Make 2023 count. Here’s how you can budget more effectively to achieve your saving goals.
Are you finding it difficult to save money or stick to a budget? You’re certainly not alone. Working out a realistic budget is an effective way to take control of your finances and smash your saving goals.
If you’re looking for tips to get you started with budgeting, be sure to keep reading on!
- Start by understanding your spend and where your money is going.
It can be easy to lose track of how much you’re spending, especially with cashless payments and credit cards. There are many online banking systems that include tools to categorise debits and make a budget – take advantage of them! Or download an app that helps you track your personal expenses on the go like ASIC’s TrackMySPEND. Once you’ve got a good idea of your regular spending, you can tailor a budget that is best suited to your individual needs.
- Categorise your spending.
Once you have an understanding of your spending, split your regular income into accounts (or buckets) with a specific budget set for each. You may even like to transfer them into separate accounts for easy tracking. This is a helpful way to manage your spending and saving without complicating it.
As an example:
- Commitments – such as regular bills, debt repayments and rent/mortgage payments
- Essentials – ongoing costs such as groceries, transport, pet care and health costs
- Lifestyle – non-essential spending such as dining out, shopping or entertainment
- Savings – for any goals or super contributions, or to set aside for emergency expenses.
There is a more basic approach commonly known as the “50:30:20 rule”.
- Budget 50% of your income for essential living expenses (such as rent, bills and groceries)
- Budget 30% of your income for lifestyle costs (like dining out, buying clothes)
- Save 20% of your income into a savings account.
This is a popular approach as it’s a realistic balance of enjoying things with a focus ongoing to save. A flexible approach to budgeting can help you keep track in the long-term.
- Find savings in the essentials
Some costs can’t be avoided – but many everyday expenses can be reduced. For example, you could:
- Move in with your parents/relatives, or move into a cheaper rental or share house. Short-term discomfort can pay off in the long term.
- Implement tactics like meal planning, making grocery lists and buying in bulk to save money on food.
- Shop around to reduce your regular bills – it’s worth checking if you’re still getting the best deal on utilities such as internet and electricity every year. You may get better value if you switch, or tell current providers you intend to switch.
- Use the car less: take public transport; carpool with colleagues; or try walking or riding. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it all adds up to savings.
- Refinancing- are you currently on the most competitive home loan set up? Investigating what options are out there for you could decrease your monthly repayments and save you thousands over the course of your home loan. You can check out the best rates & offers available here.
- Other ways you could save
- Look for opportunities to eliminate costs. Cancel unused services. Update your internet or mobile plans if you’re always paying for excess data.
- Ask yourself: are you really using that gym membership? Are you getting value from your subscriptions? Remember, every wasted dollar is money you could be spending on your own home.
How could your credit card save you money?
Have you connected your credit card to your home loan? This simple trick could save you thousands on your home loan. You’ll firstly need an offset account. An offset account is a savings or transaction account that is linked to your home loan. But, instead of earning interest, the money in this account offsets the amount of money owed on your home loan, therefore reducing the interest you need to pay on your home loan.
Now here’s how the credit card will help. Because you want to keep as much money as you can in your offset account, use your credit card for everyday expenses like your morning coffee or utility bill. This way you can keep the money you would have used to pay for it in your offset account for longer, saving you interest on your home loan each day.
- Continue to review your budget regularly
Ensure you regularly check in to review and adjust your budget. Monitoring your budget plan is vital to ensure you’re keeping on track. There may be times where your income has changed, you have unexpected expenses that arise or a new savings goal. Checking in will help guide you to reach your savings targets!