While enjoying the holiday season and a New Year is approaching, a lot of people will be reflecting on the year that was and how they can make the most of the New Year to be.
Whether it be telling yourself you will join a gym for the umpteenth year in a row or trying to dedicate more time with loved ones, we as humans have a tendency to break our resolutions.
One commonly broken resolution is our intention to be more financially savvy and save money, I mean, who doesn’t want that shiny new piece of tech or some smashed avo’ for brekkie?
The good thing about our desire to be money smart is that there are many ways we can improve on our money habits and structures we can put in place to help us along the way.
Here are 7 simple tips to be better with your money in 2017.
Make a savings goal
The key with this is setting a goal that is not too hard, otherwise you might find yourself being tempted to just give up all together.
A realistic goal should mean you need to restrain yourself at times but at the same time not sacrifice too much.
Once you have a goal in mind make it visible in your everyday life. Studies have shown that visualising our goals makes us more likely to achieve them so having your goal jotted down in the notes app of your phone or scribbled down and stuck on the fridge is a great motivator and reminder to stay focused.
Automate your savings
A simple way that could give you a better fighting chance to stick to your savings is to set up a savings account on the side of your everyday account.
Once you have done this you can ask your bank to automatically transfer funds from your everyday account to your savings, at your desired frequency or time of month. Overtime you will get used to a chunk of your money going straight into your savings and living off what’s left in your everyday account.
Pick a good savings account
This should be a given but I have come across so many people who have cash lying in bank accounts that are earning little to no interest.
While it's important you only trust your money with a reputable institution, a quick search online and you will find many bank accounts offering decent interest rates and I’d be surprised if there isn’t something out there paying more than what you’re currently getting.
A lot of banks offer bonus interest rates where they pay a higher rate for a specified amount of time. What some people don’t know is that once the bonus rate has expired you can call the bank up and depending on the bank get a bonus rate reapplied, it pays to ask!
Cut out those pesky ATM fees
Surprisingly Australian’s paid approximately $548 million in avoidable ATM fees in 2015, which is roughly $22 per person.
What if I told you there are many bank accounts that offer debit cards that allow free ATM withdrawals? Yes, even when pulling money out of those conveniently placed (expensive) ATMs that charge you $4.
Be a Savvy shopper
I can’t stress how important this one is. Time and time again I come across friends telling me of a cool gadget they’ve bought and how much it set them back. I can only feel sorry for them after I’ve spent 5 minutes of research finding the same item for much less.
Sites like eBay pool together a plethora of sellers and retailers and you can sort the price by lowest for the product you’re after.
I also recommend everyone jumps on Ozbargain. It is a site where people share to Australia the bargains and freebies they have found. Many free lunches have been had this year and I can’t count on one hand how many things I’ve bought for more than 50% off including TVs, flights, gift cards and the list goes on.
Technology is your friend
Unless you have been living under a rock you would have heard of uber, the convenient and (usually) cheaper alternative to getting a taxi.
The great thing is that there are a tonne off apps out there that can help you when it comes to money and 2017 will see more of them becoming available.
Whether it be comparing products or services, booking flights or budgeting there is bound to be a useful app out there.
An interesting one I came across in 2016 was Acorns, an app that rounds up every purchase you make to the next dollar and invests the difference for you in shares.
Reflect often and reward yourself
Track how your savings are going on a regular basis and if you are off track reassess things, alter course and get back in control.
Find time to think about ways you can save money, have money dates with your significant other and reward yourself when you are on track.
Ultimately money is a vehicle that can help us afford things that make us happy so make it a positive driver and reward yourself and don’t let it be a constraint on your ability to live life!
Written by Karlo Klasan from Yield Financial Planning