Create your own Christmas cheer
The countdown to Christmas seems an unlikely time to suggest ways to save. But why wait for the New Year to make financial resolutions? We’re tipping the spending season on its head to get your money working harder for you over Christmas and into 2018.
Where does it all go?
Keep tabs on your spending and get into better budget habits ahead of Christmas with ASIC’s Track My Spend app.
Track your household budget or savings for a special occasion, such as a wedding or travel.
The app allows you to nominate and track your progress against weekly, fortnightly, monthly or annual spending limits. You can also set budget limits for various categories and separate wants and needs to identify extra ways to save.
We also have a clever budgeting tool that you might like to check out.
Spare some change
You no longer need big bucks to call yourself an investor. New investment platforms are helping people tap into the power of their pennies to gain a toe-hold in the share and property markets. For example, there are apps available that round up every purchase you make on any linked credit or debit card and squirrels the extra cents into an investment account. The stashed cash is then invested in low-cost exchange traded funds, which provide access to Australian bonds and Australian and international shares.
Doesn’t sound worth the effort? That’s the point. There’s no effort on your part, and the savings soon add up. A daily takeaway coffee habit at $4.60 will tip 40c a day (rounded up to $5) into your investment account. That’s $146 a year. Add to that round-ups from grocery, snack, lunch, petrol, entertainment and clothing purchases, and it’s easy to tally a tidy sum without any significant sacrifice.
Get fiscally fit
Give yourself an early Christmas pressie by taking control of some of life’s necessities. It has never been easier to bag a better deal on insurance premiums, energy bills and credit cards thanks to online quotes and comparison sites. Just make sure you are comparing apples with apples and read any fine print. Looking for a better mortgage rate? Talk to us to see if you can save on your home loan. Even in this low-interest climate, it’s worth shopping around. A 0.5 per cent saving on your 6 per cent interest rate $300,000 25-year principal-and-interest loan will put $1,103 back in your pocket each year1.
Sort your super
Are you one of the 40 per cent of Australians with superannuation who have more than one account2?
Not only should you be aware of what super accounts you have, but how much you contribute, where your funds are invested, what fees you pay and what insurance each account provides.
Lost track of your super? Track down your accounts with a MyGov account via the ATO.
Once you know where your funds are and how much you have, you can take stock of each portfolio and make any adjustments. Talk to your financial adviser about the portfolio mix that best suits your retirement goals.
It’s also worth considering consolidating your funds into one to save on fees and enhance your compound interest. Again, talk to your financial adviser before you make any moves as one fund might have a better investment track record or insurance benefits over another.
Okay, this is a cruel one to spring so close to Christmas, Boxing Day sales and the holiday season. Challenge yourself to buy nothing new for a whole month. No new clothes, gadgets, make-up, toys or decor. Limit yourself to essential purchases only. If that’s an impossible feat for this time of year, make it a goal for 2018. The idea is to learn to live on less, so don’t fast one month and feast the next. You will be surprised how much you save when you don’t spend!
Make a list before you hit the grocery aisles and include lunch items for the work week. Making your lunch can easily save you $50 per week (more if you also buy a drink) or $2,400 a year (deducting four weeks’ holidays). If you struggle to find time during the week, spend an hour or two in the kitchen on weekends to fill both your lunch and money box.
Haven’s simple MYO lunch tips:
- Google meals you can cobble together with all those herbs, spices and tinned foods in your pantry – tuna, kidney beans, lentils, tomatoes and even good old baked beans.
- Fridge or freeze left-over curry, bolognaise or chilli con carne and mix’n’match the portions with rice, pasta or mashed sweet potato.
- Start a salad club at work. Choose one day a week for everyone to bring a different salad to share. Switch it to soup in winter.
- Poach a couple of chicken breasts in soy sauce and stock, boil some eggs and mix with various salad greens and your choice of dressing throughout the week.