Today marks the beginning of a new financial year, and the end of annoying ads about ‘never to be repeated’ end of financial year deals that can really ruin the whole MasterChef experience.
About five months and three weeks have passed since most people gave up on their ill-fated New Year’s resolutions to be better with money, and there are six whole months to go before it’s time to make (and then break) them again.
But rather than writing off the entire year as yet another failed attempt to be financially responsible, now is actually the perfect time to revisit your financial resolutions.
Six months is long enough to make significant progress towards your goals, and with no silly season hangover to blame for falling off the wagon you’re far more likely to hold yourself accountable. Here are six new financial year resolutions that anyone can benefit from.
1. Become a cash flow ninja
It doesn’t matter how much you earn, at some stage your finances will fall over if you don’t have a basic idea of what you’re spending.
Find a quiet corner and say the following words out loud (try to ignore your sibling, partner or flatmate secretly filming you with their phone):
“I will make a budget. I understand it is simply a record of my income and expenses and will take me five minutes to pull together. And I accept that it is only my own laziness and fear of finding out how much money I really spend on savvy b that’s stopping me from taking control of my finances”.
Need help? Here’s a budget template.
2. Give your money meaning
The simplest way to give your money meaning is to set some financial goals.
Goals give you something to work towards, and they’ll keep you warm during those lonely nights on the couch when your budget doesn’t allow you to spend any more money.
3. Start saving automatically
On that joyous day when your pay finally hits your bank account, it’s easy to forget about all of your good savings intentions and blow the lot faster than you can say ‘late night shopping’.
So remove the temptation. Set up an automatic debit that moves money to a separate, high interest savings account on the same day that you get paid.
Make it an account that’s not linked to a debit card, and one that you can’t access without an overnight transfer for an increased chance of success.
4. Cut down on pointless expenses
Yes, you feel like a baller when you pick up your avo on toast and a strong flat white from the local café every morning.
But it’s not helping you stick to your budget and achieve your savings goals.
So review your regular expenses and resolve to cut out those ‘nice to haves.’ You’ll hit your goals even faster.
5. Stop spending money you don’t have on stuff you don’t need.
Resolution number five is to stop buying things on credit. If you can’t afford to buy something with cash, then you can’t afford to buy it on plastic.
And if you already have a credit card debt, now is the time to tackle it head on.
Focus all of your spare cash on paying off the balance as quickly as possible. If you’re choking on the high monthly interest payments then look into a balance transfer deal to give you some breathing space.
6. Take your finances to the next level.
If you already have a brilliant budget, concrete goals and a big pile of cash in the highest of high interest savings accounts, it’s time to take your finances to the next level.