Why now? Well, in Melbourne the festive season is starting to warm up, with footy final fever in the air and the Spring Carnival not too far away, it will be Christmas before you know it! Giving your finances some attention now, will give you enough time to sustainably budget for the festive season so that you don’t blow your budget and chance of reaching your goals in the the new calendar year!
Clear out the cobwebs
Take a minute to sit down and review your budget. Make sure you have all the relevant information from your bank statements, tax notice of assessment, budgeting app, etc. In the last twelve months, have you stuck to your spending and saving guidelines? If not, what patterns can you see that you’ll want to ‘clear out’ of your spending habits for the coming year? This is your chance to develop a plan for avoiding wasteful spending. For example, if you notice that you’ve spent a lot on takeaway meal delivery, perhaps you could try planning a week of meals or signing up for that cooking class you’ve always wanted to take.
TIP: Don’t forget to review all your monthly subscriptions to check if you still need them, paying for something you don’t use is the worst!
Fix that safety net
Now’s a great time to fix your financial safety net – your insurance. The fact is, the various risks and liabilities in your life change all the time. Sometimes it’s a little more obvious, like welcoming a new baby, or moving house. But some of the risks you can insure against shift a little more subtly. For example, you may have made a few purchases that you should have included in your contents insurance, but didn’t add them individually at the time or you may have received a pay increase and need to review your Income Protection Insurance.
TIP: Check up and fix your buffer account too, do you have at least 3 months worth of income saved in case of an emergency?
Plant seeds for the future
Herbs, fruits, veggies, flowers – all the best stuff is planted in spring for harvesting weeks or months down the track! While you’re in the ‘planning ahead’ mindset, have a think about your superannuation. Chances are that by now, you’ll have received a statement from your super fund with the details of your contributions, returns, fees paid and more. Take this opportunity to review whether your super is on track according to your long term goals. Use the budget info you gathered earlier to see whether there’s room for you to make some extra contributions on a regular basis. If you do find that you’re on track, think about other ways to put your money to work for your financial future. For example, you may consider other ways you can invest.
TIP: Shares are a great way to invest for medium and long term goals and you can start with as little as $100!
Reset and revamp
Working out whether you’re on track with your budget and goals is a great start. But when was the last time you thought about what those goals should look like? Everyone’s circumstances, desires and priorities change. It’s normal to not have the exact same financial goals from one year to the next. That’s why it’s a good idea to review your previous benchmarks, even if you don’t end up changing what you’re aiming for. Carve some time out of your schedule, sit down with yourself/ partner/family, and have a chat about your ideas of financial success or independence.
TIP: Having someone to keep you accountable can make all the difference in achieving your goals!
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