If you’re like three out of four Australians, you may have started the year without a proper budget.i
Research indicates that over a third of us believe budgeting is too much effort and almost one in five Aussies say budgeting takes too much time.i
Here are some easy wins to keep you on the right track for 2019
1. Work out your goals
If you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, you’ll never get anywhere. And different goals need different strategies…saving for a new car is very different from building up your retirement income.
Take a few minutes to write down your goals for this year and beyond.
If your goal is to pay for this year’s big trip, you’ll need to start making some savings to free up some cash. If your goal is to finance your upcoming wedding, you’ll need to think about putting some money away in a fairly low-risk investment option.
If your goal is to buy a house, you’ll need to work out where you can afford to live and how you’re going to build up a deposit.
And if your goal is to put your kids through school, you’ll need to start thinking about a long-term investment plan.
2. Go paperless
You might be the kind of person who enjoys paperwork. But for many of us the age of electronic commerce has been a game changer. Unless you want to, there’s no reason to be receiving any bills or statements by snail mail.
You don’t have to sort it all out today. Just make a point of every time a bill comes in, follow the simple instructions to go paperless—most suppliers offer an electronic option these days. In a few months the postie will only be stopping at your door with exciting purchases from Amazon.
3. Start a budget
We’re all different. Some of us work best off a screen, some of us prefer old fashioned pen and paper.
If an Excel spreadsheet sounds too hard, there are a number of apps that can take the hard work out of paying, saving and spending.
4. Shop around for better deals
You wouldn’t willingly pay more for an item of clothing when the store down the road is selling it for less. So when it comes to your home loan, your utility bills or your credit card why shouldn’t the same rule apply?
Talk to your providers about whether you’re getting the best deal for your particular circumstances. And if not, be prepared to take your business elsewhere.
5. Make a will
It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re at, you don’t want complications for your loved ones in the event anything happens to you. If your needs are fairly simple, you might want to consider setting up a will online. If your needs are a bit more complicated, your financial adviser, a solicitor or a public trustee can help.
And remember, if you experience major life changes like embarking on a new relationship, starting a family or splitting up with your partner, you need to make sure that your will is up-to-date.
6. Get your tax sorted
If you’re the kind of person who’s already got their receipts filed in date and alphabetical order, you can skip this bit.
But if you’re like many of us, you tend to approach tax time with trepidation. Your receipts are all over the place, you’ve forgotten the work HR password to retrieve your payslip and you still haven’t got around to looking into the Medicare levy surcharge.
It’s time to get back to basics. Don’t worry about how disorganised you’ve been in the past, focus instead on getting your affairs in order for the future.Create a simple spreadsheet for your tax receipts to make your next tax return much easier.
You’ll be surprised at what difference a few really basic steps can make to your personal finances. A phone call here, an online form there…and before you know it, you’ll be well on the way to getting your money stuff together this year and beyond.
If you need help getting your money stuff together, give us a call.
© AMP Life Limited.
First published January 2019