We often overestimate what we can achieve in a short period of time, but dramatically underestimate what we can do in a longer one. And if you need to make changes to your money life, it might not be as drawn-out a process as you expect.
Here’s what you could realistically expect to change about your personal finances, in the next little while.
Make a conscious effort not to buy more than what you set out for when you go to the shops. This can be done by taking a mindful approach to your money – only spend what you need to and pay attention to each purchase. Plus, make sure you do your research rather than just take the quickest options.
Trackback through your bank statements to help you identify your weak points. Are you spending too much on lunches? Drinks after work? Are you paying for subscriptions you don’t use?
Log on to your KiwiSaver provider’s website and check your settings. Are you in a fund that’s appropriate for your circumstances? Are you contributing enough to get to your goals? At a more basic level, what’s your current balance?
If you haven’t recently, sit down with your partner and have a chat about money. Talk about any goals that you have and ask what’s important to them. See if you can work out between you whether you have any deep-seated fears or feelings about money that might get in the way of your success. Once you’ve identified those, it can be easier to tackle them.
How much can you afford to save each payday? Start a process of “paying yourself first” to put the money into your savings account as soon as you receive it. Making saving just another bill to pay will mean you’re much more likely to hit your goals.
Automate your finances – set up direct debits for all your bills so you never miss a due date, and make your savings automatic. It can be a convenient way to streamline your budget.
Do you know what the interest rate you’re paying on your mortgage is? How long you have left on your fixed-rate term? Work out whether you could save money by either keeping your payments the same when your term rolls off, or, if you can secure a lower rate, increasing your repayment, or both.
If you can put aside an amount equal to three months’ income, you’ll have a buffer that will be invaluable if you hit trouble – like a car needing repairs or being out of work for a while. Having an emergency fund in place can also help you reduce the cost of insurance, as you should you be able to select a higher excess.
A year is enough time to increase what you earn, either by making a case for a pay rise at work, setting up a secondary income stream, or even boosting the profitability of your own business. And of course, if you’re asking for a pay rise, make the case clearly with evidence showing why you’re deserving of more.
If you’re carrying credit card debt, paying it off is a priority. You may find you’re able to transfer it to a zero-interest offer with another bank which will enable you to pay it down more quickly.
If you’d like to talk about your financial goals, please get in touch today. We’d love to help you get on the right track.
Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.