Best money year ever? During a global pandemic and the worst recession in a century? Niche, we know. But, if you’ve written off your financial goals because you’re not raking in tons of cash, think again. Some of our best financial mindset work happens in the tough times.
Here are 11 things you can do to make this financial year your most money savvy yet.
#1 Know Your Tax
Taxes… less sexy than a manufactured pity date on the Bachelor, right? Perhaps, but getting to know your taxes instantly levels up your money game. Using Pay Calculator, you can input your annual salary and whether that includes HECS debt and superannuation, and see how much tax you should be paying each week. Cross reference that against your payslip, and make sure you’re paying the right amount of tax on every pay cycle. Spotting any errors early can save you from a big tax bill come EOFY.
#2 Set A New Budget
Budgeting, also up there on the list of the world’s unsexiest activities, but getting smart with your money is a total adulting turn on. A budget doesn’t need to be boring. A basic budget is simply money in, minus costs, equals remaining money to play with. That money then gets allocated into spending, short term savings, long term savings and maybe if you’re feeling saucy, investing.
#3 Get Into Investing
Invest? During a recession? You bet! Falling share values can signal a good time to enter the market, as unit prices are low. You can buy more units for less money, and benefit from long term growth over time as the market recovers. If you’re stuck at home during lockdown and looking to sharpen up your finances, reading up on investing is a great place to start.
#4 Structure Your Savings Accounts
If you keep all your savings—or, ahem, lack of—in one random account with little structure or purpose, getting organised will instantly level up your money mindset. Split your savings accounts into categories, so you’re more connected to why you’re stashing cash. Then, watch those money pots grow!
#5 Free Up Hidden Cash
How much cash could be locked up in your life? Sort through your wardrobe and sell old clothes, check you’re not paying any hidden fees on accounts or credit cards, and finally get rid of that old iPhone you were holding onto ‘for emergencies’. If you’ve got a free day, decluttering your home and bank accounts can save you a ton, and even land you some quick sales cash in your pocket through selling on Facebook Marketplace or Depop.
#6 Audit Your Regular Expenses
One of the simplest ways to spruce up your finances is to shave back your expenses, even if it’s only a tiny bit. Contact your providers and see if there’s anything they can do for you. Speak to your mobile network. Could you get some more data for the same money, or switch to a cheaper plan? How about energy rates or credit card promotions? If you can’t get money off, see if you can get more out of your existing plan, and shop around for promotions like bonus frequent flyer points or vouchers.
#7 Follow Up On That Refund
Have you ever subscribed to something and completely forgotten about it? Or let an overdrawn fee slide on your bank account without asking for a reversal? Get comfortable with asking for refunds for errors or forgotten payments. The worst the company can say is no, and often, it’s a yes—and that means money back in your pocket!
#8 School Yourself On Insurance
Life insurance, total permanent disability insurance and income protection insurance are all things we should be talking about more. Look at different options for cover, including those within your superfund, and make sure that you’re insured for a suitable amount. Remember, things change. If you take out a mortgage of $500,000 but your life insurance is only for $200,000 worth of cover, you might want to up your protection.
#9 Collect Points
Do you regularly shop at the same supermarket and always shamefully tap the ‘no’ option when asked if you have a rewards card? Don’t write off points collecting as a lost cause. If you’re doing the shopping anyway, you may as well sign up to the loyalty program. Over time, you can earn big, and trade your points for vouchers or even home appliances.
#10 Set Some Goals
Sometimes, half the battle with money is a lack of vision. If you’re feeling murky on why you’re even striving to save, set some big goals. Have fun with it, be imaginative. What do you wish you could do? What would your ideal day look like? Then, set financial goals to suit that ideal state. You’ll find it way easier to resist that ‘nice top to go with jeans’ if you know what you’re striving for.
#11 Discover New Sources Of Income
If COVID-19 has taught us one thing, it’s that even the most secure jobs can fail you. Having more than one source of income gives you a crisis-proof financial position, no matter how small that extra income may be. If you want to level up your financial security this year, trying out some new ways to bring in extra money could help you get there.
These creative ways to make money from your couch are a great place to start.
Emma is a finance blogger at The Broke Generation and a reformed spendaholic. She shares hot tips on saving, property, tax, career and investing for millennials who want to break the spending cycle and get financially confident.
Image Credit: Christian Vierig