It really sucks knowing you have no savings. When I moved to Canada a few years ago I decided to travel a lot before I settled into work, no monthly budget to speak of, because I figured it wouldn’t take long to save up again, right? So wrong. In my experience, wages there are not great compared to their Aussie equivalents, plus most people who know their time in a new country is limited are trying to get out and do more.
I got myself into a hole that meant if anything happened, like even something that would cost an extra couple of hundred more than what I had planned for, I was screwed. It’s no way to live, I tell you!
If this is sounding all too familiar to you, it’s ok. I had no idea what I was doing and I changed my situation around, so you can too. Here’s what worked for me.
Track Your Spending
You know what’s a shocker? Consciously keeping track of everything you’re spending. This isn’t to say that you don’t get to have your morning coffee – you’re only human – but chances are you’re going to be surprised by how these little purchases are adding up. You know, the spur of the moment ones that typically aren’t a lot of money so it doesn’t seem like a big deal at the time?
After a week or two of honestly tracking where your money is going, you’re going to have a pretty clear idea of what you might need to cut down on.
Set Some Savings Goals
I know people keep talking about budgets, but that’s because they work. Well, they work if you set them out properly and actually stick to them. There are so many apps and online tools that can help you out as well, like ANZ’s Budget Planner, so you don’t even have to do the hard calculations yourself.
Make Your Money Hard To Reach
The days of burying treasure in the backyard are probably long gone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it harder to reach your money so you have time to rethink your purchases while you’re transferring your dollars about. This might be as simple as opening another savings account or setting it up so you have to actually call or walk into your bank to transfer your money. Talk to your financial advisor to see what options are right for you.
Check Your Auto-Payments
We’ve all subscribed to a bunch of things that sounded really good at the time, yet months of automatic payments later you’ve barely even looked at the thing you’re paying for. It’s all too easy to let this go on unchecked, so start paying attention. Want help? Give the below a whack with your mouse.
Find Out What You Actually Need
It’s actually so hard avoiding temptation when every stroll down the street means being assaulted with bright, flashy advertising saying you simply can’t afford not to buy their stuff. We are hard-wired to overspend when we see sale signs. Merchandisers know exactly what they’re doing to drag us in. So maybe just never leave the house?
Or, less dramatically, just make a commitment to really think about a purchase before you buy it. Walk around, sleep on it, check your budget. Most of the time, that thing you just ‘had’ to have will suddenly seem unimportant.
This article was sponsored by ANZ, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence No. 234527 but it sure wasn’t written by them. Always speak to the experts before making financial choices, ok?Image: iStock Images / [RoyalFive]