6 tips for improving your finances in less than an hour

Time is money as the old adage goes, but the good news is it doesn’t take more than an hour to make some positive changes to your financial situation.

So set the timer, focus your efforts and tick these items off your to-do list in 60 minutes:

1. Take a financial health Check 

If you’re not sure which areas of your personal finances could do with some attention, then carrying out a financial health check, such as this one from ASIC’s MoneySmart, could give you some clarity.

Less than 10 minutes is all it takes to get a snapshot of your financial ‘health’ across categories such as managing your expenses, protecting your assets and setting financial goals.  As well as highlighting areas for improvement, it also gives you some useful tips on how to make those changes.

2. Start an emergency fund 

Whether it’s living expenses to tide you over for a few months in case of redundancy or an emergency visit to the dentist, having some cash to fall back on during a crisis can help give you peace of mind.

Consistency is key to growing your balance, so shop around for a high interest savings account and get in the habit of saving a specific amount from your transaction account every time you get paid.

3. Check your direct debits 

Setting up direct debits can make it easy for you to pay bills on time, but if you ‘set and forget’ for too long then you could find yourself paying out for services you no longer need.

Do you watch all the channels on your full service TV package? Still need that gym subscription if you haven’t had a work out for months? Take 10 minutes to do a quick scan of your direct debits over the past 6 months and see if there are opportunities to cut out or cut back.

4. Read your super statement 

It’s around this time of year when many super funds send out their annual statements. Check your balance for any super funds you have and get an idea of how you’re tracking with a retirement planner.

Found yourself with a shortfall? There are steps you can take to get back on track. Fees can have a big impact on your balance, and if you have more than one fund you could be paying more that you need to. The problem with multiple funds is that you’re often paying multiple fees and even multiple insurance premiums too.

Consider consolidating all your funds into one place – not only could you find it easier to manage your money, you could also pay less in fees, which means more money saved towards your retirement.

5. Download some money friendly apps 

Smartphones and tablets are the perfect portal to managing your finances anytime, anywhere, so if life is keeping you busy you can manage your finances when you’re on the go.

Start by downloading your mobile banking app on your smart phone to help keep finances front of mind. If you’re an emotional shopper, getting in the habit of regularly checking your balance can help you think twice before handing your card over.

6. Compare your suppliers

In the market for a new home loan? Annual travel insurance about to expire? Rather than automatically renewing your agreements, set 20 minutes aside to shop around and find a better deal.

Online comparison sites such as Finder.com.au and Mozo.com.au allow you to compare a range of banking and insurance providers and potentially save hundreds of dollars in the long run.

There are also often opportunities to make significant savings with utilities, mobile phone and internet. Call your existing suppliers, find out when your contact is coming to an end and check out the competition – you could be spending more than you need to.

 

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