By TWD Australia

March 21, 2016 | News

Spring Clean Your Finances with a Fresh Outlook

The season of fresh beginnings, decluttering, and renewal is upon us.

This is the time of year to embrace the urge to get things in order, especially when it comes to your finances.

It’s a wonder how a few tweaks to your budget and financial management now can see your savings and investments blossom in the near future and for years to come.

A ‘Financial Spring Clean’ should always start with the basics – identifying exactly how you are spending your hard earned dollars, and re-evaluating if it’s truly on the things and activities that enhance your life, and bring you happiness and long-term fulfilment.

What’s more, you should work out the total you owe in outstanding debts, and your average earnings each month across all your income streams, to get a clear and up-to-date picture of your financial standing.

Of course, one of the best key indicators of good financial management is to be debt free. If this is not the position you are in right now, the best way to get into better financial shape in time for summer is to gradually reduce what you owe and increase your savings.

Hold the Latte

The idea of curbing your spending doesn’t sound like much fun. In fact, it feels quite the opposite. But, if you follow our tips you’d be surprised how easy it is cut back whilst still enjoying ‘the good life’. Think of it as thrifty indulgence. That is, finding clever ways to achieve the same outcome with less resources and cost.

Follow our simple, but powerful tips to reduce your spring spending (and increase summer savings) by focusing on the areas where money tends to disappear the fastest.

The Subscription Audit:

Are you needlessly spending money on any of the following?

  1.   A subscription to a magazine you never get around to reading or no longer enjoy
  2.   A gym membership you’re not using (we’ll get into this more later)
  3.   An online course / membership subscriptions you know longer make use off

Now’s the time to cancel all these money suckers. For bonus points, direct the amount saved from cancelling any memberships / subscriptions towards your savings instead.

The Autopilot Audit:

A spring clean is the perfect time to reassess the expenses you otherwise tend to set and forget.

This includes account plans like:

  1.   Health insurance
  2.   Car insurance
  3.   Life insurance
  4.   Bank transactions / fees

It’s easy to forget exactly what you are spending on these, so review all your plans and spend a few hours researching better options, using the many comparison sites available today. You can also get on the phone with your current service providers to negotiate better rates.

The Shopping Audit:

How much are you really spending on eating out, alcohol, coffees, clothes, take away, gadgets and other non-essentials?

Start tracking your spending each month on these items, and aim to reduce this spending by at least 10%. Put this money towards your savings instead. Here are some simple ways to save:

  1.   Cut down on your coffee and alcohol purchases and give your health a boost this season too.
  2.   Make your lunch at home with quality ingredients for a fraction of the cost of buying something each day.
  3.   Borrow books and DVDs from the library – yes this place still exists!
  4.   Go grocery shopping armed with a specific list of what you need, and only buy these items. Try to buy the items you use regularly in bulk, especially when these are on special.
  5.   Swap gourmet restaurant dinners for creative cooking adventures with your partner, family or friends.
  6.   Compare prices on comparison sites before buying any big purchase items.
  7.   Unsubscribe from discount shopping sites if you find these too tempting to resist.

The Household Audit:

Changing your habits around the way you consume water and electricity can not only save you money, but contribute towards saving the planet too! Every small change counts.

  1.   Slowly replace your appliances and light bulbs with energy-efficient ones.
  2.   Monitor your heating and aircon usage and switch it off in rooms you’re not using. Better yet, just dress for the temperature and avoid using these all together.
  3.   Only use appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher when these are full..
  4.   Try negotiating a better deal with your suppliers of gas and electricity.

The Health Audit:

Do you really need all those expensive supplements and exotic superfoods? Or would you be better off spending that cash on fresh produce at the markets? Could you do without a personal trainer or gym membership? Winter is over, it’s time to cancel your membership and get outdoors. Enjoy the spring weather, get some fresh air and re-energise your fitness regime. Try:

  1.   Outdoor circuit routines with handheld weights, a skipping rope and medicine balls
  2.   Go soft sanding running on the beach
  3.   Go for a coastal bike ride or follow a local cycling track
  4.   Bring the yoga mat outdoors and follow a yoga app or YouTube video for a routine
  5.   Go for a run at your local park

Put these tips into swing in spring so that you can enjoy the fruits of your labour by summer.

We all know this is the season that it’s perfectly acceptable to treat yourself!

For a deeper financial audit, get in touch with one of our expert financial advisers to help you put together a more comprehensive financial management plan. We will help you assess if your spending, saving, and investing habits are right for your circumstances and lifestyles goals. Enquire today at info@twd.com.au

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Words by TWD Australia.