10 tips on how to better manage your money
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10 tips on how to better manage your money

Millions of Australians wish they had better control of their money. In fact, a poll found that almost two thirds (62%) say they have reported problems sleeping due to stress, primarily caused by work and money troubles.

Here are ten top tips to ease those dollar dreads.

Have a spending audit

Do you know exactly how much money is in your account?

How much do you owe and to who?

When do your bills come out and how much are they?

Knowledge, as they say, is power and so it pays to have a full spending audit to help you answer all of those questions and more. Go through your bank statements from the last couple of months and get a clear understanding of the money you spend on essentials and the cash you have left over. Once you know all of this, you can make informed choices and feel more confident in managing your money.

Cut your bills

During your audit, you’ll see just how many dollars disappear to pay for your bills every month. Now is the time to try to do something about that. Whether it’s canceling a subscription to a magazine or gym that you no longer need or looking for a better deal on your energy bills, there might well be something you could cut. You could even try to look for ways to use less energy to help you to spend less on this.

Kick the habit

What do you spend your spare cash on?

There might well be a habit that is costing you a lot more than you realize. Data from Skip, for example, was used to show that the average Australian ordering a medium takeaway coffee every day spends $1522.05 a year on their daily drink. Whether it’s coffee, clothes, alcohol, video games or books – look for a luxury item you could cut back on to free up spare cash.

Prioritize your debts

It’s much easier to manage your money if you are debt free so you need to put a plan in place to deal with any money you owe first and foremost.

With Australian debt on plastic recently soaring to a record $52.9 billion, credit cards are a key debt to look out for. People should always look to make more than the minimum payment and be wary of fees and charges, especially the interest paid after lucrative introductory offer periods.

Make your money go further

What do you do with the money that you (hopefully) have left over?

Your instinct might be to put this away in a savings account, but is this really the best option?

Savers are struggling to find good interest rates (with even the best banks offering 3% max) and so it might well pay to consider how to invest this money for a better return. All investment carries a risk but it’s easier than ever to use freely available online resources – such as IG’s market review – to carry out your research and find a form of investment that suits your skills and budget. If you’re struggling to save any money at all, look into Saver Plus. This helps you to set a savings goal and, when you reach it, your savings are matched dollar for dollar up to $500.

Make the most of your resources

You might well already have an asset that could make you a little more money. For example, tourism is a huge industry in Australia, with 8.5 million people coming from abroad in the year to July 2017 alone. Could you rent out a room to a tourist? Or, maybe you have a skill – playing a musical instrument, speaking a foreign language, DIY – that you could put to use in your spare time for money?

Use apps

When you’re out shopping, how do you make a big spending decision? In an ideal world, you’d do so based on the full facts – an accurate up-to-the-minute outline of your accounts. This is where apps come in. Either download your bank’s app or search for a specialized spending tracker so that you can keep on top of your money wherever and whenever you are.

Free entertainment

Eating out, going to the cinema, watching live sport – they’re all expensive pastimes that can easily eat up a large chunk of your disposable income. However, why not force yourself to be creative and come up with free ways to fill your time? Many museums and galleries are free to visit – with the likes of The Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne offering high-quality attractions. Either that, or take time to appreciate our country’s natural wonders (luckily Mother Nature doesn’t charge!).

Set positive targets

Whether you’re saving or investing, you need to have some context to your activity to help spur you on. If, for example, you want to fund a holiday or a new car, do some research and work out the full cost. Then break this amount down into smaller, short term goals so that you can see how every smart choice you make feeds into the bigger picture and leads to the ultimate end goal.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

As we said at the start, money worries are common. Chances are your friends, family and colleagues have all faced the same issues as you. It is, therefore, healthy to talk things through. Share your experiences – good and bad – with others and you can learn valuable lessons. If things get serious, you should also search out a specialist adviser who will be able to help you go through your accounts and get things back in order. Don’t suffer in silence or be embarrassed, talking to others is key to helping you manage your money more effectively.

That’s our top tips, but what works for you? Got a secret to share that can help others to keep on top of their budget? Let us know your money-saving success stories…

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