I don’t know about you, but my finances are never far from my thoughts. No sooner has my pay check landed in my bank account, than it is leaving again – on its way to pay mortgages, bills, loans and everyday living expenses. With houses costing around 6 times the average yearly wage in 2000s, compared to 3 times the average yearly wage in the 1980s, Australia is now the third most expensive country in the world to purchase a house in regards to income earnt vs house price. So, how can we make the most of each dollar?

Firstly, we know a lot goes on to the big things, like rent, phone, travel, electricity etc, but where does the rest go? Start by keeping track of all of your expenses – every single cent should be accounted for. Be honest, don’t leave out things because you think they don’t make a big difference, the little things soon add up. For example, if you work 5 days per week and buy 1 coffee per day at $5, that costs you $1300 per year.

Once you have pinpointed where your money is going you can see where you can make changes and cut back, and make a realistic budget encompassing all of your incomings and outgoings.

Decide how much you would like to be saving each week/month with a set figure, e.g $300, and include that in your budget. Don’t plan to just save whatever is left over from your pay at the end of the pay period as you will always find a way to spend “left over” money.

Here are some key tips for you:

  1. Change to instant coffee instead of buying one each day, or cut down how many you buy each week.
  2. If you aren’t using a room in your house, turn the lights off.
  3. Set appliances such as the dishwasher and washing machine to come on overnight, when your electricity is off peak and cheaper.
  4. Cut down time spent in the shower and install a water saving shower head.
  5. If your bank charges unnecessary fees, shop around and find an account that works for you. Just going from $5 per month account keeping fee, to a fee free account saves $60 per year.
  6. Instead of having a night out in the city with friends, invite them over to your place. You will save money on drinks, cover charges, and taxis but still have a great night with friends.
  7. Make meals at home, and portion them up to take to work with you along with snacks and drinks. You will spend a fraction of the cost than if you were buying food and drinks each day.
  8. Use a budget planner.

Author: Service Skills Academy

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