At the beginning of the day, my to-do list is filled with so much optimism. I scribble onto the page, filling any white space I can see. But as the day starts to get away from me, my enthusiasm dwindles and I begin to scrap a few things off, promising myself I’ll get to them tomorrow.
And the things that get put onto tomorrow’s list are almost always life admin. Those finicky little tasks that you know you have to do but somehow never manage to find the time for. I had “merge super funds” on my to-do list for far longer than I’d like to admit. The good news, however, is it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here are six tips and tricks for getting your finances under control:
1. Make a log of all of your spending and set a budget.
This is the most painful step so let’s get it out of the way early. Writing down anything and everything you spend your money on can be an eye opener. It’s incredibly easy for money to find its way out of your wallet and being handed over to a cashier without you even realising it.
Having a close look at your spending habits will help you to decide where you can cut back and what finances you will put where. It's far easier to save when you have a plan. Set a budget for yourself and stick to it as much as you possibly can. Your future self will thank you for it.
2. Sort out your debt and review your mortgage.
Did you put that European holiday on your credit card straight out of uni and are paying the price for it now? We've all been there. After you've had a look at your spending and set yourself a budget, the next step is to start looking at paying off your debt. Interest-free periods, low rate credit cards and minimum repayments will all be there to entice you away from doing this. But really, the sooner you pay it off the better.
Start paying off the debt that has the most expensive interest rate and work your way through to the smallest. Once you've got your debt under control, make sure not to reward yourself with a new car or a fancy new closet or you'll quickly find yourself right back at the beginning again.
3. Download a super app, like GROW Super.
We're lucky to live an an age where we have brilliant apps at our disposal to do all the hard work for us. And one that I can't recommend highly enough is the GROW Super app. It provides complete visibility and control over every aspect of your superannuation from your phone.
The app includes innovative tools such as Super Spare Change (which rounds up your change from everyday purchases and invests it straight into your super), one-touch consolidation to find and consolidate all your lost and current super in a touch of a button and the ability to invest your money into industries that matter to you, such as tech and startups, property and clean energy and sustainability. Most importantly, GROW Super not only helps you save money, but also ensures you understand it.
4. Start building up an emergency fund for a rainy day.
With day to day spending, bills and debt standing in the way it can often be hard to think beyond your next pay cheque. But the reality is that life happens and sometimes we can find ourselves in financial strife without even realising how we got there. Creating an "emergency fund" and setting aside some money each pay cycle should you (or a partner) fall ill, get injured or find yourself unable to work, is something you'll be thankful for if you find yourself coming to need it.
Another thing to consider is taking out income protection insurance to cover yourself in case you find yourself unable to work or out of a job. It's a scenario we don't often like to think about but when you consider the fact that you are your most important asset, it's easy to see why it's so important.
5. Think about your retirement and increase super contributions.
Just like an emergency fund, thinking about the future and considering how much money you will need to retire is also important. You likely won't have the same income you do currently when it comes to retirement to maintain your current way of living. This is especially vital for us women, considering we often take time out of the workforce to have children and raise a family.
Consider upping your super contributions, particularly at times when you're on a good salary and have relatively minimal expenses. The more money you put away and the longer you do it for, the better off you will be when it comes to retiring.
GROW Super Spare Change makes it easy to make voluntary contributions to your super, plus it has a retirement calculator to help you figure out what you need. When you're living it up on that holiday to Italy instead of eating baked beans on toast, you'll thank me.
6. Review your insurance.
How often do you make claims against the companies you're insured with? I'm talking all forms like health insurance, life insurance, home and contents insurance and pet insurance. If the answer is not very often, it might be time to make some phone calls to check you're getting the cover that suits you best and that you're not paying for things you don't actually need.
Insurance specialists can often provide you with knowledge and experience that you don't have and suggest products or strategies that you may not have considered or even known about. For example, if you're planning on starting a family soon, you may want to look at including pregnancy in your health insurance. When in doubt or dealing with a situation you're unsure of, it never hurts to ask.
Now it's time to slay that to-do list.
How do you keep your finances under control?
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner GROW Super.
The GROW Super App makes managing your super easy and fun. Find and consolidate your super at the touch of a button, invest your money into the things that matter to you, and save your spare change to make a serious difference to your financial future.
Wake up and GROW. Download now from the App Store or Google Play.