Do you want more money?
Most Australians do.
But for most their problem is not earning more money, it’s keeping the money they’ve earned.
What are they doing wrong?
Well… usually it’s their bad money habits that let them down, so here’s 25 personal finance tips you should follow:
1. Start with paying better attention to your finances. Many people ignore their spending and just hope it will work out. Hope is not a good budgeting strategy. Instead, choose a system that works for you. Whether it is an app, spreadsheet, or something else, find a system to track your spending and budget. It is amazing what you will discover about your spending when you keep track of every dollar going out the door!
2. Faithfully following your budget. It’s one thing to create a budget, but if you don’t have the discipline to put it into action, why bother?
3. Keep track of your net worth. Your net worth is the what is left after you calculate your assets and your debts.
4. Set yourself financial goals and write them down. How much do you want to pay off? When? You can say you want to make plans all you want, but, until you do it, you are living in a fantasy. Make a plan and take action.
5. Pay off your debts as quickly as you can. Debt takes away your options and your financial freedom. The sooner you can get rid of it, the sooner you can start pursuing your dreams and living life on your own terms. Create a list of each debt, how much it is, and its current interest rate. Once you have your list completed, you can figure out a plan to pay off your debts — or drastically reduce them.
6. Spend less than you earn and start saving the rest. Start small. Start saving a little bit of money each week. Do you have a bill that needs to be paid? Pay the bill, buy the item, and keep the rest in your account. You don’t need a lot. $15 each week is still $15. The money will begin to add up over time.
7. Never buying anything on impulse. One of the best ways to help prevent this is to make a shopping list and then stick to it.
8. Do your research before purchasing extended warranties on items you buy — these are often a waste of money.
9. Pay attention to mortgage interest rates — even after you buy your home or investment. Banks will often drop their fees or lower interest rates if you ask.
10. Review your credit card statements for errors, signs of fraud or identity theft.
11. Pay your bills on time. By doing so you’ll avoid spending money on needless late fees.
12. Never assume past performance guarantees future results.
13. Read all contracts and make sure you know what you’re getting yourself in to before signing on the dotted line.
14. Pay more (much more) than the minimum on your credit card bills each month. Here’s a fact: making minimum payments each month will ensure you pay the maximum interest.
15. Only use your credit card to buy things if you can pay them off in full at the end of each month.
16. Leveraging “good debt” to purchase appreciating assets like investment grade real estate is a path to a higher income in the future.
17. Avoiding the lottery. Lottery is really a tax for people who can’t do maths
18. Avoiding cigarettes. Apart from the obvious health reason, it is a huge expense that burdens many people.
19. Ignoring the temptation to keep up with the Joneses. Learn to be happy with what you have. We tend to become obsessed with the idea of “acquiring stuff.” We need to learn how to appreciate what we have now. Take a look around you. You will see that you have a lot to be thankful for.
20. Avoid frugality as a means to achieve prosperity. You can only free up so much money by cutting expenses.
21. Occasionally reward yourself by splurging.
22. Maintaining an emergency fund. Everyone should have between three and six months of living expenses in the bank or in an offset account.
23. Resist the urge to tap your emergency fund for non-emergencies.
24. Create a file for tax deductions — get organised using a program such as Evernote to keep track of all your tax information it’s in the one place at tax time.
25. Treat your household like a business. By taking an active role in managing your personal finances — and looking at ways to maximize your income — you’ll ensure a brighter financial future for you and your family.
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