Are you always telling yourself you will get on top of your finances soon but never seem to get around to it? Rebecca James from ME Bank has these tips to help you get on track sooner.
Set a budget with a budget-tracking app
Set short, medium and long-term goals and then come up with an actionable, realistic plan for achieving them with the help of a finance-tracking app or online budgeting tool. These help you see the big picture and stay in the loop with reminders that makes budgeting a positive lifestyle habit.
Make it automatic
Set a specific percentage of your salary to be automatically deposited into a high interest online savings account so you’re less inclined to touch it. It’s a foolproof way to make sure your savings stay on track and continue to build over the year.
Practice delayed gratification
On one side, you’ve got YOLO (you only live once) and FOMO (fear of missing out) encouraging you to spend now. But on the other side, you’ve got long-term savings plans. If you buy luxuries now, how much longer will it take to achieve long-term savings? Balance long-term savings with little rewards to avoid total austerity.
Change your perception
When saving and focusing on ‘going without’, it can seem like all your friends or work colleagues are buying a new car or flying off to Europe. Just because they appear more affluent doesn’t mean they are – they could have no savings for all you know. Focus on your own saving goals.
Don’t be a push over
Make like the Sherlock Holmes of your bank account and regularly scour for funny-looking charges. For instance, keep an eye on those ‘free-trial memberships’ that you sign up for and forget about; if the service has your credit card information and you haven’t cancelled, you can be sure that they’ll keep on charging you.
Pay your bills on time and save
Some companies offer discounts if you pay your bills off on time or in large annual chunks. A good way to keep on top of this is to automate bills to be paid off from your credit card or keep a calendar of due dates.
Socialise different social strategies
Arrange potluck dinners, where each guest brings along a dish of food. Alternatively, check what’s happening around town by investigating your local newspaper, community website, or coffee shop boards for free or cheap events, from farmers’ markets to concerts in the park.
Look after yourself
Getting a decent amount of sleep, regular exercise and healthy food can help prevent expensive medical bills and impulse decisions. Exercise can also save on transportation costs by walking or cycling to work. There are also plenty of fitness classes you can stream online or community running groups to keep you motivated.
Shop your closet
Unearth forgotten items hiding in your closet before buying a whole new wardrobe. Avoid ‘dry clean only’ labels or items that need hand washing that cost you a fortunate to maintain. Also, take care of the clothes you do have: adding an extra load of whites and learning to sew a button and mend a hem will help promote clothing longevity.
Get clued up
Improving your financial knowledge is critical to healthy savings habits. There are a tonne of tools out there to help improve your financial decision-making, like ME Bank’s Building Financial Confidence online financial education program.
Drive a better deal on fuel
One option to save on fuel bills is by getting to know the days when fuel is likely to be cheaper. According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) petrol prices move in regular cycles. Understanding price cycles can help you decide the cheapest and most expensive days to fill up. For details of price patterns in your area, visit the consumer section of the ACCC website and follow the links to ‘petrol price cycles’
Switch to save on utilities
A key step to trim the cost of utilities is ensuring your current provider is competitive. A number of comparison sites are available that can help you identify low cost providers in your area. Some will help you make the switch to a new provider free of charge.
Bag a bargain on groceries
Enjoying savings on groceries is possible if you stick to a few ground rules. Always shop with a list – it prevents impulse buying, which can be a real budget breaker. Avoid stocking up on pre-prepared foods, you’ll save a bundle by opting for homemade. And where possible, hit the supermarkets towards the end of the day when fresh produce like bread, fruit and meat can be heavily discounted.
To learn more, contact ME Bank call 13 15 63 or visit mebank.com.au.