Did you make a new year promise to improve your finances in 2013, but haven’t quite got around to putting things into action just yet? Fear not, there’s still plenty of time (afterall Chinese New Year has only just begun). Here are some of our top tips for making your money go further in 2013:
Make 2013 a year for improving your financial know-how. You will have more success at improving your financial situation if you’re better informed of your options. Take advantage of free online tools and resources from sites like our very own Mozo.com.au, the Govt’s MoneySmart website or do an online investing course at the ASX or get a financial makeover by attending a life planning workshop or webinar with the team from 10Thousand Girl.
2. Set clear money goals.
Get crystal clear about what you want and why? Without realistic and clear money goals (both short-term and long-term) it will be hard to make smart financial decisions this or any year.
3. Pay off debt.
There is absolutely no reason why you should be paying sky high interest rates on your credit card. If you spent up over the Christmas period, now is the time to nail that debt by taking up a low interest balance transfer offer. For the latest deals, compare credit cards.
4. Create a spending plan.
Budgets are so 2012. This year, look at your budget as a spending plan. By knowing where you money is coming and going you will be able spend your money on the things your want and avoid paying for things like bank or late fees. For help, visit our budget calculator.
5. Check the mortgage.
A home loan is one of our biggest financial commitments but its definitely not a set and forget task. Banks are competing to get your business right now and if you’re paying more than 6% you’re paying too much. Talk to one of our home loan negotiators to see how much you’ll save by switching.
6. Minimise Tax.
Time to start thinking about tax implications of investments or making any purchases that will help drive down your taxable income.
7. Pay yourself first.
Just as tax comes out of your pay packet before you see it, so should your savings. Open a high interest online savings account and set up an automatic withdrawal every payday. Just $25 a week is an extra $1300 a year. If this doesn’t work, try one of our unconventional but very cool savings strategies.
8. Cut back on your vices.
The flat white on the way to work each day will actually cost you over a $1000 in a year. Just by cutting back on a coffee or a take-out lunch once or twice every week, you could have more money for holidays or to spend at the Winter sales.
9. Start anti-season shopping.
You can save stacks of cash by shopping out of season or in off peak times. Many companies offer discounts during off-peak so if you need to install a new heater get it done now while tradies are chasing work. Same goes with shopping. Buy next years Christmas cards or start your Christmas savings plan now so that by the time the silly season rolls around again you won’t need to go into debt to pay for all that fun.
10. Plan ahead.
You’ll get the biggest discounts the further you plan in advance, especially for things like flights and accommodation. Pick out a few key holiday destinations and keep an eye out for when they go on sale.
11. Embrace your inner haggler.
As we blogged about last year, you can get discounts on everything from home loans to homewares simply but muttering the following seven magic words “Is that the best you can do?”
12. Grocery pool with friends.
We’ve all heard of car pooling to save money on petrol and parking costs, why not grocery pool with your friends so that you can save on your grocery costs? Stores like Costco and Aldi make bulk buying on toothbrushes a good idea. But even Coles and Woolworths have started to introduce the “Buy 2 get a 3rd free” bulk buy tactic. Who has the space to store 3 boxes of Rice Bubbles? Talk to some close friends, work out common shopping items and then split the cost.
13. Factor in some fun money.
Make your life too restrictive and its likely that you’ll either quit part way through the year or you’ll go on a spending binge and end up back where you started. Remember, the goal is be more savvy about your finances so that you can spend more on the things you want rather than spending it on fees, bills or products you don’t need.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS? Share them by writing a comment below.
MORE in this month’s Money Zone
Is now the time to refinance your home loan? Find out with our infographic guide. Should I dump my lender? >>>
Overseas merchants have a new trick at the till and it’s costing you money. Find out more >>>
Fixed home loan rates are at their lowest levels in 20 years and the banks are fighting for your business. Is it time to fix your home loan? >>>