Right - the silly season is over. The new year's resolutions are still fresh in your mind. And after the festivities, your bank account probably needs some TLC.
You'd be surprised at how small changes to your spending habits can add up to big savings over time - so here's to a financially happy new year!
Make this your number one priority. It's a simple first step, but an incredibly powerful one.
Think about what you want to achieve financially. Where you want to be this time next year, or in 5 years time. Also think about the smaller steps you will take towards achieving you goal - so you can break it up into bite sized chunks, which you can measure and celebrate weekly or monthly along the way.
Important: write your goals somewhere you will see often. Referring to them regularly will help you stay on track and motivated.
Your morning coffee may be a non-negotiable. If you wonder whether without it you'll be able to maintain normal human relationships with those around you, then giving it up might not be a great idea.
However at around $4 a cup these days, the expense can add up. Making your coffee at home some days, with your capsule machine or drip filter, and carrying it with you on the way to work rather than buying a barista-brewed cup on the way, can work out to be up to 90% cheaper. Use a reusable cup while you're at, to do the planet a favour too.
Filling a reusable water bottle from home, rather than buying bottled water, can also save you significantly. With the average cost of a bottle of water pushing $3, and considering the waste those additional plastic bottles produce, it's another great way to help your bank account and the environment at the same time.
Take the challenge of a 'no spend day'. Avoid eating out and take away, and retail therapy for the day. Get creative about outings and activities which don't require spending - like a morning at the beach or the park. It's not only a great way to save money, but can also avoid impulse buying unnecessary items.
Did you know that Australians throw away up to 20% of the food we purchase each week? Imagine one out of every five bags of groceries from your last shop bypassing the kitchen and going straight into the wheelie bin.
By being more mindful about what goes into your trolley, and planning meals at home, you can reduce your food waste significantly - and save hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. So why not set yourself the challenge of eating what's already in the fridge and pantry, rather than making that extra trip to the shops.
For many of us, it feels like the money comes in and goes straight out again. There's not much left over at the end of the week. Where did it all go, you may be left wondering?
Why not have a look at what you have actually spent your money on over the past 3 or 6 months? Online banking makes it easy to download your transactions, and actually see where it's all going. You may be surprised by what you find - and it's a great way to identify areas where you could save some cash, and be more mindful about your spending.