Published on October 22, 2015 1:33 pm, by Jen Bakker
1. Savings first
On payday have an automatic sweep out of your account in to a savings account that is difficult to access.
2. Bills second
Once your savings have come out of your account, pay all the bills that are due between now and next pay day. Be sure to include a portion of any quarterly or annual bills that you will need to pay, by putting it away or ensuring your bank balance does not fall below that amount.
3. Debts third
Do you have debt that is holding you back? Focus on putting some extra in to repayments before working out what you have to spend this pay cycle. If you have money in savings work out whether it makes more sense to pay off the debt and start saving again (check interest rates and amounts).
4. Banking structure
Make sure that your banking structure suits your financial goals. For example, it’s great to have an account for spending, an accounts for bills & emergencies, and an additional account for savings. Make sure that you find accounts with no or minimal fees to get the best value. Savings are often best retained when placed in an account that isn’t accessible by ATM and can only be transferred overnight.
5. Credit Cards & Store cards
You only need one! Review your credit cards, annual fees, interest rates and choose the best deal. If you have high balances, consider a balance transfer and work towards one card. Rewards points aren’t a good reason for additional cards, for lots of people the extra they spend having the card exceeds the value of the rewards.
6. Set financial goals
Work out what you want. Write it down. Give yourself a time frame. It’s always good to have little rewards along the way to a big goal but seeing your bank balance go up or debt go down may be reward enough.
7. Annual check in
Do an annual check in with your service providers. Are there fees or rates that you can negotiate? Is it worth changing provider? Always know the company you are with and why you are with them. As a long term customer you may be on an old plan, where new customers are receiving a better rate. Make sure you check, and if that’s the case, ask to be moved to the newer plan/rate.
8. Put a $$ limit on how much you can spend on a night out
I hesitate to say take cash and leave your card at home, as it’s important to have access to money if you need it. But depending on your self-control you can adjust your strategy. There’s always taking cash and then Uber it home. The great thing about Uber having your credit card details is that when the money runs out, you order a car, and hey presto, home you go.
9. Make new habits. Going out to dinner? Go BYO
There are some really great restaurants that you can bring your own drinks too. Lots of time the drinks tab can run up faster than the food bill. If you haven’t decided where to go, why not check out the places that you can BYO first? Make sure you confirm corkage costs, you don’t want to negate your savings!
10. Learn to say no to spending opportunities
How many times have I budgeted a certain amount for a night out or a weekend, and then something else came along? And I said yes. Why? Do I have FOMO (fear of missing out)? Good news though, the older I get the easier I find it to say no. Sometimes it’s about not wanting to spend the money, and other times it’s about watching Pitch Perfect for the 10th time with my daughter! Try practicing or setting yourself limits on the number of social events per week.
Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.