It’s finally here – the new financial year. No doubt the last one probably flew past too quickly, and half the things you wanted to achieve just didn’t eventuate. Too often this is the case for many Australians, especially when it comes to sorting out finances. So, to ensure this new financial year is the year you truly do get on top of bills, savings and debt, here are six tips that will get you greater financial control.
Teach yourself to love your budget.
The hardest thing about setting a budget is sticking to it for the rest of the year. It takes discipline and commitment – but once the real benefits of having a budget start to materialise – many people start to love being budget conscious. If you tell yourself you’re a budget person, and start to believe it, managing money becomes so much easier.
When a bill arrives in the mail, don’t throw it in a drawer, or stick it on the fridge and do nothing about it. Bills don’t go away; in fact if they are ignored for too long they can cause bigger issues. Plus there are often extra charges for missed bill payments – and this hits the back pocket even harder. So, don’t stare endlessly at bills wondering how you’re going to pay them off. Create a spreadsheet that tracks each monthly bill and put money aside to cover the costs so they can be paid the second they land in the mail.
Stop putting everything on plastic.
In fact, try using cash instead. The theory goes that withdrawing weekly spending money from an ATM to use when shopping, eating out or socialising with friends will help you stick to a weekly budget. And it works. If you’re really feeling up for it – try leaving your plastic cards at home altogether. That way when the money runs out, it actually runs out.
Find a free financial planning tool.
There are a range of free financial tools available online and they can really help. Whether it’s a template in Excel, or a smartphone app – find one that best suits you. Financial planners map out income, expenses, savings goals and disposable income and then help you to spend less than you earn – something many people struggle with.
Make the most of auto payments and direct debits.
Technology can really help keep on top of bills and savings. Talk to your utility providers about setting up direct debits so a bill is never missed. Then create a savings account and have regular payments deposited into it. Even if it’s $25 dollars a week – it will all add up over time.
Find a finance buddy.
It’s easier to do things when there’s someone else doing it as well. So, find a buddy to bring along on the journey. Meet with them once a month to talk about how you’re going and share tips. Maybe even get a little competitive - if that’s what it takes to help you get in better financial shape.