Budgeting to achieve your goals

by Leah Keelan

Be more financially independent

Tips to get younger people saving money

18 March 2019

This is the first note in a series designed for you to share with your children. At Cardena, we’re thinking about your extended family and ways that we can help them build a strong financial future – by starting now.

The word ‘budget’ invokes fear in many that treasure ritual pleasures such as a daily cup or two of barista coffee or Sunday morning brunch. A friend recently confided she spent $1,600 last year on coffees. This might surprise you, but it only takes a couple of bought coffees a day to reach and exceed that number.  Small daily amounts can add up!

But don’t let it get you down and it doesn’t need to be an all or nothing thing.  Start small and work up from there and set some goals which are exciting and important to you.  Maybe work towards that trip you’ve been dreaming of?  If you just halve the coffees you buy each day from the café downstairs, you could be $800 ahead over the course of a year, and still enjoy your daily pick me up. Once you start to see progress, you’ll be amazed by other areas you’ll find to save.  Remember …. it doesnt need to be ‘all or nothing’.

A budget is a bit like having a plan to get you where you want to go. It can be as simple as setting up a savings account and transfering a certain amount or percentage by direct debit each pay day. One client used to say, ‘pay yourself first’. He had a philosophy of putting 10% of every pay into a separate account as soon as he got paid, and that way, he didn’t miss it and didn’t spend it.

Parents may want to help. We have a number of clients who will pay half of whatever their child can save, to contribute to a first car, university costs or their first property. That way helping out financially but also putting into practice, the value of saving.

Here are some budgeting tips to save you money:

  1. Eat at home more often and take lunch to work most days.
  2. Shop around for a reward saver account that pays bonus interest for regular savings without withdrawals. A good comparison website to check is canstar.com.au
  3. Pay off all credit cards in full by the payment date. Better still, don’t have a credit card if you can (or make sure you have a low limit for emergencies only) that way you’ll save for the goods you really want.
  4. Don’t be fooled when paying for goods using payment arrangements like AfterPay. While the lower first payment looks reasonable, consider the total cost and ask yourself if it’s within your budget? Afterpay just makes it easier to buy more things that you probably don’t really need.
  5. Car pool, or take public transport.
  6. Do an audit of your direct debits. Are you still using all the services you are paying for? It’s so easy these days to sign up for music, streaming, fitness and other services which, on their own seem ‘cheap’ but together, over the course of a year, can really add up.
  7. Consider ‘top up’ apps that round purchases up to the next dollar and invest the funds, it’s surprising how quickly small amounts add up - Raiz is one example.
  8. Know your superannuation provider, if you have more than one provider amalgamate accounts, this will reduce fees and unwanted insurances that you don’t need.

We’re currently reviewing a number of apps and tools that make it easier to see where you’re spending the most and steps you can take to budget and save more effectively.  We will tell you more once we’re happy they’re the right ones for our clients.  Most online banking apps offer a simple ‘where you spent your money’ app or tool.  Spend 5 minutes on the bus to categorise what you spend and you can track this over time.  While these aren’t perfect, they’re an excellent start and help you to automatically track how much you’re spending on each category and can send you automatic notifications on spending or limits you’d like to know.

In the meantime, if apps aren’t your thing, it’s still a good practice to think about (and write down) what you think you spend and where? Here is a template you might like to use when setting up a budget. It can be very detailed or very simple.

Let us know if you need a hand setting up and tracking your spending.  We’d love to help you plan that next holiday or save for whatever is important to you.  We’ll be in touch with more news on suitable apps as soon as we can.

Call us on (02) 8016 3200 or contact one of the Cardena team, if we can help.