Each year we make New Year’s resolutions that focus on our health and wellbeing. But how often do we think about improving our finances? Here are five financial New Year’s resolutions that could help you start 2019 with a bang!
You might have missed it over the silly season, but the good news for mortgage holders is that many economists are tipping that we won’t see the RBA announce a rate rise in 2019.
Indeed, three leading economists now believe we may even see an interest rate cut this year. (Although, as we saw in 2018, that doesn’t necessarily mean the banks will follow suit).
But instead of sitting around waiting for the RBA and the banks to make a move that could save you money, here are five New Year’s resolution ideas to help you out in 2019!
Resolution idea #1: Cut back on the credit card purchases
The average card holder is paying around $700 in interest per year if their interest rate is between 15 and 20%, according to ASIC.
That $700 is nothing to sneeze at. It’s enough to purchase a new suit or outfit to help you land that new job, fund a year’s worth of home and contents insurance, or take the family on next summer’s camping trip.
Additionally, as of January 1, banks and credit providers are now required to check your debt-servicing capacity more thoroughly before issuing a credit card.
That means if you’re planning to load up on one credit card, and then transfer the debt to a card with a lower interest rate, you might find yourself out of luck.
With that in mind, the next question to ask yourself is: do I really still need a credit card if a debit card will suffice?
Resolution idea #2: Get a home loan health check
Whether the rates go up, down, or stay where they are, it never hurts to get a home loan health check to make sure there’s not a more suitable home loan out there for your situation.
Because while the RBA kept their rates on hold throughout 2018, not all banks did too.
In fact, every single one of the Big 4 Banks increased interest rates in 2018. To make sure you’re still happy with the rate you’re paying compared to what’s available in the market, give us a call.
Resolution idea #3: Purchase less take-away coffees, alcohol and other items
Buying a $4 take-away coffee each day costs you a whopping $1460 per year. Making it yourself using a French Press or Moka Pot can cost just $260 – a saving of $1200.
The lure of micro-transactions – purchases that are low in cost and trivial in nature – can be a real obstacle for those trying to achieve their financial goals.
Other micro-transactions that most families can cut back on include alcohol, take-away food, gym memberships, and multiple entertainment subscriptions such as Spotify, Netflix and Foxtel.
Resolution #4: Ask your employer about salary sacrificing
Salary sacrificing – also known as salary packaging – is generally tax-effective for people who earn more than $37,000 a year.
It helps you save on tax by allowing you to forego your salary in return for non-cash benefits, including car leases, childcare, student loans or superannuation contributions.
It all depends on your employer and the industry you work in but there are three broad categories of things that can be packaged: things that attract fringe benefits tax (FBT), those which do not, and superannuation.
If you’re interested in exploring your options, make an appointment with your employer when you get back into the office this month to see if they can make it work for you!
Resolution #5: Review your insurance, superannuation and banking costs
Whether it’s your home and contents insurance, your car insurance, or a life insurance policy, by calling three or four insurance companies, getting quotes, and then comparing, you can save hundreds of dollars each year.
While you’re at it, make sure you don’t have more than one superannuation fund. If you do, consolidate it by following these steps to avoid doubling up on fees.
Finally, look into your banking fees. Just like a home loan there’s often a better deal out there, so make sure your bank isn’t taking you for a ride!
Final word: Set a financial goal
If you’re not back at work yet, then use this precious time to carefully consider what financial goals you want to achieve in 2019.
It could be saving up for a long overdue holiday, putting away more money towards your kids’ education, or buying an investment property.
If you’re stuck for ideas, come in and have a chat to us. We’d be more than happy to help you identify goals, and can also help with some of the suggestions listed above.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.