It’s Dry July – what fi­nan­cial ‘ vice’ could you cut from your life for a month?

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

SOME­TIMES the most ex­pen­sive vices are not so much the things we do as the things we don’t do. So for Dry July, I’m go­ing to ban­ish the vice of pro­cras­ti­na­tion. Here are a few things that I’ve been putting off:

Last month the in­sur­ance pol­icy on one of our cars was due for re­newal. Rather than pay­ing the re­newal no­tice I ob­tained an online quote for ex­actly the same pol­icy with, I should add, the same com­pany. It was half the price! Same com­pany, same con­di­tions. So I saved sev­eral hun­dred dol­lars. Since then I’ve been mean­ing to do the same thing for our other car, our camper trailer, our mo­tor­bike and our home and con­tents in­sur­ance. This month I will do it!

We’ve had the same bank ac­count prod­ucts for quite a while now and I know, from work­ing at canstar. com. au, that there are much, much cheaper op­tions out there. This month I will ne­go­ti­ate those fees to be waived or, fail­ing that, switch bank ac­counts.

Su­per­an­nu­a­tion is a long- term in­vest­ment but that doesn’t mean it should be set- and- for­get. I’m happy with my su­per fund in terms of fees, in­sur­ance and per­for­mance, but this month I’ll in­ves­ti­gate the in­vest­ment op­tions it of­fers to see if I could be do­ing even bet­ter. Af­ter all, an ex­tra 1 per cent re­turn on my su­per fund could, over 30 years, equal an ex­tra hun­dred thou­sand or so by re­tire­ment. Def­i­nitely worth do­ing!

Com­par­ing my in­sur­ance premi­ums.

Check­ing my bank fees.

Re­view­ing my su­per.

IT’S the mid­dle of win­ter. It’s freez­ing out­side. If this is about sac­ri­fice, I think we could cut out heat­ing at home for the month . . . by go­ing to Bali! Which is where I’m writ­ing this from. Cheat­ing? Not in the spirit of things? Fi­nan­cial vices, hmmm. I haven’t got many. When I see my­self wast­ing money, I read my­self the riot act. There are bru­tal con­se­quences for me if I think I can waste my own money.

Apart from the ob­vi­ous. If I par­tic­i­pated in Dry July it­self, the saved bar bill would feed a vil­lage of star ving Africans for a month. Bit fond of a drink. And why do I drink? To take away the pain of open­ing Mrs Debt­Man’s monthly credit card bill. Ev­ery month when I open it, my eyes bleed.

Could I nom­i­nate a top- 10 vices I’d love to see her give up for the month? Ac­tu­ally, lim­it­ing it to just 10 would be too hard. It would be eas­ier to do a Triple J- style “Top 100 splurg­ing hits” of some of the bizarre things she blows money on. Nope? It’s gotta be me? Dang. Tough. I’d have to nom­i­nate en­ter­tain­ment in gen­eral. Eat­ing out, drink­ing out and time at the pub. It’s good times, with friends and fam­ily. And isn’t that what life is re­ally about?

But if I re­ally felt I needed to cut back for a month to save money . . . and I could con­vince Mrs Debt­Man to get on board . . . I’m sure my friends would be there at the end of it. THE vice you can cut from your bud­get usu­ally de­pends on your stage of life and your goals. When you’re try­ing to save a de­posit for a house one of the most ef­fec­tive vices to drop is take­out cof­fee – maybe around $ 12-$ 15 a day. That’s more than $ 3700 each year, just adding up your work­ing days. The trick is to take the money you save and bank it.

Other vices might in­clude ca­ble TV – which is nice, but no one re­ally needs it. Or rolling over your smart phone ev­ery six months to keep up with the latest tech­nol­ogy.

One vice that most young peo­ple could drop, and save them­selves a lot of dough, is bou­tique beers. They’re very ex­pen­sive.

Oth­ers could look at taxis. Taxis are great for get­ting home at night if you’ve had too much to drink, but mak­ing them a habit is ex­pen­sive and a vice that most peo­ple could easily cut from their bud­gets. Ride- shar­ing, buses, trains and even walk­ing – they’re much cheaper.

The trick to cut­ting vices from your spend­ing is not sim­ply to get rid of them al­to­gether but to ad­mit you like some things and just find a more af­ford­able way to do them. For in­stance, don’t stop drink­ing wine: buy the spe­cials or buy by the dozen for lower prices. If you want a fancy car, get one that’s eight months old – not brand new.

Bring­ing bud­gets un­der con­trol doesn’t have to mean no en­joy­ment – just a bet­ter man­ag­ing of your cash flow.

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