payments and credit cards.
Many online banking systems include tools to categorise debits and make a budget – take advantage of them. Or download an app that helps you track your personal expenses on the go, like ASIC’s TrackMySPEND.
Find savings in the essentials
Some costs can’t be avoided – but many everyday expenses can be reduced. For example, you could:
- Move in with your parents/relatives, or move into a cheaper rental or share house (short-term discomfort can pay off in the long term).
- Implement tactics like meal planning, making grocery lists and buying in bulk to save money on food. Set aside a budget for eating out/take-away and stick to it.
- Shop around to reduce your regular bills – you may get better value if you switch, or tell current providers you intend to switch. Seek discounts for taking out multiple policies with one insurer.
- Use the car less: take public transport; carpool with colleagues; or try walking or riding.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly it all adds up to savings.
Make sure you’re paying off debts or credit cards completely each month or as much as possible, to avoid the added expense of paying interest.
Reduce common overspending
If you spend excessively on things like buying clothes, going out or expensive hobbies, it may be unrealistic to cut the expense entirely. Set a weekly or monthly limit and reduce that limit over time.
A survey of more than 1000 Australians showed that 73 per cent have a problem with overspending. In particular, people tend to go overboard when Christmas rolls around.
To reduce gift expenses, be like Santa: make a list (and a budget). Buy only planned items within your allocated budget – then stop! Ask your family for support; it’s easier to put a cap on gift values if everyone else does too.
Another common way Aussies overspend is on holidays. CommBank research has shown that a third of holidaymakers spent more on their trip than planned. Do your research and set a daily budget.
Costs that could be eliminated
Look for opportunities to eliminate costs. Cancel unused services. Update your internet or mobile plans if you’re always paying for excess data.
Ask yourself: are you really using that gym membership? Are you getting value from your subscriptions? Remember, every wasted dollar is money you could be spending on your own home.
Finally, review and revise.
Our lives are constantly changing and with this, so do our financial needs. To make the most of your budget it is important to schedule regular reviews. Assess your spending habits and make adjustments where necessary. By reviewing your spending habits, you may find areas where you are not sticking to the budget and areas where you can easily reduce spending. It may be something small like working out at home instead of heading to the gym, or cooking at home instead of ordering take-away. These small changes will make a big difference over a 12-month period and will set you well on your way to achieving your financial goals.