In times of economic uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to be aware of your personal financial situation.
As a customer-owned bank, we understand that the impact of COVID-19 has created financial stress for many Australians. If you’ve been thinking about resetting your budget, now could be an ideal time to put these practical ideas into place and stay on top of your finances.
Knowing what you spend on is a good place to start.
Look back on your transaction history and calculate three to six months' worth of living expenses. Include your rent or loan payments, utilities like electricity, gas, internet and phone bills, and other day-to-day essentials.
Once you have those figures you can start seeing where you could save. You may well be able to find a cheaper gas or electricity provider, with government websites available to help you check.
Is your phone plan still under contract?
If not, odds are you could find a cheaper plan without downgrading your service, the same with your internet. It’s surprising how often we stick with our regular payments when there are so many more affordable options around and it’s just as surprising how much we can save if we do our research.
Next, you’ve got to sort out your less essential outgoings and ones which aren’t really giving you your money’s worth. For example, many of us subscribe to streaming services which we hardly use.
Make it special.
Eating takeaway is a luxury which seems to have become commonplace. Sure, it’s a nice thing to do, but it drains money. We all want to treat ourselves sometimes, but try twice a month instead of twice a week.
Make special events in the calendar where you budget take-out, or date night. Cutting back will make those experiences more special when they happen.
Pay your credit card on time.
If you have a credit card or use other forms of credit such as buy now, pay later services, try to take steps to meet your repayments to minimise the interest you pay. Paying your credit card on time will help you avoid extra interest and late fees. If you can, try to pay off more than the minimum monthly repayments to reduce the interest you are charged and pay off your balance faster.
Finding yourself in debt can increase stress and lead to depression, which occasionally leads to yet more reckless spending. Consider setting up a monthly direct debit to redirect some of your salary towards your credit card to pay off your balance sooner.
Try to live within your means.
Seeing your savings start to build-up is an inspiration to save even more. So, consider opening a Bank First Bonus Saver Account. It gives you higher interest rates than some other accounts, so as your money starts to grow, you’ll be rewarded with a little bit more.
While economic uncertainty is beyond our control, what we can control is how we manage our finances, to plan for a more secure future.
If you want to start planning for your future with Bank First, check out our financial planning offering here. If you have any specific financial queries, call Bank First at 1300 654 822, we’ll be happy to discuss them with you.