Spring cleaning is simultaneously awesome and awful isn't it?
You may have to give up some hours you’d far rather spend outside, when the sun finally comes out. Yet there are few things better than that amazing, fresh-start feeling you get from blowing the dust off everything.
And the same can be true when it comes to your money.
Just like now can be the perfect time to spring clean those closets, it’s also an ideal time to start organising, simplifying and helping set yourself up for financial wins.
Here’s our top three financial spring cleaning tips:
1. Review "fixed" costs in your monthly bills - whether interest, insurance or utility, if you've had a loan product for even as little as a year, you may find you can do better. Get rid of the word “fixed” from your vocabulary; there is no such thing. The hands-down easiest place to free up cash is your mortgage. It’s your biggest financial outlay, so naturally it also has the biggest potential to save you the most money. With insurances such as life and general, there are constantly better priced products available. A quick online search via a product watch website will highlight the savings. Try finder.com.au and comparethemarket.com.au. Special mention to the ombudsman’s official comparisons site for health insurance; private health.gov.au - it will quickly show you how much premium you could pocket. The web is your friend when it comes to cutting any other “fixed” costs - just by switching electricity providers you could pick up an average $400 a year.
There are also decent bucks lying in communication expenses, with a typical saving of $16 a month on phone plans and almost $50 on broadband. Check out whistleout.com.au and find some savings for yourself.
2. Can you hold your head high and say you never waste money? Lets keep it real.
Break out the highlighters and go old-school - get your credit card statements from the past six months and three different coloured highlighters. Use one colour to highlight your essential costs (utility bills, insurance, groceries, toiletries) etc., another colour to highlight items you bought because you really wanted them (the Netflix subscription or the new vacuum cleaner that promised twice the job in half the time), and lastly the less thoughtful purchases (like the naughty mid week round of drinks).
By highlighting your problem areas you can identify how much you’re spending on stuff you don't need or want. Then, go digital. Record expenses in a phone or desktop expenses application, track your progress, and set budgets for each area. By the time next Spring rolls around, you’ll have a record of the year’s spending and can see how your spending has ‘trended’ over time.
3. Create your own financial calendar because lets face it, it’s too easy to ignore financial tasks right up until the last minute (hello tax prep!). Simply set reminders through the year to review insurance policies, rebalance investments, or get a credit report. Google calendar is a good place to start; just set tasks you should complete each month and add personal due dates. For example, ‘Make final credit card debt payment - celebrate!’
And (hopefully) there's at least an easy couple of thousand sitting in your wallet to end winter next year.
If you're unsure where to start then contact us on (08) 6200 0269 or firstname.lastname@example.org for some more friendly advice.