New Year’s resolutions aren’t just about getting into shape, taking care of your skin or eating better; there are also other aspects of our lives that we’d like to take control over. Our finances are a big one and unfortunately, debt is a reality that has crept up on Australians in recent years with 2019 providing statistics pointing to around $30 billion in credit card debt.
The start of a new year is the period right after Christmas and many find themselves with no savings, credit card debt and no clear idea of where all your money is going.
Here are five ways to start the new year with healthy money habits with the advice of Susan Franks, Senior Tax Advocate from Chartered Accountants ANZ.
1# Set yourself goals and work out a budget
We set goals in life to work towards, so we should do the same with our money. Make your goals realistic but not bland – make it exciting to work towards.
says that it could even mean “putting $50 away from each pay, or cutting up the credit card and paying $100 more off your balance each pay.”
Short-term goals are equally as important as long-term goals, so have a 6-month goal and one that goes over a year long. A top tip to help save is naming your savings account “holiday” so that you’ll think twice about pulling money out of it.
2# Keep track of your spending
If we don’t keep track of what we’re spending each month or over a certain amount of period, how can we work on bettering our finances? If we don’t know what’s wrong, then we can’t fix anything.
A good starting point would be to look at things like “money that is being spent on subscriptions you aren’t using, how much UberEats you’ve ordered or spendings you might be able to do without,” said Susan.
Try this for one month and you’ll be surprised at the results and how easily you’re able to spot your wasteful spending and subsequently work on preventing it.
3# Reduce your debt!
“According to Finder, the average Australian has around $3,000 owing on their credit card,” said Susan, with a national debt accruing interest of $29 billion!
Setting yourself small goals for your debt payment can also be extremely helpful. Completing these goals will be rewarding and will motivate you to complete more in the future.
4# Create a savings plan
We’ve all been there. We wait all month for payday to roll around and then when that day does come, we’re so happy and motivated to do better, to save, to spend less and then…another month goes by and you haven’t saved a penny.
This time we need a plan. A good way to put money aside is to have automatic transfers scheduled at a certain time of the month that puts money into your savings account so that even before you think of spending it, it’ll already be in your savings account.
5# Become a bit more financially literate
You don’t have to become an expert in the stock market, but knowing the interest rates of your loans and credit cards is helpful for your organisation. Know when your bills need to be paid, when that car registration is due or when you need to save up for a birthday present. Being on top of payments and details like this can help you have what you need on the side when you need it most.
Another thing is superannuation. Learn about it. What are your fees? How can you maximise your super?
Remember that “information is power. Get the information, write your goals down, be accountable and stick with it,” said Susan.
So make 2020 your year for financial stability and take control of your money!