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Making a few changes to your spending habits could free up some money to put towards more enjoyable use. Skim though these 10 suggestions to find something you could try.
Behavioral change often involves looking at the ‘why’ of your behaviour, so set yourself up for budget success as you revise your spending.
Identify your money personality
As is true with diet and exercise, what works for one person financially may not necessarily work for you. Some people love to track every dollar. Others prefer to budget only for large expenditures. You may like to consider experimenting until you find a plan you can stick to.
Track your spending
In the digital era, knowing where your money goes is easier than ever. According to research conducted for the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), almost 80% of Australians have a budget, with almost half indicating that they mostly stick to it.1
Saving money doesn’t have to mean sacrificing short-term pleasure. You may be paying for many hidden costs that are not adding value to your everyday life.
Audit your energy bill
Electricity and/or gas can be among the biggest of our household bills, so it’s useful to do an audit of your usage. This Australian Government energy website explains how to measure and reduce your energy use, and provides information on strategies such as taking advantage of off peak pricing.
Test your telecommunications provider
Telecommunications is a competitive market comparing mobile phone plans, landlines and package deals is a worthwhile annual exercise. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) offers some useful telco comparison tips.
Check what automatic payments you have
Reading your bank statement carefully will highlight any regular payments you’re making that you may have forgotten about. Ensure any automatic payments are for products and services you still use.
Research your credit card interest rate
If you don’t pay your credit card in full each month, you’re not alone. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australians are currently paying interest on approximately $31.5 billion of debt.² It’s a good idea to check what interest rate you’re paying as rates vary significantly between cards. Tips on choosing a credit card.
Pay off just a little more on your credit card every month
Paying more than the minimum repayment can make a big difference to the total amount your will pay over the life of the loan. The moneysmart.gov.au³ credit card calculator can show you how much you can save by paying more off your cards.
Review other regular expenses annually
From car or home insurance to the supermarket you use, it’s useful to put aside some time every year to do a quick review and ensure you’re still getting value for money. Tips on making your insurances work harder.
Manage your mortgage
If you have a mortgage, a competitive interest rate and low fees can make a difference to your budget. Simply phoning your financial institution and asking for a better deal could be a profitable call.
Can be a cost-effective way of paying allowable expenses as you’re using pre-tax dollars. Different workplaces offer different salary sacrifice options, so have a chat to your pay office to see if any of your allowable expenses can be paid this way. You might like to seek financial advice to discuss fully the implications of salary sacrifice.
As a QSuper member, you have access to professional financial advisers5 who can tailor advice to suit your needs.
Find out more
1. Australian Financial Attitudes and Behaviour Tracker Key findings report: Wave 6 - Sep 2017-Feb 2018.
2. Reserve Bank of Australia Credit & Charge Card Statistics – C1. www.rba.gov.au/statistics/tables/ Accessed 2 February 2019.
3. Australian Securities and Investments Commission. Moneysmart.gov.au Accessed 1 February 2019.
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