Spare time? Here are 6 steps to put your money under the microscope
We're all navigating the new situation of self-isolation and social distancing. So why not put the time at home to good use by giving yourself a money makeover? We look at six ways to save a bundle and shore up your finances.
1. Know where every buck goes
If you haven't used a personal budget before, now's the time to get started. A budget shows how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and whether you're overspending – as well as where you can cut back.
To make it easier, download a budgeting app or consider using different colour coded bank cards to assist with ‘bucket budgeting'.
2. Review your savings account
Having a war chest of personal savings can be a big confidence booster in uncertain times. The trouble is, plenty of savings accounts impose strict conditions around how much you need to deposit each month to earn a decent rate of interest. Switching to a savings accounts that offers a consistently good rate – without the complex terms and conditions, can give you more bang for your savings buck.
3. Make savings a priority
Don't plan to save what's left over after regular spending. Chances are it won't happen. Automate your savings by setting up an online transfer from your everyday account to a dedicated savings account. Just don't dip into savings unless it's absolutely essential.
4. Decide what's necessary – and what's nice
Take a look through your bank statements to know what you're paying for regular services. From online streaming to gym membership, it's likely there are areas where you can cut back on non-essentials – even if it's only temporarily.
5. Get serious about getting a better deal
Services like power, gas and internet are must-haves. But that doesn't mean you can't get a better deal. Shop around to compare plans and prices, and switch to a new provider if necessary. Every dollar saved can take pressure off your budget.
6. Sweat the small stuff
In uncertain times every dollar counts. According to research by Finder, one in two Aussies (52%) think they've been charged an ATM fee over the past year. Based on an ATM fee of $2 – and some can go a lot higher - Australians may have wasted $43 million on withdrawal fees over the past 12 months.
It's not always easy to track down a fee-free ATM for your bank. Cut the hassle – and the cost, by switching to a bank that refunds fees incurred at all ATMs Australia-wide.
Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.