New Year + New Goals = New Budget
Published on December 23, 2015 12:46 pm, by Jen Bakker
With the onset of another year, January is the perfect time to sit down and revisit your financial goals. Before setting your goals & budget for 2016 revisit 2015. Ask yourself some questions:
- Do you have less debt than twelve months ago and/or more savings?
- Did you meet any financial milestones during the year?
- Did you spend less than you earned?
- What could you have done better?
There can be lots or little to think about when it comes to your finances. Right now is the time to sit down and set out exactly what you want to achieve this year, and how you will get there. We’ve put together 10 tips to help you on your way.
- Work out what you want. What do you want to achieve this year? What does that translate to in financial terms? Do you want to save for an event or a purchase? Do you want to repay debt? How much do you need?
- Repay bad debt. Repay bad debt before you start to save towards your goal. Work out how much you would pay in interest on your debt and then how much you would receive in interest in savings. It’s really not worth holding bad debt while saving.
- Build an emergency fund. This fund is for life. Often what gets in the way of our savings is real life. It’s the unexpected; the really expensive car service, the root canal, or the braces for child number 2. We suggest 3 months’ worth of salary in an emergency fund.
- Automate your savings. Set up an automatic payment to come out of your transactional account on pay day. Put it in to an account that doesn’t have an ATM card attached. Make it hard to access.
- Set up a bills calendar. Know when your bills are due. Convert your bills to your pay period and understand how much you need to put aside to keep on top of these. Set up alerts so you are never late in paying them.
- Check your banking structure is in line with your goals. It’s great to have an account for spending, an account for bills and emergencies, and an additional account for savings. Check account keeping fees to get the best value.
- Credit Cards & Store Cards. 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.
- Spend less than you earn. Once you know what you need to repay debts, meet your savings commitments and bills, budget with the rest. Understand what you can spend and still meet your goals. Safe Spending will manage this for you, and let you know when you’re in the green and can spend.
- Make new habits. Work out where you are leaking money. Do you spend too much on lunches and coffees during your working day? Do you have too many drinks on a Friday night after work? Should you be eating in more during the week and pocketing the difference between groceries and fine dining? If you’re eating out can you go BYO instead of fully licensed? Commit to small changes that will lead to big things.
- Commit to checking in. Sitting down again in January 2017 to reassess is crazy. Put a regular reminder in your calendar to check in. Weekly, fortnightly or monthly, perhaps in line with your pay period. This is where you can celebrate your achievements and make adjustments for any slip ups.
HOW MONEYBRILLIANT CAN HELP YOU
MoneyBrilliant is a personal finance app that automates your finances for you. Once you link your accounts your transactions will be automatically categorised and presented to you in the form of spending reports. This gives you a full picture of your money and spending. It shows you where you are spending more than you think.
Once you know where your money is going, MoneyBrilliant has a variety of features to help you spend less than you earn. There is Safe Spending on mobile as well as the budgeting tool on desktop. The budget automatically shows how much you’ve spent per month on average over the last 3-12 months, giving you a figure that you can amend for spending going forward.
When you are tracking well, Safe Spending is in the green, showing you are spending within your means for the current period, where it is amber or red, you need to slow down!! Overall MoneyBrilliant budgets and tracks your spending for you with very little manual input from you.
Related Articles –
10 signs you need a budget
Credit card balance transfers
Your account balance is lying to you