When it comes to simplifying your life, your finances are probably the last thing on your mind. Sure you can save the extra $5 by dismissing your daily cup of coffee. Or you could even use public transport to get to work, saving money on fuel and parking. But without a structured plan to help you keep an eye on your finances, it can become very easy to slip back into old habits. That’s why we have put together an easy, five (5) step financial saving plan to make things a little bit clearer from the get-go…
Spend Smart: Budget
Having a budget can help clarify where you spend your money, and where you can save it too. Sitting down with your financial advisor to set up a budget is a great place to start. List all of your weekly expenses (i.e. repayments, food, fuel, rent, gym membership), against your weekly income to obtain an idea of how much you could potentially save. Because once you know where all your money is going, you can quickly work out where you are overspending and where you can save.
Setting up automatic savings and payments makes worrying about budgeting for bills a lot less stressful. If you are technologically savvy, consider talking to your bank about setting up different sub-accounts (i.e. for savings, bills, projects or loans), and have automated deductions set up concurrently. Just make sure you avoid getting charged extra fees for having multiple accounts. The day after your wage/salary is deposited into your account, schedule payments to be made to your savings/expense goals accordingly.
For example, if you are paid $1,000 each week into your bank account. Automate your account to deposit $400 towards rent, $100 towards your phone bill, $100, towards your car repayments, $100 toward your holiday to Europe, and keep the remaining $300 for week-to-week expenses like food, fuel, and entertainment. This way, you know that you only have $300 each week as ‘fun money’ after you’ve covered the essentials.
Consolidate Your Super
Moving between jobs can be a stressful time, and keeping track of your Super accounts in the process is probably the least of your worries. But it is worth taking the time to keep track of your hard earned Super, to see it build in ONE effective Super account. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have free tools available to help track down any super you may have lost of forgotten over the years. You can nominate which Super account you would like all of your funds deposited into (preferably an account with good interest rates), and the ATO will do all the hard work to ensure your funds are returned.
Consolidate Your Passwords
We all do it from time to time, but forgetting the passwords to your finances can present a real burden. It can be helpful to have a password manager installed to keep track of your details (i.e. Apple’s Keychain). But even keeping a simple little black book with all of your important information on hand will provide you with peace of mind at login time.
NOTE: Generally speaking, passwords for your private and sensitive accounts should always be differed somewhat (include upper and lower case characters, symbols, and numbers), ensuring your password is strong and unbreakable. If you do decide to keep a diary or journal of your important information, keep it out of sight at home, again as a security measure. Those details are precious!
Honour The Important Things
At the end of the day, it’s the little things that matter most. Sure, you could drive across town to save four cents on fuel or you could avoid that aforementioned cup of coffee each morning on your way to work. But sometimes going excessively out of the way, or forgetting simple luxuries each day, can make life a little unenjoyable. These tips may simplify your finances, but do not pursue them at the expense of simplifying your day-to-day life.
Looking for more ways to save money? We are frequently updating our blog with some of the best tips and tricks to help improve your finances. Have specific questions that you'd like answered? Contact us today to arrange a consultation with one of our financial advisors. We'll be glad to assist.