Financial literacy is a hot topic… but perhaps not until you realise you lack a way to organise your finances, aka, have no money. However, if you feel a little clueless about money stuff, you’re not alone! As the cost of living rises, basic financial questions like how to open a savings account, or how much does it cost to build a house become important!
If you’re looking to learn more about how to manage your money, read our top 4 tips below to get your financial situation working for you.
Most people have an idea of what a is, but do you stick to it? To make one, list your incoming money, like wages, and how you’ll spend it. Begin with fixed expenses like rent, utilities and phone bills, medical, transport (car costs or public transport) and insurances. What remains will need to cover leisure, clothing and everything else from gifts to holidays. Food can be a fixed expense, or discretionary if you can spend less on groceries if need be. If you end up in a negative amount, or with no savings after all your expenses are deducted, you need more money or to cut down on expenses. Money tracking apps help you see what you’re overspending on.
Once you have a realistic budget, consider what you will put your savings towards. It doesn’t matter if you only save a small amount initially – you can always save more as you get used to sticking to a budget. Whether it’s a holiday, investment portfolio or emergency living expenses, a savings goal helps you to be more disciplined. Some banks and money apps offer a rounding function that rounds up card purchases to the nearest dollar, saving this amount in your account – every bit helps!
Bye Bye Debt
Speaking of credit, if you’re saving but have credit card debit, it’s best in the long term to pay off credit cards first as their interest rates are known to be astronomical. Don’t be tempted by newer types of credit such as Afterpay. Using these hampers your ability to put money aside for long term savings. This is where your budget comes in – if you have a friend’s wedding to attend, put aside a set amount each month so when the event comes you can afford a new dress and gift, instead of turning to credit.
Sure your work pays superannuation, but you can also add extra money yourself and this means more money at retirement. Many employers allow sacrificing a portion of your wage into super which will save you in tax. While you pay tax on super earnings, it’s normally much lower than income tax, making it a good place to earn extra money for your future.
Remember to check your super fund’s fees to ensure you’re getting a decent deal. If not, switching funds isn’t tricky, sign up to a new fund and tell your employer the details. Your future self will thank you later.