It’s the little things that make a difference when it comes to building sustained wealth.

The mistake a lot of people make is that they get overwhelmed by big financial decisions. They focus on the big complex issues rather than breaking their finances down into a series of little decisions which can be achieved quickly and easily.

Elite athletes will always say they break the big goals down and focus on the little steps needed to get there.

Here are eight simple financial decisions you can make today which, together, will make a huge difference to you achieving your goals.

1. Salary sacrifice into superannuation

Currently all working Australians have 9.5 per cent of their salary compulsorily contributed to their superannuation plan. Unfortunately it’s not enough and you need to contribute atleast an extra 2.5 per cent to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Start bridging the gap now by salary sacrificing extra contributions in before tax dollars… it makes sense financially and tax wise.

It might not be the full extra 2.5 per cent, depending on your age and other financial commitments, but start the habit now of contributing extra and change it upwards in the future.

2. Start an emergency fund

Would you believe the average Australian household has less than a month’s worth of income in liquid savings. That’s a scary position to be in if financial disaster strikes.

Yes you could go into debt or draw down on your credit card balance, but that is a very expensive exercise. A better idea is to set up a regular transfer from your transaction account into a “rainy day” online account with the aim of building up to about 3-6 months worth of salary.

3. Get your tax under control

Do it right now. That long standing commitment to set up a filing system to store work related receipts and other relevant documents will make tax time so much simpler.

Get some direction from your tax agent, then go to Officeworks or look for a savvy website or app organiser and just do it.

4. Set up overdraft alerts

We hate accidental transaction account or credit card spends. Those little unnoticed expenses which tip your account into the red and immediately slug you a fee.

It’s a budget killer. It may be only $20-30 but it adds up, along with any interest. And why do you need to add more to bank profits?

Go into your online banking and set up alerts on your accounts when balances drop below a certain level. It will be your cue to take care and stop spending. The same goes for regular bill payments.

5. Download your free credit score

Knowing your credit score is bargaining power. A good credit score means you can legitimately negotiate a better deal with financial institutions on a whole range of products.

Banks don’t want to lose good customers and will work hard to keep them. You need to know whether you’re one of the team, so go to now and find out.

6. Always question late payment fees

It’s annoying, you know you’ve done the wrong thing but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. If one of those unexpected payments has caught you by surprise, pushed you into the red and earned a late payment fee, do something about it.

Ring or email your banker, explain it was unintentional and ask for the fee to be reversed. For good customers they’ll do it… you just have to ask.

7. Identify your no-fee ATMs

Would you believe Australian spend a couple of hundred million dollars in fees each year from simply using another bank’s ATM. You know that $2-3 fee that comes up when withdrawing cash.

Those little fees all add up and can be easily avoidable. Use your smartphone, press your bank’s app and look up where the closest no-fee ATM is and walk the extra few paces to save money.

8. Change the way you shop

For most people shopping is seen as a reward for hard work, something you deserve and are entitled to. Studies show it creates a psychological buzz or high that makes people feel better about themselves.

Unfortunately the real life low afterwards from realising that reward is a waste of money can be a painful financial hangover.

Get into the habit of finding an alternative to shopping to provide that high. It could be exercise or meditation or listening to music. Whatever it takes to break the impulse shopping habit.

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