Top tips for nailing your budget this year
To help get you started, here are ten tips to help you get on top of your budget.
1. Save a portion of your income.
Every pay, before you spend any money or pay any bills, transfer a percentage of your money to a savings account that you cannot touch. To give you an incentive to leave the money alone, try a high-interest savings account, which rewards you with a higher interest payment when you don’t withdraw any money. The Barefoot Investor recommends putting 20% of your income into your savings (this includes both short-term and long-term savings).
2. Spend cash.
After you’ve saved a portion of your pay cheque and paid your bills, take out cash for any activities you might have on that pay cycle. Whether it’s your morning coffee, dinner with friends or a movie date with your partner, paying with cash helps you set a hard limit on what you can spend on eating out and entertainment.
3. Put the spare cash away.
At the end of each pay cycle, rather than spending any remaining cash, put any leftover cash into a piggy bank or even back into your bank account. Financial institutions like, ING Direct or the Acorns app allows you to round up your loose-cash into an automatic account for a rainy day. Even if it’s only a small amount, it all adds up throughout the year.
4. Refinance your mortgage.
If you’re paying a mortgage, consider refinancing to see if you can find a better deal on your repayments. Use our mortgage repayment calculator to find out how much money you can save with just one point shaved off your interest rate.
5. Know where you’re spending.
You can save your receipts or use an app to track your finances, but the easiest way to save money is to reduce any interest you may already be paying. Start by tracking your spending and understanding how much you are paying and where. Then, once you have a good idea of what you’re spending on, find places to cut back and save.
6. Use a shopping list.
It sounds simple, but planning your grocery shopping is the easiest way to avoid spending money on unnecessary food. Make a plan and stick to it.
7. Look for bank accounts with low or no fees.
Account fees and charges will eat away at your savings. When comparing savings accounts look for accounts with no or low fees, like ME Bank Everyday Transaction Account.
8. Get your credit score in order.
Getting your credit score in order involves getting on top of your debt. When putting together your budget planner, remember to account for any debt repayments. Where possible, pay more than the minimum repayment amount to reduce the amount of interest owed and pay off your debt sooner. You can find out what your credit score is here.
9. Cancel that unused gym membership.
And while you’re at it, cancel any other unused memberships you’re paying for. If you’re not getting anything out of the service you shouldn’t be paying for it.
10. Take advantage of those rewards points.
By understanding how to use rewards points to your advantage, you can save money on everything from groceries, to movie nights to overseas trips.
Setting a budget isn’t all about removing the fun from your life, but it can take a bit of work. By following some of these tips, hopefully you’ll see the amount in your savings account start to grow.
Get started by comparing savings accounts, to find one that suits your saving style.