Financial Health Check
First published on July 8, 2019
Whatever the time of year, or your personal circumstances, it’s important to reassess your financial health every so often. Whether you’re looking after a family, part of a couple, or single, make it a habit to regularly look at your budget, debts and financial goals. Who knows, it could even be fun!
If you haven’t already created a budget, now is the time! Include all your income, expenses, regular bills and debt payments, and keep it relevant by updating it regularly. You can find different budget templates online, create your own, or use our ready to go calculator. This working budget is a fantastic way to take charge of your finances and see the areas where you may be spending more money than you realised. Remember to be honest with yourself.
See where you’re spending
Now that you’ve got your budget sorted, it’s important to get to know your spending habits - doing this for even just a fortnight can be very revealing! Write down everything you and the rest of the household spend during the fortnight (don’t forget those sneaky morning coffees), to get an accurate idea of the expenses to include in your budget.
Monitor your bills
Don’t just check your bills at tax time - keep an eye on your bank statements and receipts each month. Look at what you’re spending on a monthly basis for your utility bills, mobile plan, and supermarket shopping. This gives you a picture of whether you’re sticking to your budget, and flags any sudden overspending (like that winter electricity bill).
Get tough on debt
Ignoring your debts doesn’t make them disappear (if only)! If you have any debts lurking around, make it a financial priority to direct any spare cash towards clearing the amount. Break up this task by tackling one debt at a time and start with the highest interest debt first. You may have to make multiple repayments to clear debts, so plan out a repayment schedule which is manageable for you. Your big financial goals, like growing your savings or investing, will seem more achievable once you’ve cleared your debt.
Set a savings goal
With your day to day finances under control, you can turn your attention to the really good stuff - your big goals. Work out your top three goals and keep in mind that this activity should be fun! Try mapping them out on a mood board or writing a list of everything you can dream of, and then narrow it down to find your starting point.
Start a savings plan for the medium and long term; look at what you can afford to save, and how long it will take you to reach your goal. Paying off your mortgage as soon as possible or making extra contributions to your super are excellent goals.
You’re not alone, people from all different walks of life go through the up’s and down’s of money management. Talk to supportive friends and family to discuss your journey, learnings, and even share your tips and tricks with each other. When you create a positive money mentality and surround yourself with supportive people, you’ll start to see the benefits. You can also always chat to a professional about how you could make the most of your money, and even ask your friendly MyState Bank team about which products and services may best suit you.