It feels like only yesterday we were cooped up in our houses with not much else to do but binge Netflix, try our best at 1000-piece puzzles, head out for a Government-mandated walk and hang out on Zoom with friends. Now, things are looking different and we’re seeing light at the end of the Corona tunnel, with restaurants, gyms, bars and life in general slowly beginning to resume regular programming across the country.
With dining out back on the menu, cheeky afternoon drinks at the pub back on the cards and our social lives beginning to prosper once again, our bank accounts and outgoings seem to tell a different story. It’s safe to say we’ve been left wondering how we ever seemed to manage to juggle all of life’s expenses along with a social life, so we’ve partnered with Up to dissect 5 easy ways to get a handle of budgeting post-COVID-19.
Get To Know Your Spending
With the possibilities for our disposable income now seeming both endless and more exciting than ever, it’s easy to get carried away without any real knowledge of what you’re doing and how it’s impacting your ability to budget. So with that in mind, the first real step of any kind of budgeting is to deep dive into your spending habits. Let’s be real — those impromptu trips to the pub are definitely starting to add up by the end of the month.
Have a look at your outgoings and work out where most of your money is being spent. Rent and groceries are non-negotiable, but if you’re spending a third of your salary on buying clothes, it might be time to reassess. There are plenty of tools that can help you to dissect your spending, including the Up app, which not only automatically categorises your spending, it also allows you to see how much you’ve spent at every single store-front and online store. So without even trying, you know exactly where you’re spending and where you might need to cut back.
Stop Hiding From Your Bills
The saying might be ‘ignorance is bliss’ but when it comes to bills, we can assure you it’s best to face them head-on. Whether it’s your monthly car insurance repayments, gas bills or even small debits like Spotify and Netflix, these monthly debits add up, and they're not going anywhere. So when it comes to debits it’s best to be financially prepared, especially when late fees are involved.
Take the time to check your bank statements and work out exactly how much you need to pay each month in bills and ensure you’re including that in your budgeting. You can even set calendar reminders to ensure they don’t sneak up on you. Better yet, use an app that will learn your regular charges and predict when they will next occur, so you can easily factor into your decision-making before you spend.
Set Clear Goals
Whether you’re planning on heading to Europe with your mates, organising your wedding, looking to buy a house, planning on hitting up a slew of music festivals next summer, or D, all of the above, it’s important to set clear and specific savings goals.
If you only have one account for spending and one for saving, it can be hard to manage to save for multiple things at once and reaching your end goal can prove difficult. That’s why it’s important to set up separate Savers that will allow you to clearly see what you need to save for and how far you’ve got to go. Allowing to set separate saving amounts as your goal will help to keep you accountable and motivated to save instead of splurge.
Plan Your Payday
We all know payday is one of the greatest days of the month (or fortnight/week), but if there’s one thing we don’t like about it, it’s the false sense of security it always seems to give us. So, we’re here to burst your bubble and let you know that while you might feel rich on payday, if you don’t manage your money wisely, you’re going to feel rich for one day and poor for the next 29.
The pay cycle is a marathon, not a race, so it’s important to have a plan in place for how you’re going to budget before it hits your account and you feel the sudden urge to spend it all. Up’s Pay Splitting feature is an easy way to automate your salary to go into separate savers as soon as you get paid. Simply adjust the percentages of your pay that you want to go into separate accounts and watch the temptation to blow your cash vanish before your eyes.
Slow And Steady Saving Wins The Race
While you might be feeling eager and ready to smash your saving goals, it’s important not to set the bar too high. If you set yourself unrealistic targets, you won’t be able to get by until your next payday, leaving you to start dipping into your savings. Once you start dipping into your savings you might start to feel disheartened at your efforts or lose your momentum and drive.
Keep your savings goals at a manageable amount so you can still enjoy your life while reaching your end goal. Don’t feel stressed or defeated if it takes you a little longer, just stick to what you can. A super-easy way to save small amounts without even thinking is using Round-Ups to take your purchases to the nearest dollar, as well as being able to add extra ‘boosters’, putting those extra dollars and cents into the saver of your choice. Round up your $4.50 coffee to $5, add a $2 booster and by the end of the week, you’ve saved $15 towards your Bali trip without even realising. Now that’s our kind of saving.
Keen to get a handle on your post COVID spending with some help from Up? Any new Up account created through this link will give our U:L readers a cool $10 in their account immediately. What are you waiting for? Code expires 30 September 2020.
Please note this article contains general advice only. Please consider your personal circumstances before making a decision to join Up. Click here for conditions. Product issuer Bendigo & Adelaide Bank.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Up and proudly endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.
Image credit: Kevin Schmid