As the new year rolls around, you may be making lots of resolutions.
If top of your list is getting a better handle on your finances, or to start getting ahead at a faster pace, it’s a great opportunity to assess your money habits, and think about adopting some new ones for 2021.
Here are nine small changes that could help inspire you to achieve a more prosperous 12 months.
Lots of people resolve to save the money they have left over at the end of each fortnight or month, but then discover there’s not a lot there when it rolls around. To ensure that you actually save the money you intend to, put it into your savings account (or on to your debt, if that’s your priority) as soon as it lands in your bank account. Then live on whatever is left over. Make meeting your goals as important as paying your power bill.
Automation is the key to a less-stress existence. Set up direct debits for all your regular bills so you don’t have to worry about being stung with unexpected penalty fees for forgotten payments, and you maximise any discounts available for paying on time. If there are bundle deals for paying ahead on services you use regularly, take advantage of those.
You might quickly save money by “rounding up” your purchases. Every time you buy something, take a note of what it would require rounding the total up to the nearest $5 or $10 and then transfer it to savings. Another option is to save the equivalent of every big purchase you make – that means unless you can afford to pay for it twice, you end up not buying it at all.
A day a week when you do not spend any money at all can make a significant impact on your overall budget. Bring your lunch from home, don’t pop to the shops and keep your wallet in your pocket the whole day. You might be surprised what this adds up to over a year.
Any extra you can pay off your mortgage will help a lot over the long run. While interest rates are low, extra payments can quickly chip away at the principal owed. You could save up to make an extra payment each quarter – some banks will let you pay up to 5 per cent off without penalty – or use a revolving credit facility.
Depending on your lender and your situation, some options may be better suited to your needs than others. Revolving credit facilities, for example, require a lot more management than just paying extra, so it’s important to know what each option entails. Get in touch – we can help you determine the most effective way to pay off your mortgage faster.
It’s natural to like luxuries, but do you need to buy top-of-the-range in every category? If you decide to “go budget” in one portion of your spending, it’ll free up cash to spend (or save?) more elsewhere.
Here’s hoping you come into a bit of extra, unexpected money during the year. Whether you get a pay rise, sell something and make a bit of quick cash or are gifted money by a family member, pop the extra money straight into your savings. You didn’t know you were going to have it, so you won’t miss it.
Always check whether you could get a better deal on any product or service – and don’t believe sales hype. The internet makes it very easy to compare prices, and you may find that any business you’re dealing with is happy to match a better price you find elsewhere.
Log into your online banking every couple of days to check what’s going on with your credit card. Many people don’t pay close attention, but you may be surprised at the duplicate payments and extra transactions that you find if you look closely. Keeping a good eye on this will also quickly alert you to any potentially fraudulent transactions.
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.