Spare time? Seven steps to put your money under the microscope - ACTU Australian Unions
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Spare time? Seven steps to put your money under the microscope

Now’s the time to workshop money matters to plug any leaks. Here are seven steps to boost your bank balance.

We’re all navigating the new situation of self-isolation and social distancing. So why not put time at home to good use giving yourself a money makeover? We look at seven ways to save a bundle and shore up your finances.

1. Know where every buck goes 

If you haven’t used a personal budget before, now’s the time to get started. A budget shows how much money is coming in, how much is going out, and whether you’re overspending – as well as where you can cut back.

To make it easier, download a budgeting app or consider using different colour coded bank cards to assist with ‘bucket budgeting’

2. Review your savings account

Having a war chest of personal savings can be a big confidence booster in uncertain times. The trouble is, plenty of savings accounts impose strict conditions around how much you need to deposit each month to earn a decent rate of interest. Switching to a savings accounts that offers a consistently good rate – without the complex terms and conditions, can give you more bang for your savings buck.

3. Make savings a priority

Don’t plan to save what’s left over after regular spending. Chances are it won’t happen. Automate your savings by setting up an online transfer from your everyday account to a dedicated savings account. Just don’t dip into savings unless it’s absolutely essential.

4. Decide what’s necessary – and what’s nice

Take a look through your bank statements to know what you’re paying for regular services. From online streaming to gym membership, it’s likely there are areas where you can cut back on non-essentials – even if it’s only temporarily.

5. Get serious about getting a better deal

Services like power, gas and internet are must-haves. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a better deal. Shop around to compare plans and prices, and switch to a new provider if necessary. Every dollar saved can take pressure off your budget.

6. Review your financial products

Plenty of lenders are offering a repayment holiday on home loans. That’s good news if you have a mortgage. But there’s still plenty of scope to cut the cost of other debt like credit cards, where interest rates can top 20%.

Some card providers like industry super fund-owned ME, have card rates1 below 12%, meaning you could almost halve your card interest charges.

7. Sweat the small stuff

In uncertain times every dollar counts. According to research by Finder, one in two Aussies (52%) think they've been charged an ATM fee over the past year. Based on an ATM fee of $2 – and some can go a lot higher, Australians may have wasted $43 million on withdrawal fees over the past 12 months.

It’s not always easy to track down a fee-free ATM for your bank. Cut the hassle – and the cost, by switching to a bank that refunds fees incurred at all ATMs Australia-wide.

Members Equity Bank Limited ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500.

1.Credit card applications are subject to credit approval. Terms, conditions, fees and charges apply and are subject to change.