New Year, New Financial Approach

The New Year is the perfect time to review your finances and change things for the better. Here are some fabulous tips for managing your finances as well as some practical ways to take control of your money from The Commonwealth Bank

1. Set financial goals

> Financial goals are personal, but the trick is set some and have clarity around your goals. Rather than say, "I should pay off my credit card this year sometime” make your goal more defined by saying, "I will pay off my credit card by September by putting $500/month towards it" – your resolution is much more likely to become a success.

2. Organise your spending

> Take control of your finances and track your spending. It is important to know where your money goes so you can identify areas to cut back and save.
> Set a realistic weekly or monthly budget.

3. Cut your fees

> Understand your regular account fees and ensure you are using the right account for your
financial needs.
> Make your minimum credit card repayment and stay within your approved credit card limit.
> Avoid over‐the‐limit fees. Many financial institutions offer a range of opt‐in ‘safety nets’ such as SMS and email balance or credit limit alerts to help customers better manage their money.
> Always use your financial institution’s ATMs as ‘alien’ ATMs charge fees.
> Combine all your transaction accounts into one account.
> Consider consolidating your credit card debt onto one card so you can closely monitor the state of your finances.

4. Get saving – every little helps

> Automatically transfer a portion of your salary into your savings account each month as soon as you get paid. If you don’t see the cash, it’s much harder to spend it.
> It is not new, but you really do save money by bringing your lunch to work ($10 per day x 10 working days = $100), cutting out the take away coffee and saving on travel costs (and improve your fitness) by walking or running to work – it can add up to thousands of dollars over a year.
> Save your gold coins or even $5 notes and once a month deposit your cash in your savings account. You’ll be amazed how it adds up ($20 a week x 52 weeks = $1,040 plus interest)!

5. Make your savings go further

> Open a high interest account to make sure you are getting the most out of your savings. Whether you have a short‐term or long‐term savings plan, want a fixed return or instant access to your funds, choose an account which best meets your financial goals. For example consider in the:
o Short‐term (0–2 years), an online savings account if your goal is saving for a new car or your next holiday;
o Medium‐term (0–5 years), a mix of saving strategies using both a savings and term deposit account if you want to save for an extended overseas trip or a mortgage deposit; or
o Long‐term (5+ years), use a term deposit account if you are saving towards a major home renovation or retirement.

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