December 22, 2015
With 2016 fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get your finances in order and make your ‘financially fit' New Year's resolution a reality.
Mortgage Choice chief executive officer John Flavell said while no-one likes to think about their financial health, becoming a better budgeter doesn't have to be a laborious task.
“Successful budgeting is all about making better financial choices,” he said. “Just because you are on a budget doesn't mean you have to cut out all of life's luxuries – far from.”
Mr Flavell said the key to successful budgeting is to not see it like a chore, but rather view it as the perfect way to get more bang for your buck.
“Being money savvy will ultimately help you to achieve your financial goals sooner rather than later. For example, if your goal is to live mortgage-free sooner, then the start of a new year is a great time to set financial resolutions. Take the time to review your budget and look for ways to save money and make extra contributions to your home loan,” he said.
“At the end of the day, you have to be realistic about your goals. And in order to make your budget work, it is important to allow for treats every now and again. Creating a savings plan doesn't mean you have to cut out all of your favourite things, it might just mean you have to scale them back from time to time.”
Mr Flavell said if borrowers actively cut back on some of their habitual expenses and re-evaluate the way they spend money, they might be surprised by the impact it could have on their hip pocket.
Mortgage Choice offers the following top financial resolutions to help you become financially healthy in 2016.
Resolution 1. Review your financial alliances
Data from Mortgage Choice shows more than 50% of Australians worry about their finances on a regular basis. But while the majority of Australians are worried about their money, it would appear they don't want to do anything to change their situation, with 53% indicating that they will not make changes to their financial situation over the coming year. While reviewing your financial situation can seem like a hassle, it can save you a lot of money. Ask yourself, have you been with the same lender, health care provider or even insurance company for years? If the answer is yes, you could be doing yourself out of a bargain. Research your options online and see whether or not there is another provider or lender on the market that can offer you a better deal, like lower fees or greater interest on your savings account.
Resolution 2. Be diligent with your finances
One of the easiest ways to spend less and save more is to keep yourself accountable for the money you spend. If you know you do not have the diligence to pay off your credit card in full each month, cancel it. If you do take a diligent attitude towards your finances, then frequent credit card use could provide you with significant perks. Today, lenders offer great incentives to those who use their credit cards on a regular basis, including frequent flyer points, cash-back bonuses and extended interest free periods. Of course before you commit to a credit card, it pays to read the fine print, so you know what you are getting yourself in for and always make sure you pay your bill in full and on time each month.
Resolution 3. Find free entertainment
During the holiday season people will (understandably) want to go out more in order to catch up with family and friends. Unfortunately, frequent outings aren't necessarily cheap and can cause your budget to blow out. Thankfully there is a way you can still go out without breaking the bank. Getting online and hunting down free entertainment in your local area will allow you to still go out and save money in the process. Opting for free or low-cost concerts, lectures, outdoor movies and art shows even one night per weekend can easily reduce the entertainment budget by $50 to $100 per month.