Say goodbye to sleepless nights forever with these simple tips on managing your money more effectively.
It’s so easy to fall into the trap. You earn a little more, you spend a little more. But what happens when your spending outweighs your earnings? It’s happened to us all at some stage – and it can be one of life’s most stressful situations. Look your financial woes in the eyes with these simple tips, and get your finances back in the black.
1. Look before you leap
Before jumping straight into solution mode and perhaps tackling just one area of concern, why not talk to a professional who can help you understand your entire financial situation?
- A financial advisor can help focus your efforts and really understand what issues need to be addressed. The first meeting is generally free – and there’s no obligation to take matters further. If you‘d like advice on choosing a reputable advisor, MoneySmart is a fantastic resource.
2. Compare and repair
It’s impossible to avoid some payments in life – mortgage/rent, insurance, car loan, utilities, even credit cards – but you can avoid paying too much.
- Take some time to compare the arrangements you currently have in place and you could save yourself hundreds of dollars a year. Try InfoChoice (Aus), Bankrate (US)and Deposits (Asia) to name a few.
- If you’re still struggling with your mortgage, look at the options offered by your provider. Many offer bundled services – such as the Breakfree Package – that provide a range of potential savings. You may also want to consider a fixed-term arrangement while interest rates are low. And if you’re really struggling, consider asking for a payment holiday or interest-only plan over the short term.
3. Prepare for the end of year
Most of us hear the word “tax” and our eyes immediately glaze over. But there are so many ways in which you can make tax work for you.
- Firstly, find a tool that makes tax a little easier to understand. Apps such as my Tax (Aus), which calculates your tax liabilities, and my Tax Return (Aus), which estimates your tax refund, are great. SnapTax (US) enables you to actually file your tax return while IRS2Go (US) helps you check on the status of your tax refund.
- Once you have a better understanding of your tax situation, you can make it work for you. As the end of financial year looms, consider strategies such as deferring income until the next year to stay within your tax bracket – for example, ask your employer to pay your bonus in the next year instead of this one. And take advantage of provisions that may expire at year-end – for example, the Australian government offers super co-contributions based on after-tax contributions you’ve made in that financial year (conditions apply).
4. Put all your eggs in one basket
If your store and credit card situation is out of control, consider consolidating your debt into a personal loan instead.
- The interest rates are often much cheaper and it’s easier to manage one payment per month. Many finance providers offer debt consolidation services – and you can often apply online and get a response in minutes.
- If you feel your problem is a little bigger, help is available. There are free services such as financial counsellors (Aus) and the National Debt Relief (US).
5. Home is where the heart is
Once you have identified ways to save a little more money, how about considering making more money without even leaving your home?
- Let’s start with eBay – a seller’s paradise. Listings can often be free, there are no overheads and you’re clearing out your trash, which can be another man’s treasure.
- Tap into your own skill set. Can you cook? Are you great at DIY? Tutoring? Offer your services locally to start with, then branch out. Build your own website for free–WIX offers thousands of templates to choose from. If you’d like to register your services with a provider instead, consider Airtasker (Aus and Asia) and TaskRabbit (US).
- If you’d prefer a little more guidance, resources such as Homebusiness-finder (Aus) will help you identify the best home business for you. Or, if you know freelance work is your best option, consider registering with companies such as Elance, Freelancer (Aus) or FlexJobs (US).
Money doesn’t need to matter so much anymore with these simple life hacks.
Important note – The above lifehack provides general information only and is not advice. ANZ makes no representation as to its accuracy, adequacy or completeness.