But, as with most things, that first step is the hardest.
Most of us don’t realise that we make enough money, the issue is we’re far from being careful with it! Unfortunately we budget backwards. We decide what we want — or think we need — to spend money on in the name of “essentials” and then can’t afford to put anything aside for future fun times.
When working out money priorities, we need to choose where we redirect our spending. So it helps to think about which items we need for basic living expenses and which are extras or things we can do without.
This puts us in control of our finances and not our finances in control of our lives.
1. Sounds like a plan
Most people shy away from setting out a plan because they think it’ll mean they have to skimp elsewhere. But it is often about redefining what we believe is “enough” for ourselves and our family to live on to feel confident that our future plans are achievable.
2. Financial advice
If you’re not on track to achieving your goals, getting the right kind of financial advice can also make a big difference. It can help you put the right strategies in place, or come up with more realistic goals.
3. Set up a budget
For families on fixed-income a first step is to re-set priorities by saving for the fun times first. It’s easier than you think. Doing a household budget magically frees up cash. It reveals whether you’re spending more or less than you can afford. It enables you to direct your money to where it matters most, so you can stay on top of bills and start putting money towards those future goals.
4. Make the most of your money
Moreover, it gets you off the financial treadmill. It enables you to sort out your money priorities and find the right balance between spending and saving. By creating a budget that includes savings as an “essential component” of your list, you’ll soon see you can afford museum entry fees or weekends away and ultimately that family holiday. It is as easy as setting aside $20 to $50 a week, or fortnight.
5. Earn interest on interest
To ensure you see this plan through, open an account that earns compound interest and direct debit your chosen amount. Compound interest offers a double layer for your savings. You earn interest on the money you deposit, and on the interest you have already earnt. For example, if you deposited $20 a week in a high interest savings account with a rate of 6 per cent for 21 years, you’d save $43,000.
6. Change one habit and save
Another simple step is to empty your pockets or purse daily. Set aside ALL loose change into a jar and, if possible, make a goal to increase the amount by at least a dollar each week. When you’ve reached $50, pop it into your savings account to add to that compounding interest. It is the little details that compound financially to make a big difference in the future, whether it be next year or in 20 years’ time.
7. Save on bank fees
Some financial institutions offer basic bank accounts with no account keeping fees, free monthly statements, no minimum deposit amounts and no overdrawn fees.
8. Avoid using credit
Debt follows us forever unless we stop using our cards. Of course, there are ways to use credit wisely. It just comes down to sticking to a plan that identifies the expenses we absolutely need to repay sooner.
If you’ve never done a budget before, the first is always the hardest but there are experts to help, like Allied Investment Group advisers who are experts in fixing up finances to allow you to afford future good times with family.
Allied Investment Group specialises in helping clients take control of their finances so they can have more choices, freedom and security in retirement.