How can you get on top of your spending and start saving?

How can you get on top of your spending and start saving? 1

Budgeting and saving money, wouldn’t it be great if you could get all the family involved!

Sometimes juggling the family budget and adding to your savings account can be as hard as playing a game of “Jenga” with the family! Everyone can help to find ways to save but first you need to understand how you are spending your money. Following on from our recent article 8 simple steps to get your finances back on track, we’ve compiled some useful links and apps to help you keep on top of your spending habits and start saving you money!

Whether you’re single, a young married couple or a family with kids, it always pays to regularly review your finances to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Not only that, but as a mother with a young family I also think it’s important to educate our children on money matters from a young age to better prepare them for later in life. By starting now, kids will develop good money habits and learn valuable lessons.

As technology plays a big part in our lives, having access to the right apps and knowing where to go to get the best information can help you make smarter financial decisions and make things easier to manage. Here are my top recommendations:

Budgeting tools

Having a budget tool is a great way to help you stay on track and manage what is happening with your finances. Below are 2 tools that are worth trialling to see what works best for you:

Pocketbook app

Pocketbook is free. One of its best features is that it syncs with your bank account, so you can import and categorise your transactions. Pocketbook also allows you to track your bills and salary, get a visual breakdown of your spending and track your savings progress. Find out more about Pocketbook here.

Moneysmart – Track My Spend App

This app is also free. It does not sync with your bank account so if you feel more comfortable with that then this is the app for you. You do have to put in all your transactions manually but this maybe good as it makes you more aware of what you are spending. You can access Track My Spend through iTunes here.

For families with young children

Spriggy

Spriggy is an Australian business, fully independent from the banks. They help raise financial literacy in Australian kids. There is a digital account for the parents called the parent wallet and a Spriggy account for each of the children. You can manage your children’s account through the phone app. Kids get their own app and personalised card to manage spending and savings. You can transfer pocket money onto their card through the app. Kids can only spend what is on the card. The app teaches kids about money, savings and thoughtful spending; plus it teaches them early on how a card works! Get started with Spriggy here.

Savings spree

SAVINGS SPREE is based on the Money Saving Generation concept for teaching kids’ financial responsibility. The concept uses an actual divided piggy bank with sections for SAVE, SPEND, DONATE, and INVEST to help kids choose where to put their money. The app includes resources for parents, tutorials for kids about making wise decisions about money, and a game show-like activity where kids earn, spend, and save virtual money. You can download the Savings Spree App through iTunes here.

Looking for better deals?

Private Health Insurance

There are many areas where you can save money, one of which is reviewing your insurances: home & contents, car and in particular, private health insurance. Aside from jumping online and shopping around (the obvious ones here are iselect & compare the market), sometimes its better to speak with an insurance rep who can help you determine the cover that’s best for you (and your pocket).

You can beat the price rise in April by checking out our special offer from TAL by completing the form here.

Credit Cards

Is your credit card out of control? Consider transferring your current balance to a 0% interest credit card to save on interest payments for the first twelve months. This will help you get on top of paying it down faster. You can review some options through finder.com.au here.

Home loans

Save on interest rates by reviewing your current home loan. If you can reduce your current rate by 1% you could be saving thousands (that’s around $4,000* – $5,000 in your pocket every year, if your mortgage is $400,000 to $500,000). If your interest rate starts with a 5, you are definitely missing out, so the timing could be right for you to speak with one of our lending specialists to see how much you could be saving. Find out more here.

Electricity bills

Electricity Monster is a great website to help you with everything you need to know about dealing with your electricity! Everything from how to read your electricity bill, comparing rates, finding the right service provider and top tips to save money! This website is a must if you want help bringing your electricity bill under control. To see how Electricity Monster can help you head here.   

Save on subscriptions

Do you really need that Foxtel subscription with all the bells & whistles? Are you watching all the channels like you thought you were?  Could you reduce the subscription or do away with it all together? Do you need Netflix and Stan, is 1 enough? The local library holds DVD’s on a lot of the popular programs that you can rent for free.

Memberships

Do you attend the gym regularly and are you using your membership to its fullest potential? Could you look for free exercise programs in the community?  Or find a gym that holds the style of exercise you like with a lower fee?

Grocery savings

Writing a shopping list and purchasing only what you need. Don’t just buy the same items each week or you may find you’re spending money on items you don’t need.

Create a menu plan and purchase just what you need, get the kids to help plan meals, getting them involved not only helps with them enjoying what they eat but also teaches them what is involved in budgeting and meal planning.  You can use some of the left-over fruits and veggies from the week before to cook up some healthy snacks for school lunches and save on buying pre-packaged items.

Looking through weekly specials can really help on reducing costs. I’m not one to spend my day running around shopping in multiple stores, so I shop online and do parcel pick up (which is free), then I only have to go into 1 store (Aldi) if needed to pick up the specials as they don’t do pick and collect.  This saves time and money.

Quick saving tips

  • Cut back on take aways, lunches and coffees out.
  • Pay bills on time to save on late fees
  • Cook larger meals and save left overs for lunches or another meal during the week.
  • Check your bank balance to ensure you don’t get overdrawn fees
  • Use a budget app to stay on track.

Every little bit helps to add extra dollars to your savings account. Even if you only do one of the things from the suggestions above to help you save money, you’ve taken one step closer to helping you and your family achieve your dreams. Get the family involved, they can all help to make your savings account grow!

Good luck and if you have any great savings tips, tricks or apps that you think can help please share them with me here [admin@sunlifegroup.com.au]!

by Jillian Luman

 

 

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