by Betsy Westcott of Ladies Finance Club
At the beginning of the new year many of us are full of energy, hope and optimism about all the positive changes we are going to make in our lives, particularly around our money habits. As the weeks roll into months, it’s easy to lose sight of those goals we set for ourselves. The hustle and bustle of life kicks in and we fall back into old habits.
I dedicate this article to anyone who might be feeling like they’ve lost momentum. I’ve got your back! Here’s 20 ways to reinvigorate your commitment to getting money savvy in 2020.
- Start an OMG Fund - this is 3-6 months worth of living expenses sitting in a high interest savings account to help you get out of a tight spot. For example, OMG the car broke down or OMG my boss is a douche and I need to find a new job or OMG I need pay a large dentist bill. What it’s not for is “OMG, shots on me!” at 2am in the morning.
- Remove temptation from your inbox - unenroll from marketing campaigns tempting you to spend by visiting https://unroll.me/.
- Boost your super through every day shopping - Sign up to Super Rewards to boost your superannuation balance by doing your everyday shopping. The retailers pay anywhere between 1-10% of your purchase into your linked super account. All your favourite brands are there like Woolworths, The Iconic, Bed Bath and Table, Lorna Jane, apple, Freedom and more!
- Get aboard the round up train - use every day purchases to boost your savings. Essentially, you buy a coffee of $3.50. The purchase is rounded up to the nearest dollar and the difference is paid into your savings, investment, or super account. Check out financial institutions like Raiz, and the Longevity App. A number of banks are offering this feature now too.
- Automate your money - invest your time identifying your fixed spending (bills, memberships, rent/mortgage etc), your flexible spending (entertainment, eating out, holidays) and long term savings. Set up separate accounts and automatically transfer your pay to each so you know your saving money, covering your bills and have enough money left over for fun each pay cycle.
- Read books to up your money game - I love the Barefoot Investor and Unf*ck your Finances.
- Listen to podcasts educating you about your Personal Finance like the first season of the Pineapple Project which breaks down smart saving tips, how to earn more and even demolish your debts into juicy, bite-sized chunks.
- Find your money tribe - go to events and workshops like the ones run by Ladies Finance Club that will teach you how to get money savvy all with a glass of prosecco in hand.
- Make your own lunches - so simple and so money savvy. By making your lunch at home you can save up to $50 a week on your food bill. Across a year, that’s $2600. To make it easier to pack your lunch, simply make an extra dinner serve at night and pack it up ready for lunch the next day. Yum.
- Save money on coffee by using a keep cup - most cafes will give you a discount for bringing your own cup. So you’re saving money and helping to reduce your environmental impact at the same time.
- Put 24 hours between you and a purchase - if you’re a bit of an impulse purchaser. As in, you went online to the Iconic to buy a birthday present for a mate but end up purchasing yourself a new backpack, a pair trainers and sweater by accident. Oops. If that’s you, put 24 hours between you and your purchase. Leave it sitting in the cart and come back to it tomorrow. It’ll still be there waiting for you and it gives you a chance to decide if you really need it.
- Say no to the pink tax - this phenomenon affects the ladies. Put simply women pay more for every day items such as t-shirts, deodorant, shampoo, razors than their male counter parts. Don’t believe me? Check this out. To avoid it, consumer group CHOICE says it is as simple as shopping in the men's section or avoiding these pink-branded products altogether.
- Consolidate your superannuation into one fund - by consolidating your superannuation into one fund you’re reducing the fees you pay, reducing the paperwork and make it easier to keep track of your super.
- Up your income - by increasing your income you will have more money to save and use to grow your wealth. Negotiating a pay rise with your employee is an obvious option but you could also look at earning additional income by renting our you car on Car Next Door, a spare room on AirBnb, driving for uber, tutor, sell stuff you don’t need or even pick up a side job.
- Say goodbye to bank fees - look to bank with a financial institution that has no account keeping fees or minimum deposit requirements. You can find these on comparison websites like Finder or Canstar.
- Torch your debts - it’s east using Dave Ramsey’s snowball method:
• Write down all your debts from smallest to largest
• Make minimum repayments on all your debts except the smallest one
• Pay off as much as you can on your smallest debt until it’s paid off
• Repeat until all debts are paid off
• Celebrate when you’re debt free!
- Switch to Save - compare energy suppliers to make sure you're getting the best deal. Visit the Australian Government's Energy Made Easy website, the Victorian Energy Compare website if you live in Victoria, or Energy Switch if you live in New South Wales.
- Sell your old stuff - You’ll be surprised as to how much money you can make selling your stuff online. Items such as clothing, sporting equipment, kids toys, books, furniture, jewellery and vintage stuff sell super well.
- Start investing - you can begin investing with a small amount of money. Putting money away from an early age and often will ensure you a greater chance of financial freedom later in life. Today, there’s wonderful robo advisors such as Stockspot and SixPark which can get you started investing easily, safely and with a small amount of money.
- Give - we live in one of the luckiest and most prosperous countries in the world. For most of us, we have a roof over our head, food in our belly and clothes to wear. Not everyone has the pleasure of living like this so where you can try to give to the less fortunate. Not only does it make you feel good, it can be financially rewarding at tax time. As long as your donation is $2 or more, and you make it to a deductible gift recipient charity, you can claim the full amount of money that you donated on your tax return.