There’s no time quite like the start of a new fiscal year to help you focus on your finances. It’s easy to let money matters slide when you don’t have a time frame. So, now’s your chance to reset the clock and use the start of 2018/19 to kick-start change.
Here are our new financial year tips to help you save more, get out of debt and establish good money habits.
Make a financial year calendar
Don’t just wing it with your bill payments this year, give yourself some warning that they’re coming.
Put together a calendar for the fiscal year that includes all the regular bills you pay, such as insurance, phone, utilities and council rates. Add in your best estimate of uncertain expenses like school fees, sports and extracurricular activities.
Make a weekly calendar notification a month out from the bill due date and start setting aside funds from the very first notification.
Tip! Mark up renewal dates on the calendar for mobile, insurance, utilities and other expiring policies. Count back six weeks and start comparison shopping to see where you can switch providers and save.
Take a pause and think about what you could have done differently last financial year to deliver better results. What do you want to achieve this year and what will it take to follow through and make these goals happen?
A goal like ‘being debt free’ is too broad. Think in specifics. First, focus on paying off the most damaging debt – usually credit cards. Second, calculate exactly how much you need to pay off each week to pay down the debt. Third, put together a budget to pinpoint where you can pull this money from each week. Once this debt is paid off, move on to the next debt.
Tip! Be SMART with your goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented.
Salary sacrifice for super
Setting up a salary sacrifice for super isn’t the only way to pump extra funds into your super account, but it’s a convenient way of forced saving.
Having your employer pay an agreed amount into super before tax gets deducted from your wage is an easy option. Less straightforward is trusting yourself to save money throughout the year and then deposit it into your super.
Convert to apps (if you haven't already)
Money management and mobile banking apps for your smartphone make it incredibly easy to track your spending and set budgeting goals. While features and functionality vary between apps, the good ones allow you to categorise transactions automatically, view expenses against your income, see a history of your savings and set a timeline of financial goals.
No more stuffing receipts into a shoe box for financial year-end, instead upload them directly into an app (via photo). With the Australian Taxation Office’s official app, you can even lodge and track your tax return.
Use the Yellow Brick Road Empower app to access your accounts and make payments on the go. Set up budgets, track your progress and keep a lid on spending by uploading receipts and categorising purchases. Find transactions quickly with voice search and use the notifications function to ensure you never forget an upcoming payment.
Tip! If you opt to sync your bank account to a smartphone app, make sure you take safety precautions. In case you lose your phone, ensure it has password protection (use a secure password). Set up the password function so that every time you use your phone, you must log in.
Review your insurance
Insurance is the kind of product that should be updated annually to reflect life changes, like having a baby, buying a new home, investing in property and getting married.
With insurance, you want the right cover at the right price. Ask yourself if you and your family have adequate life insurance protection should you suffer an extended illness, accident, disability or worse.
Even your home and health insurance will benefit from a yearly review. If you’ve made substantial purchases this year like a new laptop or mobile, add them to your home and contents insurance.
Tip! Speak to your Yellow Brick Road Wealth Manager for help with choosing a life insurance plan.