lifestyle

Taking control of your money is fun, promise.

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Taking control of your money is fun, I swear.

I run our family budget and it is one of my favourite things to do. We have a budget we follow and I tweak it a couple of times a week, in front of my favourite TV show, with a cup of tea, and maybe a biscuit.

There are so many ways to make the most out of your money. We work hard for it. Spending it well is so satisfying. Watching it go further due to smart spending is even better.

I have lots of tricks and strategies for spending money well. Here are my top six.

1. Buy in bulk.

Think of cleaning products, toilet paper, beef and in my house, passata. By accessing places like Costco or websites like Grocery Run and Catch of the Day, you can buy in bulk and save yourself a fortune.

The rule is to never buy something you a) have never used before, and b) don’t normally consume regularly. It’s easy to become snake-charmed by great deals, but if you aren’t going to use it or if it isn’t something that will save you money in the long run, don’t bother. Be strong.

take control of your finances
“Think of cleaning products, toilet paper, beef and in my house, passata. By accessing places like Costco or website like Grocery Run and Catch of the Day, you can buy in bulk and save yourself a fortune.” Image via iStock.

2. Experiment with home brands.

Home brands have come a long way. Sure, I stick to branded items for some products I’m attached to, but for things like biscuits and pasta and paper towels and especially cleaning products, home brands are the way to go.

Look at your grocery list before you go shopping and place a tick next to those items you wouldn’t mind swapping for a home brand. You can seriously save yourself an absolute fortune.

3. Get smart about credit.

Credit is an excellent tool when it comes to living modern life. You just have to be smart about it. It’s not free money, it’s a tool you can use to run your life. If you’ve been sitting on a couple of maxed out credit cards for a while, or even just one, it’s never too late to take control.

Credit card interest rates can be as high as 15-20 per cent. So if you’re carrying a balance of $4000, you’ll be paying approximately $2000 in interest alone over five years if you have an interest rate on the lower end, at 15 per cent. If you are carrying an $8000 balance you’ll end up paying around $3400 over five years. If you have as much as $10,000 in credit card debt, it’ll be just over $4200 over five years. There are so many low interest credit cards on offer. By transferring the balance of your credit cards, you can pay them off faster.

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4. Consolidate your debts.

Your bank wants to help you manage your finances and they all have free financial planning services for you to access. Book an appointment at your local branch and consider consolidating your debts. As long as you have a regular income, no matter how small, they can help you.

By consolidating your debts you will save a lot of money on interest. It can also reduce stress and worry over juggling multiple loans. You can consolidate any debt you have outstanding including multiple credit cards and even personal loans and car loans.

5. Budget, with wiggle room.

Make a budget, or if you already have one, consider switching to one of the many brilliant budgeting apps now available, many for free. You can use your new app to plan your budget as far ahead as you need to, sort out your regular bills and even sync it to your bank account so you can automate payments.

I still use paper and a pen in a manila folder because I like to have my outstanding bills on me, however I have downloaded a couple of apps I’m considering switching to so I can spend less time managing our money and more time enjoying it.

take control of your finances
“I have downloaded a couple of apps I’m considering switching to so I can spend less time managing our money and more time enjoying it.” Image via iStock.

6. Learn how to invest.

It can be hard to think about making your money work for you when you don’t have much in the way of savings. The trick is to stop thinking short term, and start thinking long term. Take whatever savings you have and for as little as $500 you can start investing in good quality stocks. Once again, your bank can help steer you in the right direction. Then when you get your next $500, invest it. Or you may like to do it in increments of $1000 or $2000, or you can just invest your annual tax return in shares, or just half of it.

You can also make better use of your credit card by making the most of interest free periods on offer. If your credit card has a 55 day interest free period, you can use it to pay for any unexpected expenses. That way you don’t have to take the money out of your savings account to pay them.

Start making your money work for you, friends.

How do you manage your money?

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