Financial Tips for the New Year
Posted by Clint Davis | 17 Jan
*Sigh* Christmas is gone for another year…
The retail stores have stopped playing the holiday jingles, families have packed up the tree for another year, and my beloved baubles have returned to their home in a box under the stairs… Yes, folks, Christmas has come and gone. If you’re like me and found that you went a little overboard with your Christmas budget during the holiday season, here’s my top five tips for assisting you on meeting your financial objectives in the New Year:
1- Begin the New Year by drafting up a budget. Tracking your spending is the most effective way to see where money is being wasted. If you’re receiving a frequent income, calculate how much needs to be assigned to the essential costs of living, and this will help you realise the true value of what’s actually remaining for saving or spending. The most effective budgets are those that are tailored to your life style. If you’re of an analytical mind, draft it up on an Excel spreadsheet. Or, if you’re a little old school, write it up on a piece of paper. The key to a good budget template is to make it something easily accessible and that is able to be regularly referenced. This will help you to understand your financial limitations.
2- When it comes to savings – start small. Working in the financial services industry, I’ve seen many people fail to meet their savings goals because they simply try to put aside too much, too often. One of the most effective savings strategies I’ve seen work for people is to ask yourself: “what amount can I realistically easily live without each pay cycle?” Maybe the answer is $20.00. Maybe it’s $100.00. Whatever the amount, commit yourself to putting this figure aside each pay cycle, and adopt the attitude that this amount wasn’t even initially received. This will help you dedicate this money to savings, and will prevent you from falling into the savings trap of believing it’s accessible.
3- Open a new account with a higher interest rate. I’m a member of Generation Y and one of the biggest problems I’ve seen with my generation is that they open an account with a higher interest on balances with their bank, but can’t refrain from accessing the money they transfer to this account when impulsivity, or necessity strikes. One strategy I’ve seen to effectively combat this problem is to set up a higher interest account with another bank or credit union, and set up a regular transfer from your income bearing account for an affordable amount. Ensure that the second bank account doesn’t have internet banking, phone banking, or a debit card. That way, all the money being transferred is restricted from being accessed unless you make a trip to the branch and organise a manual withdrawal. This is a particularly effective strategy for building wealth, as the principal behind these seemingly nominal amounts increases over time and accrues a significant amount of interest if it remains untouched.
4- Plan your savings goals and set realistic targets. Whether you want to take a trip overseas, purchase a vehicle, or just want some spending money for a rainy day, set yourself a realistic target, and calculate how you can reach that target progressively over time.
5- Eliminate impulsive spending by giving yourself a spending budget. If you’re like me and you’re an impulsive spender (for me, it’s a new Xbox One game release!) then set yourself a realistic allowance each pay cycle and stick to it. Set your allowance a little higher than you predict you might need so that you have a little wiggle room each pay cycle.
If you fancy yourself a bit of a savings expert, then we would love to hear your ideas on how best to achieve your financial goals! Leave a comment in the section below, and watch this space for our weekly releases