August 2017 finance checklist

For many of us, August can mean different things. It might remind you that we’ve already passed the halfway mark for the year or if you’re like me, it means you can start your countdown for the last month of winter! But no matter how much or little time you have, getting up to date with your finances is something you’ll never regret doing. So if you’d like to make August your ‘money month’, here are seven things you might want to add to your finance checklist.

Prepare for a higher gas and electricity bill:

During the colder weather we all tend to go a little overboard with our heating, because who likes being cold! But as we overuse our gas or electric heaters, our energy bills bring us back to reality to remind us of the price we paid for comfort, literally. And with the energy prices in most Australian state rising in July, if you haven’t recently switched energy plans, you can probably expect a higher than normal bill. So this month, make sure you set some extra money aside in preparation for when the Winter bill arrives.

Take a step into reducing debt:

All good things take time and unfortunately being ‘debt-free’ falls under that ‘good things’ category. This month, take a step towards improving any debt you may have like paying down your credit card balance or making an extra repayment on your car loan. The size of your ‘step’ is up to you, but make sure you don’t go overboard and not leave enough money to still get you by daily. The goal is to improve your financial situation, not make it worse.

Reassess your budget:

Like we said before, August means we’re already more than halfway through the year, so what better time to reassess your current budget! Refreshing or revamping your budget will not only help you stay on top of your spending, but it’ll give you the chance to get back on track if you’ve started to slack off. Plus, with Christmas being only now 4 months away, it might be time to cut down on certain spending to guarantee yourself some extra spending money.

Make a decision and cut something out for the month:

We all have our little luxuries, like grabbing a morning coffee on the way to work, or ordering a pizza on a Friday night, but if one of your financial goals this month is to save a little money, this could be your answer. Take the plunge and cut out something for an entire month. For instance, by cutting out your daily on-the-way to work $3.50 coffee, in one month you’ll be $70 richer! At the end of the month, take a look at your bank account and take note of exactly how much extra cash you’ve saved. Who knows, you may even want to continue this trick in the following month and make morning coffees a thing of the past! Want some other ideas, check out our guide on ways to save money.

Invest in your financial education:

Take some time this month to get up to speed on finance news and topics. Sites like MoneySmart, Financy, Money Saver HQ and of course Mozo have great free resources to help you be more money savvy.  

Get started on that property plan:

Whether you’re planning to buy or sell a home, make spring your season. If you’re a buyer, be sure that you’ve thoroughly done your research in the area you’re planning to buy in and check out Mozo’s home loan comparison table, so you’ll know what home loan rate to get (TIP: it should be under 4%). Also, know what the average purchasing price is and make the effort to attend auctions to understand what goes down. If you’re a seller, it’s time to spruce up your home to make it look appealing and inviting to potential buyers. You’ll also need to come to a decision about whether you’d like to take your property to auction or through a private contract. Want ideas? Check out these buying and selling tips from property experts.

Lock in the exchange rate:

Our last suggestion for your potential checklist applies if you’re planning to travel soon. The Aussie dollar is currently the highest it’s been this year, so you may want to get in quick and lock in your exchange rate now before anything changes by getting a prepaid travel card. Another reason to lock in the exchange rate before heading overseas is that it’ll help you keep to a travel budget. You could run the risk of overspending if you choose to stick to your debit or credit card, which often have higher foreign currency conversion fees, or end up spending more money than necessary on an item if the dollar drops while you’re away.

If you liked these tips, you should check out Mozo’s Life & Money Hub for more articles and ideas on how you can become a money-savvy pro.