ME Chief Marketing Officer, Rebecca James outlines how to make 2016 the year you earn more, spend less and start to invest.
January – time for a money detox
Get your finances in great shape with a money detox. Understand where your cash goes with the government’s free TrackMySpend app, then back it up with a personal budget for 2016. It’s a great way to trim unnecessary spending and free up cash for saving and investing.
February – credit card boot camp. Bring it on!
Festive season spending is hitting your credit card statement right about now. Time for credit card boot camp. Knuckle down to pay off the balance, and get ahead by switching to a low rate card with zero annual fees such as frank.
March – time for an egg hunt
It’s Easter, and what better time to track down eggs. Nest eggs, that is. There are over six million lost super funds worth a combined $16 billion“ – and some of it could be yours. Hop to it and visit the myGov portal to reunite with lost super.
April – future-proof your finances
Set a blueprint for the future by setting some goals. The government’s award-winning (and free) TrackMyGOALS app can help you set, plan, track and even visualise your progress.
May – protect your financial identity
Mayday, mayday! One in four Australians are a victim of identity theft. Protect your financial identity by changing online passwords, updating security software and checking your personal credit record. Contact credit reference agencies like Dun and Bradstreet and Veda for a free copy of your personalised credit report.
June – there’s a lot to love about tax time
It’s tax time, and a juicy refund cheque could be heading your way. Visit the Tax Office website (ato.gov.au) for a full list of work deductions relating to your job. Or speak with a registered tax agent to claim everything you can.
July – score a better deal
Instead of hitting the sales, make July ‘get-a-better’ deal month. Start by switching to an everyday bank account such as buck that offers no ATM fees or monthly account-keeping fees and watch the savings stack up.
August – be your own financial guru
Take advantage of freebies to boost your financial wellbeing. ed, the online school of money brought to you by industry super fund-owned bank ME, offers a wealth of free information on money management for women. Ask your super fund about free financial advice. Or visit your bank’s website for financial calculators that crunch the numbers to show how you can save, pay down debt and get ahead financially.
September – spring clean your super
Around 90% of Australian women don’t have enough super to enjoy a decent retirement. Be a game changer. Check your super balance; roll multiple accounts into a single fund; and plan to save more. Even small extra contributions can add thousands of dollars to your retirement nest egg.
October – buy nothing new month
Grab some pre-loved bargains, or swap, share or borrow with friends and save big bucks. Join the money-saving movement at buynothingnew.com.au.
November – gallop ahead financially
Open a high-interest savings account with $100, and add $50 each week. Assuming the rate stays the same (in this example 3.55% p.a.), after three years you’ll have accumulated over $8,300. Keep it up for five years to enjoy a honeypot worth over $14,300.
December – give with love, not debt
Time to follow Santa’s example and take a planned approach to Christmas. Make a list of everything you need, check it twice and shop around to compare prices. Aim to pay with cash where possible. It’s still the cheapest way to make purchases. And remember, good giving doesn’t have to involve big spending.
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1. ATO Super accounts data overview as at 30 June 2015