Now that the dust has settled on Christmas and the festive season, many of us are checking our bank accounts only to find they’re looking pretty empty! Why not take advantage of a fresh New Year and turn over a new leaf with your finances – make this the year you get your cash on track.
Imagine how good it would feel to achieve some financial goals this year, and start next year with a much healthier bank balance!
1. Set and stick to a budget
You probably often find yourself wondering where on earth your money goes each week. Make this year the year you find out!
- If cash seems to slip through your fingers, setting yourself a budget will not only help you understand where your money goes, but it will help you control and plan for your expenses, and even put some cash away to save for those little extras.
- The first step is to analyse your actual spending. Record every cent you spend across a week or a month – from your morning coffee and paper, public transport fares, petrol and tolls, groceries, meals and movie tickets, rent or mortgage, bill payments…everything!
- You can either do this the good old fashioned way, by using a notebook or spreadsheet, or by using a handy app such as TrackMySpend.
- You’ll soon start to get a good idea of where your money is going, and identify some areas where you could cut back.
- Next, work out how much cash you have coming in – include your pay from your full-time or part-time job, any casual work, your pension, government benefits and child support payments.
- Enter your income and expenses into a budget planner and print out your budget – or upload it into a handy app and use it to stay on track.
By setting and sticking to a budget, you’ll be well on your way to starting the New Year on a positive financial note!
2. Become a savvy spender!
Once you’ve taken a look at your spending and have set yourself a budget, you’ll be keen to start making some smart savings on your everyday expenses. We can help!
- Living on a tight budget can be tough, but we’ve got some helpful and easy to follow hints and tips that can make it all a lot easier! Check out our great guide, ‘Making Your Money Go Further’.
- Don’t be fooled into blowing your budget at the supermarket! Save loads of cash and keep your budget in check with our handy guide to the 10 sneaky supermarket tricks that make you spend more.
- Many of us are guilty of splashing our cash on things we really don’t need. Here’s a few ideas that might save you a small fortune – check out 5 things to stop paying for, right now!
- For most people, rent payments can swallow up the biggest chunk of your cash. Perhaps this could be the year you change that! Check out our guide to 7 fast ways to save on rent – without getting a housemate! – and you could soon be saving a small fortune in rent payments. Just think of what you could do with all that extra cash!
3. Track your financial health and progress
So, you’ve analysed your spending, set yourself a budget, and found some smart, simple ways you can save yourself some cash. But remember – a goal without a plan is just a wish!
- Don’t waste all of your hard work! Now that you’ve set yourself a budget and know how to make some savvy savings when spending your cash, make sure that you stick to it and stay on track throughout the year. Just think how proud you’ll be to finish this year on top of your finances and with some extra cash in the bank.
- Use an app like TrackMySpend, which allows you to track your spending and progress against your budget, nominate spending limits, and create expense reminders to be sent as text messages to your phone.
- If you’re staying on top of your budget and find yourself with a little cash to spare, this is great news! Why not consider saving for that special something – a dream holiday, new car, perhaps some new furniture or technology. Whatever it is you’d love, by setting and sticking to a savings plan you’ll be well on your way to achieving it!
- For more hints and tips on how to become a successful saver, check out What kind of saver are you?
So go on – get started today, and make this year the one you get on top of your finances!