Five steps to buff up your fi­nances

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - REGIONAL EXTRA -

IT’S time to get fis­cal, and pump up your fi­nan­cial well­be­ing.

The new fi­nan­cial year is a great op­por­tu­nity to boost fi­nan­cial fit­ness – and it doesn’t in­volve work­ing up a sweat.

ME’s Head of De­posits and Trans­ac­tional Bank­ing, Nic Emery, of­fers a 5-point fit­ness regime to get your money mat­ters look­ing trim, taut and ter­rific.

Check your fi­nan­cial pulse

Is your credit card debt un­der con­trol; are you grow­ing reg­u­lar sav­ings; do you have a pool of emer­gency funds to fall back on?

What about your home loan – are you sure it’s com­pet­i­tively priced, and are you mak­ing ad­di­tional pay­ments to get ahead with the loan? Are you juic­ing your fi­nances too much? Over­spend­ing is se­ri­ously bad for your fi­nan­cial health, and an early warn­ing sign can be a bloated credit card bal­ance.

To get cash un­der con­trol, you need to know ex­actly what your spend­ing habits look like.

The gov­ern­ment’s free Track­MySpend app is use­ful for record­ing daily spend­ing or sim­ply main­tain a hand­writ­ten spend­ing di­ary for a month.

When you know where your money is go­ing, draw up a bud­get.

Your bud­get will also high­light ar­eas where you can cut back spend­ing to free up cash for sav­ing or in­vest­ing. De­tox your fi­nances - whit­tle away debt Your over­all debt is im­por­tant, but some types of debt are worse for your fi­nan­cial health than others.

In par­tic­u­lar, re­ly­ing on high in­ter­est debt to pay for items of no last­ing value is the fis­cal equiv­a­lent of car­ry­ing un­wanted ki­los.

De­tox your fi­nances by aim­ing to clear high in­ter­est debt – like credit card or store card bal­ances, with ex­tra re­pay­ments.

Or con­sider switch­ing to a low rate credit card.

Sav­ings on in­ter­est charges make it eas­ier to clear the debt sooner.

Tone your sav­ings

Per­sonal sav­ings is one mus­cle group none of us can af­ford to over­look. Sav­ings are the foun­da­tion of wealth and can pro­vide a fi­nan­cial life­line when un­ex­pected ex­penses crop up.

Your bud­get will show how much you can set aside in reg­u­lar sav­ings.

Now make it hap­pen by or­gan­is­ing an au­to­matic funds trans­fer from your ev­ery­day bank ac­count to a high in­ter­est sav­ings ac­count.

Time the trans­fer to co­in­cide with pay days to be sure you give sav­ings (rather than spend­ing) top pri­or­ity. Aim for a per­sonal best Debt un­der con­trol? Check. Ac­tion taken to grow sav­ings? Check. All that re­mains is to set some fi­nan­cial goals to work to­wards.

Make your goals re­al­is­tic and achiev­able

No mat­ter whether you’re aim­ing to buy a first home, give your kids a qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion or build funds for re­tire­ment, the goals you set to­day could set you up for your best fi­nan­cial year ever.

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