October 19, 2018

10 Smart Things to Do with Your Money Before 30

A lot of people say it’s better to start saving as early as possible, and for some, being in your 20s is a great time to save and prepare for your future. In your 20’s, time is on your side and you can take advantage of compound interest for a longer period than if you started saving after you turn 30 when you are likely to have more responsibilities such as possibly having kids, a more demanding career, etc.

So what can you do with your money before you reach the age of 30? Here are several practical tips to consider:

1. Set financial goals

Set clear, specific, and realistic goals, then list the steps to achieve them.

2. Lower your expenses

Check your household budget planner and find out where you can cut corners. For instance, if you buy lunch every day, you can make your own at home.

3. Pay on time and in full

Avoid where possible, paying interest charges on credit cards by making payments on time and in full.

4. Get insurance

This may be an additional monthly expense, but not having it could potentially cost you much more.

5. Have more than one source of income

Having multiple streams of income can help you save more and reach your financial goals faster.

6. Invest

Saving is accumulating cash for short-term goals, while investing is saving money that will eventually generate income for you in the longer term.

7. Understand superannuation

This tax-friendly investment option will provide you with income in your retirement. Understand the rules and be sure to invest in options that help your money grow.

8. Invest in yourself

Further hone your skills and learn new ones. Read books regularly and watch webinars or listen to talks about topics which will help grow your capabilities and open your eyes to new life opportunities.

9. Surround yourself with like-minded people

It helps to be with people who share your vision and interests, as this can further motivate you to save and invest.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

There is a wide range of resources about what you can do with your money in your 20s. You can also ask people who have knowledge and expertise about investment products that you’re interested in

Do you have other household budget planner tips? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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Budgeting Tips for Gen Y

Budgeting is a financial skill that everyone needs to learn. Not only does it help you determine where your money is going, it also enables you to ensure that you only spend within your means and save on a regular basis.

Here are some things that Gen Y should take into account when it comes to budgeting:

Create a list of expenses

For a generation that tends to do everything themselves, thanks to technology, it’s not enough to be diligent in paying all your bills. List all your expenses every month so you’ll have a clear picture of where your money is going and be able to see opportunities for saving. You have expenses that you can eliminate or reduce so you’ll have extra cash for other things.

Save regularly

Part of budgeting is keeping aside a portion of your money. For many, they save whatever’s left of their income after the expenses. You need to save first and then spend whatever’s left. Do this regularly and you’ll be able to save more.

Use a household budget planner

Millennials usually rely on the internet to look for information. Well, you can do your budgeting tasks online with a household budget planner. There are several websites and apps that offer this online tool.

Learn how to invest 

What’s great about being young is that time is on your side. Financially, you can use this time to your advantage by getting started with investing. Nowadays, you don’t need a lot of money to build a diversified portfolio. A financial adviser will be able to guide you about what investments will best grow your money for the long term.

Build your retirement plan

It’s understandable that many in Gen Y will not even think about saving for retirement at this point in their lives but, when it comes to saving for anything, it’s crucial to start as early as possible. Take advantage of the compounding growth that can significantly increase your super.

Do you have other budgeting tips for Gen Y? You can share your ideas in the comments section.

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How to manage your finances through apps

Technology has drastically changed how we live our lives. We can now easily do things with just a touch of a finger thanks to the little gadget we carry around in our pockets. It has changed how we communicate, shop, travel, look for jobs and apartments, and so much more. Of course, managing our personal finances and banking is no exception.

Using a money management app makes budget planning a lot simpler. You know where your money is going, it keeps track of your spending patterns, and it can even help you achieve your financial goals. While money management apps are great tools to take control of your personal finances, they are certainly not created equal.

In this article, we take a look at different money apps that are worth downloading.

Money Lover

The Money Lover app can track all of your expenses, income, debts, bills, and payments. It lets you input every transaction you make and add details such as category, location, pictures of your purchase or receipt, and notes. You can even see a pie chart of your expenditures and see what category you spend the most on.

Favourite feature: It has a travel mode feature you can turn on when you’re travelling. This lets you better manage and budget for your travel expenses.

Availability: Android and Apple

Mvelopes

The “envelop” system is a famous budgeting strategy. The Mvelopes app offers a digital way to organise your finances through the envelope system. It lets you divide your bills into separate envelopes such as groceries, utilities, dining out, and more.

Favourite feature: This app lets you import cheque, savings and credit card accounts so you can better track all your activities within one single app.

Availability: Android and Apple

Bill Watch

If you’re goal is to organise all your bills, then Bill Watch is the perfect money app for iOS users. This basically lets you track and manage all sorts of bills. You can input the bill amount, the status, and even set a reminder, so you will never miss paying a bill again.

Favourite feature: The bills report includes features such as bills trend, bills by category, bills by payee/payer and bills by payment amount.

Availability: Apple

YNAB

Unlike other money management apps, You Need A Budget or YNAB focuses on where you want/should spend your money. With the simple interface, you can easily keep track of your expenditures and see whether or not you’re staying within your budget.

Favourite feature: You can set and track financial goals so you can reach them faster.

Availability: Android and Apple

Money management apps can truly make your life easier and help put your finances in better order.

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Top 5 Household Budgeting Hacks

Managing the household budget is not always a fun activity. It’s something that not a lot of people look forward to doing, considering the numerous things to take into account. Also, some find it hard to work around an average household income in Australia. But creating a household budget is essential in managing your personal fiannce, and it shouldn’t be a challenging task. There are so many ways to make this a hassle-free task.

In this article, we take a look at five household budgeting hacks that you can do on a regular basis to ensure that everything is take care of.

Use a household budget planner

Create a list of expenses – from food and transportation, to leisure and utility bills – in a budget planner. This will make it easy for you to know where your money is going and look for areas where you can better manage your budget. Just with a quick search online and you’ll also see a household budget calculator which is also great for keeping track of all monthly expenses.

Save money on food

This gets a lion’s share of the weekly budget, and as any money-conscious person who goes grocery shopping will attest, there are a lot of ways to save money on food. Try some or all of these: Prepare meatless dinners several times a week. Buy fresh produce at local markets. Plan your meals for the entire week.

Save money on cleaning products

There are so many fancy cleaning products in supermarkets nowadays, and these can be expensive. Take the DIY route and make your own natural cleaners. Do some research and learn how to make your own cleaning products with simple ingredients such as vinegar and baking soda. Not only will you be able to save money, but also minimise your impact on the environment.

Pay debts with extra or unexpected income

It’s hard to build your savings if you are struggling to pay off your debts. So when you have extra or unexpected income, make sure to clear your debts first. In this way, you will be able to manage your income flow much sooner and eventually save more money.

Save money on utility bills

There are many ways to keep water and electricity consumption low so you can reduce your bills and allot more money to savings or other things. Make it a collective effort with the entire family. Turning off lights when they are not in use or using energy-efficient devices may not sound much, but in the long run you’ll see that you can lower your water and electricity bills by making these small changes.

Do you have other household budget tips? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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The Importance of Creating a Household Budget

All types of families handle their household budget in different ways, though the main goal is to have an idea of how much to spend and how much to save on a monthly or yearly basis. It is highly important to learn how to budget especially when money is tight. Only through budgeting can you save money and not knowing how to do this puts you at risk of losing money when you didn’t have to.

A household budget calculator is an online tool that you can use to determine the amount that you can spend depending on your income. This is essential to families who are very serious about their financial future. Budgeting should be done to manage all of our finances because having this control has the following benefits:

You can monitor what is coming in and out every week or month

With effective household budgeting, you can see what your daily, weekly and monthly expenses are. You can see immediately what action is needed to be taken, or if everything flows smoothly.

Budgeting helps you adapt to different financial circumstances

For example, when your electric bill rises by a few dollars per month, you can check your expenses and see where you can cut corners to make up for this increase.

Reducing your expenses is always the best solution

Budgeting makes it easier to see what expenses you can slash or eliminate, or what you are overspending on. If you have expenses that are standing out in your list, you can identify them and make the necessary changes.

You know the difference between your income and expenses

A household budget doesn’t just determine the money you have versus the money you spend. It also shows the difference between your income and expenses. This shows you whether your budgeting strategy is effective, or ongoing expenses are much more than what you’re earning. The aim is to have leftover money for the things that you want, or save that money for your long-term plans.

Final thoughts

Managing your money will help your family avoid getting into huge debts, and household budgeting will greatly reduce your financial stress. The key is to never spend more than you earn, and this applies to all households, no matter how much the income and expenses are. You can stick to this rule by making a savings plan and you will certainly reach your goal of spending less which will turn into significant savings.

Do you have other ideas on creating a household budget? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Useful Budgeting Apps that Everyone Should Know About

Before, tools that were used for creating a household budget were a pen and paper. But in this day and age when everything goes digital and automated, we see a lot of different online tools and apps that are designed to help people in managing their income and expenses. You can use a household budget calculator, as well as other apps and tools for ease and convenience. Here are some useful budgeting apps that you should know about:

TrackMySPEND

Available at the Apple and Android Stores, this free tracking app is ideal for those who are just getting started with their household budget.  It’s easy to use and understand. You can set up your spending cycle as well as the spending limit.  After that, you can list down your expenses classified into categories, as well as the amount.

Platform availability: iOS and Android

PocketBook

Looking for something basic? Consider this budget tracking app. Its user interface and functions make it easy to use and understand. With PocketBook, you can see all of your transactions in one place and know where your money goes. It also has a feature that divides all expenses into categories with charts so you can analyze your spending easily. And this app is free!

Platform availability: iOSAndroid, and website

MoneyBrilliant

If you’re up for a more comprehensive app to create and organise your household budget, check out MoneyBrilliant. It goes beyond listing down your expenses. It aims to give you a clear picture of your overall finances by including details about your super and investments. It also keeps track of your bill payments. MoneyBrilliant likewise has features that will help you achieve your financial goals.

Platform availability: iOSAndroid, and website

Splitwise

Here’s one useful app for people who like going out for lunch or dinner with friends. Splitwise is designed to make splitting the bill much easier. It creates multiple groups of friends or colleagues, and when it’s time to pay the bill, it keeps track of who still hasn’t given his/her share. You can also receive notifications once an expense is updated or created. This will help you to stick to your budget when dining out. This budgeting tool is free and available at Apple and Android Stores.

Platform availability: iOSAndroid, and website

Make use of budgeting tools so you can keep track of your spending even when you’re on the go. By knowing where your money goes, you can better manage your finances and find more ways to save money.

Do you use other household budget planners? Share your household tips in the comments section.

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Budgeting Plan for New Parents

Having a baby is an exciting affair. There’s a new sense of joy and excitement in the household. Of course, it comes with a lot of changes.  These include your household finances. As new parents, managing the household budget with a new addition to the family can be overwhelming. But don’t worry. There are several things that you can do to manage a budgeting plan. Here are some things to take into account:

Understand your income and expenses

Know how much is coming in and list down all payments that need to be made on a monthly basis. Work around your income and look for areas where you can cut corners.

To keep everything organised, you can use a household budget planner

There are a lot of apps and online budget programs designed to make the budgeting plan a lot easier to manage. You can also use a household budget calculator to give you a clear idea of where your money goes.

Save part of one income while you’re pregnant

Once the baby arrives, the household will only have one income, so be prepared for this situation. There are household budget planners that enable new parents to see estimates of their cash flow for up to one year. In this way, you’ll be able to manage the household budget more effectively.

Ask about your paid leave entitlements

Check if you’re entitled to maternity leave, recreation or annual leave or long service leave. You can also check out the Government website to see if there are tax benefits, baby bonus or paid parental leave that may be suitable for your situation.

Consider pre-loved baby items

It is understandable for new parents to want the best things for their baby. But if you’re on a budget, buying secondhand items is the way to go. Save money by finding great bargains online and retail stores. You can check out garage sales for other baby essentials such as a crib or stroller.

Bulk buying of baby essentials is another way to stay within your household budget

Nappies, baby wipes, and toiletries are some of the things that you can buy in bulk so you can save money.

Think about your child care options

Reach out to relatives or friends who can help you in taking care of the baby, especially if you already need to go back to work. Look for a childcare centre that meets your needs and budget. You can likewise ask your employer if they offer on-site child care.

Got other household budget tips? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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13 Ways to Cut Down Your Monthly Expenses

Australian households vary in their monthly expenses but one thing’s for sure. There are instances when expenses are increasing month after month that it becomes hard to manage. This is especially true if the income of the family stays the same. How can you cut down your monthly expenses? Here are 13 simple ways that you may want to consider:

Create a household budget

Know your income and total expenses for the month and create a household budget. This will greatly help you in managing your money and making sure that everything will be accounted for. You can use a household budget planner and household budget calculator for easier planning.

Buy things that are on sale

Save money by buying things during the sale season instead of paying for the full price. Watch out for annual sale or Boxing Day Sale. You can also visit an outlet mall for purchases at discounted prices.

Save on electricity

Unplug appliances when not in use. Replace incandescent bulbs with LED ones. Use a programmable thermostat so you can manage the heating and cooling settings when you’re asleep or away from home.

Lower your water consumption

Take shorter showers. Regularly check taps for leaks. Use rainwater for watering the plants. Use the dishwasher and washing machine only when they’re full.

Check your bills regularly

You can actually cut down monthly expenses by checking your bills for mistakes. There are cases of errors on receipts, bills, and monthly statements.

Master meal planning

Food accounts for a large part of the monthly expenses. To save money, plan your meals for the entire week and create a list of everything you need for that period. This will help save you a lot of time and money while grocery shopping.

Take a walk or ride your bike

If the office, school or supermarket is within walking or cycling distance, take a walk or ride your bike instead of driving your car or taking the public transport. This will cut down your transportation costs for the month.

Bring your own coffee and lunch for work

The cost of coffee may be little, but if you add everything up, you might be surprised at how much you’re paying for your daily coffee. The same holds true for your lunch. Instead of eating out or buying fancy coffee, make your own food and drink at home and bring them to work.

Buy generic brands

Health bills can be reduced by buying generic medicine instead of the branded ones.

Automate

Pay bills one time and avoid penalties by setting up automatic payments.

Leave the credit card at home

Sometimes, marketing tactics are too strong for our willpower. Avoid impulse buying by leaving your card at home.

Refinance your mortgage or car loan

There may be cases wherein refinancing will help reduce your monthly repayments without dramatically increasing the total cost of your loan. Do some research and see if refinancing will help cut down your expenses.

Negotiate for lower rates

Whether it’s for interest rates or loan payments, it doesn’t hurt to ask if there’s a better plan for you. As they always say, “if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.”

Do you have other household tips? Share your household budget planner ideas in the comments section.

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Steps to Create Your Household Budget Plan

There are people who enjoy creating household budgets in Australia. They are eager to know how much money comes in, the expenses on a certain period of time, and the ways to cut costs. But for others, budgeting can mean spreadsheets and constant tracking that can lead to disappointment and wasted energy.

Setting up a household budget plan need not be a waste of time and effort. With some consideration, and a household budget planner, you can create a good plan that will help you achieve your goals sooner.

Here are seven steps to create your household budget plan:

1. Set financial goals

A household budget needs goals. What do you want to achieve? Build your savings? Go on a holiday? Buy your own car or home? Knowing what you want can help you stay motivated to stick to your budget plan and meet those goals.

2. Assess your current financial situation

Know your total expenses per month. Check your electric and water bills, receipts, car costs, grocery bills, and mortgage payments. Also, know how much money you’re earning every month. This includes your regular full-time/part-time job, money from investments, etc.

3. Know how much you can spend each month

After knowing your income and expenses, do the math and find out what you actually have for your needs. A household budget calculator will be useful in this step. If it’s lower than what you’ve expected, don’t worry, as this is what the household budget planner is for.

4. Prioritise. With your list of expenses, divide them into two groups: fixed and variable

Fixed expenses include rent or mortgage, while variable expenses are grocery, entertainment, etc. Look at areas where you can cut costs so you’ll have money allotted for more important things such as savings – if that is your goal.

5. Print your completed household budget planner

A vision board works if you see your goals frequently. The same can be true for your household budget plan. Before grocery shopping, check your budget and stick to it.

6. Monitor your progress

Creating a good household budget plan can take some time, so track your spending and income regularly, and make some adjustments when necessary.

7. Revise your household budget plan when there are major changes

Significant changes such as having a baby or losing a job obviously affect your monthly household budget. Be prepared to redo your plan every six months or whenever there’s a major change in your income and spending.

Got other household budget tips in Australia? Share your insights in the comments section.

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How to Create a Wedding Budget

A wedding can be a costly affair in Australia. From the gown and flowers, to the venue, reception, and bonbonniere, it is very easy to overspend and face a large debt long after your wedding day. You do not want to start your married life struggling to get out of debt.

When planning a wedding, one of the important steps to take is to create a wedding budget. Just like in your house where you set a household budget, knowing how much you can spend and where to allocate your money will greatly help in keeping your expenses under control. Here are several ways to create a wedding budget:

Cover the essentials

If you have more than enough funds, then you can have everything that you want in a wedding without worrying about being in debt for a long time. Realistically this is usually not the case. For the money-conscious, make sure to create a priority list.

Essentials that should be in your wedding budget are the dress, suit, celebrant, venue for the reception and ceremony, food, and flowers. List all of these items in order of importance. Then again, it depends on the couple’s preferences. You may want a live band or top-notch photography, but the idea is to identify which components are more important to you. In this way, you’ll be able to allocate funds appropriately.

Look for suppliers

To have a better picture of how much your wedding will cost, do your research and shop around for different suppliers and companies that offer wedding-related services. When grocery shopping, you will most likely have your household budget in mind. When planning a wedding, think about your wedding budget and work around it to ensure that you will not spend too much money.

Keep track of your expenses

If you use a household budget planner to organise all expenses at home, you can do the same when planning a wedding. This will quickly tell you where your money goes and at which parts you can cut costs so you can allot more money for other essentials. This will also keep you on top of everything that costs money and avoid overspending.

Anyone who’s getting married wants an amazing wedding, but this does not mean having to spend what you cannot afford. You’ll only end up paying off debts in your married life. Create a wedding budget and allot funds to wedding aspects that are important to you.

Do you have other tips on how to create a wedding budget in Australia? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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