The start of a new year is seen as a time to make future goals and think about what you want to achieve. While saving money is usually somewhere at the top of the list, now is the perfect time to work out how you will save more and what actions you can take to put yourself in a better financial position for the year ahead.
Set Clear Goals
Rather than just aim to ‘save more money’, actually think about and define your financial goals. Are you looking to build up your savings in general? Are you saving for something specific like a house deposit or a holiday? Are you hoping to clear all your debt? Are you looking to invest? Are you planning to retire? Or are you building up your emergency fund?
Setting clear goals will give you direction and once you know what you’re saving for, you can work out how much you need to save each week or month to make that goal achievable.
Budgeting and Tracking Expenses
When you hear the word budget, two words you might think of are ‘spreadsheets’ and ‘restrictive’. While there are various type of budgeting styles, you need to follow a method you know you can put into practice and stick with.
There are a number of apps and tools you can use to help track your expenses effortlessly, or you might choose to adopt certain budgeting method such as the 50/30/20 rule which works by breaking your income into 50% for essential needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings, or the ‘Bucketing’ method which splits your income into sub accounts, or 'buckets' each labeled with a different purpose such as bills, entertainment, dining out or holiday.
Reflect on the Past Year
Now that you have started your budget, is there room for improvement? When looking back on the past 12 months, consider what your income was, your expenses, your debts (credit cards and personal loans) and how much you managed to save. Knowing where your money went is key to better decision-making moving forward.
A few quick and easy ways to cut expenses includes:
- Cancelling subscriptions you don’t frequently use (think streaming services, paid apps and club memberships)
- Negotiate rates or cut services down to only what you need (think insurance, utility bills, internet and phone)
- Grocery shop online to avoid impulse purchases
- Buy what’s on special and opt for generic ‘home’ brands
If you have outstanding debts, prioritise paying them off. Start with high-interest debts first while making minimum payments on others.
Another effective option is to combine your debts into one loan (called debt consolidation). This is commonly done by taking out a new personal loan and using the funds to pay off your other debts.
Consolidating your debts provides a number of benefits with the most obvious one being the peace of mind in only having one loan repayment to manage. When you have three or four different debts, all at various amounts, repayment dates and interest rates, it can easily become overwhelming and stressful trying to keep organised and not fall behind in repayments.
Another benefit is being able to pay off high interest debt. If the interest rate on the new personal loan is lower than the interest rate of your existing debts, you can easily save money and get ahead on your debt.
Take advantage of Auswide Bank’s Low Rate Credit Card 0% Balance Transfer for 12 months*.
A balance transfer is the process of moving the amount owed on one or more of your credit cards to a different credit card. By moving the amount owing to a credit card with a 0% Balance Transfer offer, it means you won’t have to pay any interest on your transferred credit card debt for the length of the advertised offer.
Seek Professional Advice
If you're facing complex financial decisions or aiming for more sophisticated savings goals, consider consulting a financial advisor or planner who can provide expert advice tailored to your specific situation.
To ensure our customers have access to appropriate financial advice we have formed a relationship with Alliance Wealth. Learn more here.
Remember, reassessing your finances isn’t a one-time task, it’s an ongoing process that requires regular check-ins and adjustments as your situation changes. Each time you reach a new year, your goals change, or you receive a pay rise, take the time to look over your budget and make adjustments so you may continue to reach your goals.
Auswide Bank Ltd ABN 40 087 652 060, AFSL No. 239686, Australian credit licence 239686 is the credit issuer. Credit criteria, fees & charges and terms and conditions apply. This information provides general advice only. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your personal objectives, needs or circumstances.
*The Balance Transfer offer can be withdrawn at anytime without notice. Balance transfers from other Auswide Bank credit cards or loans may not be accepted. Upon expiry of a Balance Transfer offer, any unpaid balance of the Balance Transfer reverts backs to the Purchase Rate.
If you require personal financial advice about your situation, we can refer you to Alliance Wealth Pty Ltd AFSL 449221 ABN 93 161 647 007 ('Alliance Wealth') for financial advice. For full details of our relationship with Alliance Wealth, please visit www.auswidebank.com.au/financialadvice