Like many of us, budgeting might be the last thing on your mind when you hear the words “New Financial Year”, but we’re here to remind you of its importance. Think of it just like a personal makeover, but instead for your finances.
Frankly, many of us simply get caught up in the daily grind as work and family life take over. We launch into January with our resolutions in hand and before we know it it’s half way through the calendar year and we’re making holiday plans for Christmas.
That’s why it’s so important to press pause once in a while and get off the train of life to re-evaluate your budget and check that it’s still working for you. The New Financial Year is an excellent time to do this as it’s a big flag signalling that you should check that your approach suits your current situation.
Not only that, taking control of your personal finances means that you can potentially free up some of your cash flow in the short term, allowing you to reach your savings and investment goals sooner.
While it’s tempting, we’re not here to talk about spreadsheets. Below are 5 simple ways in which you can improve your budget for the NFY:
Organise your superannuation
You may be feeling on track with your superannuation, but it’s still important to give it a once over. Instead of relying solely on your employer’s contributions, you may be able to salary sacrifice more into your super or increase your personal contributions if you are in a position to do so.
If you’ve worked for multiple employers and are yet to consolidate your super, there’s no time like the present to move all of your money into one account making it simpler to manage. Consider the fees on these accounts and select a provider that will provide the best returns.
That way you may be able to watch your balance increase quicker, meaning that you’ll have a larger nest egg when it comes to your retirement, allowing you to enjoy quality of life and most importantly make those lasting memories with family and friends.
Audit those insurance policies
Imagine shopping around and finding out that you can save on your insurance policies, then redirecting what you were previously spending into your super, savings or other investments?
Many insurance policies increase in the New Financial Year, however you don’t have to accept this as the status quo as there may be more competitive deals around.
Think house and contents insurance, health and life insurance, pet insurance and car insurance. If you want to stay with the same providers, simply put some time aside to call them and let them know you’re shopping around and are in need of a better deal.
Re-evaluate your savings goals
The lifestyle creep is real, especially if you’ve moved into a new role or received a pay rise. If you’re discretionary spending on things like dining out, shopping, technology has increased, you might discover that your hard earned money is withering away without you noticing.
While we don’t want to take all of the fun away as we believe that it’s important to enjoy life, you might be able to increase your savings without impacting too much on your lifestyle. This is why it’s important to re-evaluate your savings goals each year and increase them where possible.
By putting some extra funds aside for a rainy day, you can work towards saving for your dream car, house, boat, or holiday and by taking control of your budget in the short run it means that you’ll have more to enjoy later once you get to your end destination.
Review your investment strategy
If you’ve been operating off a set and forget framework, there may be opportunities that you’re missing out on simply because you haven’t taken the time to review your investments. Successful investing requires time and patience, however it’s important to ensure that you contribute to your portfolio at the level required and work to minimise expenses.
Perhaps you’ve got surplus funds from your tax refund or savings to invest, are looking to purchase an investment property, or considering diversifying into a different market. There’s no one size fits all to investing and many different avenues available to consider, so it may be time to rebalance the books to ensure that your investment strategy is aligned with your long term goals.
Include fun; travel or activities
Last but not least, be sure to include travel or activities that bring you joy. Whether it’s dining out once a week, pampering yourself, heading away for the long weekend, or planning those priceless family holidays with the kids, you should be sure to include fun experiences in your budget.
What people value most when looking back on their lives are the experiences they’ve shared, so it’s important not to wait to start making these lifelong memories. Whether you’ve wanted to learn a different language, start surfing, travel to a new country, or get back into your childhood sport, factor these experiences into your budget.
Start dreaming! Decide what new experiences you will plan to enjoy in the New Financial Year that will work alongside your savings or investment goals. Not only will you make the most out of life now, but you’ll be able to continue making these precious memories well into your retirement.