5 Simple Strategies to Save and Plan for A Budget Holiday (That Doesn’t Involve Camping)

30 Ways to Save in Your 30s

Regardless of the stage you’re at in life, you’re always striving to save for something. A house, a bigger house, an overseas holiday, or your own business. But, for a lot of young Aussies, they don’t know where to begin. What are the achievable steps you can take to keep more money in your pocket?

Try out these 30 ways to save and kick start your savings plan (I promise, you can keep drinking your coffee!)Audit your bank accounts.

Sounds like hard work, but it doesn’t have to be! There are many fee free transaction and savings accounts and you can apply for at the click of a button. Check out a comparison site, like Canstar, to find out the best offer for you. (Estimated savings $50+ per account/year.)

Audit your credit cards.

Low interest rate cards, fee free cards, and special balance transfer offers. Do your research and find a better deal than the one you signed up for when you were 18. (Estimated savings per year $100+ per card per year.)

Fee Free ATM transactions.

Even though we’re moving to a cashless society, people are still throwing away money on unnecessary ATM fees. These $2 ATM charges can really add up. You can:

Plan ahead and draw your money out only from your institution ATM

Find an institution that offers wide and free ATM transactions

Get cash out during your weekly grocery shop

(Estimated savings $104+ per year.)

Become more energy aware.

Get back to basics. Spend more time outside and less time in front of your TV and air conditioning. Turn the lights off when you’re not in the room. Keep your winter shower to 2 minutes or less. Simple things that make a difference.

Prepare more meals at home.

Buy more wholefoods and prep more of your weekly meals at home. Stop relying on takeaway foods for lunch and dinner which are usually loaded with salt and sugars – not to mention served in plastic. Do your health, environment, and wallet a favour here. (Estimated savings $50+ per week.)

Create a weekly budget.

The easiest way to track your money is to start a monthly budget. Seriously, open up Excel, and start logging your known expenses. Check out these tips on how to write one.

Pay your bills on time!

The added value in having a comprehensive weekly budget that tracks your known expenses is that you can stop being caught out at bill time. Stop wasting your money on overdue fees and start paying on time.

Moderate your entertainment expenses.

I get it – Game of Thrones is returning and you need to see it to keep up with the lunchroom conversations. Life is to be enjoyed, so I’m not saying cut out your entertainment expenses entirely. But, instead of signing up for everything – where are your opportunities to save?

Instead of $18.50 for premium, try $8.50 at a budget cinema (and hold the popcorn)

Instead of 1,000 channels on cable, try the budget SD Netflix subscription

It’s about balance. (Estimated savings $10+ per week.)

Take advantage of free events.

Council and government owned public spaces offer a lot of free events over the year. From free exercise classes, story time at the library, music, food, and street festivals – there’s something for everyone and they won’t cost a cent!

Reduce your vices.

This isn’t an assault on your daily coffee addiction…or, is it? If you’re used to having 2 mugs of coffee every day – start by reducing it to 1. Or, introduce a double shot espresso instead of a latte – you’ll pay less without the milk but still the same hit. Same goes for after work drinks – if you’re used to having 2 wines every evening, start by limiting it at 1. Or, try going a few days without any! (Estimated savings $60+ per week.)

Buy a coffee machine.

While we’re on it – stop buying coffees while you’re out! Buy a cheap machine and make your coffees at home. You’re also helping the environment by reducing the number of cups in landfill (Estimated savings $50+ per week.)

Use a shopping list app.

Never walk into a supermarket hungry and without a game plan. Download a shopping list app for your phone and only buy the things you need. Like, this free one, Out of Milk.

Buy in bulk.

Have you checked out Costco? There are many savings to be made on items you can buy in bulk. Toilet paper, detergent, baby wipes, nappies – stop buying week to week when you can save $$$ on bulk buys.

Stop buying bottled water.
By a BPA free, glass, or stainless-steel bottle and bottle your own water. Again – mother nature will love you. Plus – the instant hydration will keep you away from those nasty sugary soft drinks. (Estimated savings $21 per week).

Review your health insurance.

We’ve just gone through another fee rise – but, did you do anything about yours? It’s important you do your research with health insurance packages because sometimes you could be paying money for stuff you don’t need – and you’re not covered for what you do.

Spring clean and make a profit.

Give your house a spring clean and pull out all the items you no longer need. Three china dining sets for ‘special occasions’? Time to sell them. If you haven’t used something in the past 12 months, get rid of it.

Clean out your wardrobe, too.

If your clothes are spilling out of one wardrobe and quickly filling up your spare bedroom – it’s time to do an audit. Pull out the clothes you haven’t worn in the last 12 months (or at all) and list them on eBay. The longer you keep them, the less return you’ll get.

No impulse buys.

Approach new purchases with the minimalist view of life. Do I really need this? If it’s just about status or reputation – you can do without it.

Car pool.

Do you and your work buddies live close to each other? Set up a car pool and share the load.

Ditch the car.

I’ve suggested this one before. But, is it time you ditched your car entirely? Do you need to be a 2-car household? Do you live within 7km of the city centre and have access to frequent trains and buses? Save on insurance, maintenance, petrol, and parking.

Public transport instead of uber.

There should be another point in here – uber instead of cabs. And, then public transport instead of uber. Explore your options and plan your trips in advance so you can pay the least amount of money.

Cancel memberships you’re not using.

*cough* How often do you use that $120 per month gym pass? Despite all your hopes and dreams of winning the Australian body-building competition, you need to show up every day. If it’s being wasted – lose it (pun intended).

Remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts.

There was a point I remembered my credit card details and would drop it like it’s hot whenever I saw something I wanted to buy. Remove your details from online accounts (and stop saving them during new purchases) and force yourself to dig out your card and manually enter the details. It will give you a moment to reconsider whether you really need the purchase.

Use your local library.

My wife and I save a lot of money by using our local library to hire out books, DVDs, and movies. You need to book some stuff in advance – but it’s worth the savings!

Start a piggy bank!

This might bring back childhood memories, but having a visible piggy bank on your fridge will encourage you to use it. Make a commitment to empty all coins in it at the end of your day – or, like me, introduce the $5 note game. Every new $5 note goes in the bank.

Cash only lifestyle.

Now you have a written budget to track your expenses each month, you should know how much cash you have left over for unplanned purchases (coffees, cake, new scarf). Draw this out as cash, and live off the cash for the month. Watching your money disappear will help you spend wisely!

Buy on sale.

Only buy new clothes, accessories, and electronics when they’re on sale. Our retailers are on sale almost all year round now – and with the half yearly clearances due any day now – stop paying premium!

Stop paying premium.

For a lot of items, there really is no difference between generic and premium brands. Often, all you’re paying for is fancy packaging! So, for medicines, groceries, and essential items, try buying generic instead.

Host a night in with friends instead of going out.

You don’t need to be Noni Hazlehurst to put on a nice evening at home. Fire up the barbie and get everyone to BYO drinks and chill in the surrounds of a free and comfortable home.

Don’t spend your tax return.

Contentious, I know. But, with tax time just around the corner – the temptation to spend any returns is all too much for some. Instead of throwing it all on a new pair of shoes or celebratory night out, throw it into a high interest savings account and put it towards your house deposit. Better yet, if you already have a mortgage, throw it on your home loan to reduce your amount and pay less interest next time around.

Pick at least 5 things from this list

Yeah, it’s a list of 30 – but wouldn’t feel right without this last bonus tip. Pick a handful ideas from this list and put them into action today. You are guaranteed to save something – and something is better than nothing!

Let me know how you go!

 

How You Can Save for a House and Still Enjoy Your Smashed Avocado Toast

Australia’s housing affordability crisis puts homeownership out of reach for most young Australians. And, it seems to be their obsession with the humble avo toast breakfast combo that’s holding them back from reaching their home-owning dreams. Clearly.

But, my outlook on life is that it should be enjoyed. So, in this blog, I’ll share with you my tips to better manage your money so you can save for a house and still enjoy your smashed avo toast.

Better Cash Flow Management

Life really isn’t about sacrificing all the fun to get ahead – you still need to enjoy yourself too. Before embarking on your savings plan, it’s important you start with the basics and build yourself a solid base. You can do this by introducing 5 financial buckets to your money management system.

Build an emergency fund

First thing’s first. You need to build your emergency fund – start with around $2,000 – $3,000. If you don’t have it spare, spring clean your house and sell your unwanted items on eBay. Or, get a part-time job to boost your earnings. This is your first and very important step.

After you’ve established your emergency fund, you will split each pay into 4 accounts.

Create an Avocado Fund

Yep – you guessed it. The Avo Fund is your play account – it enables you to nurture yourself so you still enjoy life. Whether it’s a weekend getaway, fancy wine, or coffee served in avo shells every morning on your way to work – have fun with it. Besides, heading out for coffee and breakfast each week also allows you to support your local community (that ain’t all bad!).

Each pay, transfer 10% of your earnings into your Avo Fund.

Create a Happiness Fund

Not to be mistaken for your everyday avocado-esque treats, your Happiness Fund collects money for those bigger, nice-to-have purchases, like holidays, Prada handbags, or Ultra HD TVs. This should be a high-interest earning account for long-term saving.

Each pay, transfer 10% of your earnings into your Happiness Fund.

Create a Debt Reduction Account

Time to get rid of that debt. Starting with your credit cards – cut them up. Their money is no good here when you’re trying to save! Your debt reduction account pays down your personal debt, credit cards, personal loans, outstanding bills.

List your debts in size from smallest to largest.

Each pay, transfer 20% of your earnings into your Debt Reduction Account. Start paying off your smallest debt first, making your way through to the largest. But, make sure you continue to pay the minimum amount for each so your larger debts don’t accumulate in the process!

Create an Expenses Account

This is your big one and covers everything else from your pay. Your Expenses Account is for managing your everyday expenses and bills, like rent, mortgage, utilities, food, and petrol. It empowers you to take more control of your expenses by prioritising these essential items in order to build wealth.

Each pay, transfer 60% of your earnings into your Expenses Account and use this account to manage your bills and expenses.

Now to Help You Save

This is the good bit!

Once you regain control of your expenses and pay off your personal debts, you will redirect your 20% debt allocation into your Emergency Fund. Your aim is to fill your Emergency Fund to the level it can support you for 3-6 months in a loss-of-income scenario.

Then, once it’s been filled, you can start sending this 20% into a high-interest account to save for your house!

Wealth growth always starts from a solid base – eliminated debt and strong cash flow management. However, to truly be successful and commit to a long-term savings plan, you must also be enjoying life (otherwise, what’s the point?). So, dig in!

 

 

A Financial Planner’s Tips to Surviving Christmas

christmas-tree-converted

As the year begins to end, and the amount of events and parties begin to multiply, the next few months can be overwhelming on your budget.

Whether you are planning the events or just attending them, there is a cost that comes with this time of year –if you aren’t careful, this price tag can be hefty. I’ve put together a few tips to help you manage your budget over the Silly Season.
A Financial Planner’s Tips to Surviving Christmas

1. Plan Ahead;
Know what is coming up and plan for it. For a lot of workplaces, Secret Santa gifts can be a great way to reduce the amount of spending. This doesn’t have to be limited to workplaces either – it works great for family gatherings!

2. Begin looking now for gifts that may be suitable for family and friends, the earlier you get in, the easier it can be to budget spending – rather than having spending occur all in the one week, or day!

3. If you are planning an event, look into the difference in cost between a Price Per Head, or a bar tab. Depending on the size of the party – it can work out cheaper to have a bar tab – rather than allowing the venue to determine the average amount of drinks, and charging you for it.

4. Resist the sales – and try to take a step back.

The advertisements will be on almost every corner soon, and the ever present “sale” signs will be riddled through television.

Stick to what you need, and separate it from what you want. There is a fine line we often cross, finding ourselves over our heads in items that we generally wouldn’t purchase, had the sale not been on.

With that said, sometimes a little nudge is needed for purchases, however just stay mindful that spending is promoted through retail at this time of year . . . keep on the lookout.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the team at Bright Future Financial.

Thanks for your support in 2014 and we look forward to 2015 and helping more Australian’s get back the high fees and charges they have been paying. Safe travels.

 

reindeer-baubles

Ride to work each day

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The battle between cyclist and motorist has been going on since the invention of the motor vehicle, and will continue into our future. However, as a money saving and health gaining exercise, cycling has many positives:

  • you get fit while you commute;
  • you get to work quicker each day and don’t stuck in traffic – (your boss will be happy and you may even get that job promotion);
  • you get to enjoy the outdoors and everything Australia has to offer;
  • you will stay trim, taut and terrific – just think how good your suit or dress will look like on you now;
  • you will be helping the environment and leaving less of a carbon footprint; and
  • you will save money – more money to go towards something special, could be a beach holiday or a new dress? Better than spending it on your car.

With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you start today? Ask your employer if you have facilities at your work to support your cycling (such as bike racks, showers etc), or visit your local city council to find out if you have a local cycling center that offers showers and security for your bike. Put together a cycling group with your work colleges.

 

How To Get A Pay Rise Without Asking Your Boss?

 

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How To Get A Pay Rise Without Asking Your Boss?

Sounds great, but that’s not possible you say. Well did you realize that over $4billion dollars every year is paid to banks, brokers, insurance agents and financial planners?

But how does this get me a pay rise? Well most financial products in Australia have either a commission or a fee that is being paid into the pockets of somebody other than you. Even worse in most cases you may have never even meet the person who receives those commissions. It’s like taking money each week out of your pay packet and giving it to a stranger on the street.

Sounds crazy? Why would you do this? More than likely before today you didn’t even know that these fees existed. This is the reason I started Bright Future Financial, as I have seen people struggle each week to pay bills, and even put food on the table for there family. I wanted to help Australians understand what hidden fees they are paying, and help get this money back into their own pockets.

But I’m in an industry fund, so I don’t pay commissions. Well this is correct but fees are also being paid on your life insurance, your income protection, your car insurance, your house insurance and even your home loan, and the list goes on.

This is the pay rise you deserve – stop funding other people’s lifestyle. I want this money to be yours, to help you pay your bills, or even take your family on that holiday you have always wished. Bright Future Financial has an administration service does this for you a minimum cost, without fuss and paid into your bank monthly. Call us on 1800 457 647 or visit our website www.brightfuturefinancial.com.au.

The Wedding Planner; not just about the Vows

 

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The Wedding Planner; not just about the Vows

Wedding planning can become a stressful time for a lot of newly engaged couples. When discussing a wedding idea, often a wedding budget is placed out of mind until it is to late. Running into debt for your wedding is definitely not advised when starting a new chapter of your life – so let us help you!

Set yourself a budget as soon as you begin to think of your wedding. Although this doesn’t sound the least bit romantic, it will reduce the stress when viewing wedding venues. Laying down an amount will allow you both to be realistic – many places will lure you in with “cheap” costs, but upon reading the fine print, you will find that there are hidden costs which can clock up to $3000 extra!

Decide upon what elements of your wedding are the most important. What is something you wouldn’t mind splurging on, and what is another that you could cut back. This may even be as simple as reducing the amount of decorations or flowers on the day – or being a tad “cut throat” and drastically reducing the invite list.

Whatever it is, the day will be great – whatever you choose. However keep in mind that when you break the bank on the wedding, that debt will still be there, be mindful and reasonable. While planning – take time to reconsider monetary costs, and don’t be afraid to look around, or ask for a better value. After all, it is your day!

The Silly Season – Decoded

The Silly Season – Decoded.

reindeer-baubles


As the year begins to end, and the amount of events and parties begin to multiply, the next few months can be overwhelming. Whether you are planning the events or just attending them, there is a cost that comes with this time of year –if you aren’t careful, this price tag can be hefty.

Plan Ahead; Know what is coming up and plan for it. For a lot of workplaces, Secret Santa gifts can be a great way to reduce the amount of spending. This doesn’t have to be limited to workplaces either – it works great for family gatherings!

Begin looking now for gifts that may be suitable for family and friends, the earlier you get in, the easier it can be to budget spending – rather than having spending occur all in the one week, or day!

If you are planning an event look into the difference in cost between a Price Per Head, or a bar tab. Depending on the size of the party – it can work out cheaper to have a bar tab – rather than allowing the venue to determine the average amount of drinks, and charging you for it.

Resist the sales – and try to take a step back. The advertisements will be on almost every corner soon, and the ever present “sale” signs will be riddled through television. Stick to what you need, and separate it from what you want. There is a fine line we often cross, finding ourselves over our heads in items that we generally wouldn’t purchase, had the sale not been on. With that said, sometimes a little nudge is needed for purchases, however just stay mindful that spending is promoted through retail at this time of year . . . keep on the lookout.

Makeup, makes up for a lot of costs.

makeup woman

Makeup, makes up for a lot of costs.

When we look at everyday expenses – often we overlook the process of getting ready. For a lot of women, makeup can be a costly everyday expense, and although it pays itself of over use.

Retail stores can draw up the price for regular items – simply by stocking it in their stores. We often fall victim to convenience, and more often than not we are the ones that suffer.

For example the retail asking price for a Clinique foundation is around $60, however when looking online at makeup superstores, you can find the exact same item for $30. We don’t have to necessarily skimp on quality just to save money – often we mistake saving for sacrificing. It is correct that you may have to reduce purchasing certain items in order to save – but quality shouldn’t be something that you have to reduce, if it’s not necessary.

Have a look around online, and don’t be afraid to ask for a better price. Depending on what makeup brand you use, you may be able to find your products for cheaper in stores such as Kmart and Target. Keep an eye out for discounts and deals – stores such as Myer or David Jones choose to offer “freebies” linked in with purchases. These “gift with purchases” can save you money on items you may have needed to purchase in the coming months. Unlike a lot of deals, these gifts with purchase are designed to reward you, rather than entice you into spending more on items that you do not need.