A solid budget is crucial to keep your financial life on track, especially if you have a family to look after.
We know you’re busy and keeping your budget up to date can get tough to manage, but that’s never an excuse to neglect it.
Something we’ve always done, and highly recommend to others, is to set aside time every month to work through our budget as a couple and make sure our money is under control.
It doesn’t have to take very long. Fifteen minutes is about right for us… although you can always add a bottle of wine if you want to make things interesting.
The beauty is, once you’ve done the heavy lifting, a good budget will practically run itself. You’ll be on track to achieve your financial goals, and you can focus on enjoying life.
Here are seven ways to revolutionise your budget at your next family finance meeting.
Want more tips on how to take control of your money?
1. Negotiate everything
Whether it’s your bank accounts, insurance policies or even whitegoods, it pays to ask for a better deal.
Most retailers will have a good amount of wiggle room when it comes to pricing, so speak up before you get to the register. You never know if you never ask.
2. Cut your energy bills
Sometimes it’s the little things that can lead to the biggest savings, so get your family to start forming good habits when it comes to your household energy.
Make sure lights and heaters are switched off when you leave the house, cut down on using the dryer and opt for warmer clothes instead of running the heater could massively
cut your power bills this winter.
3. Don’t automatically renew your insurance
It’s so easy to set these things to autopilot and get on with your life, but you could be saving yourself a small fortune if you play it smart.
Use online comparison tools to make sure you’re getting the very best deal for your circumstances.
If you pay your premium annually (which is always cheaper) that’s only one review a year for each policy you hold. Time well spent if you ask us.
Of course… a disclaimer. If you do find a cheaper deal, make sure it still provides adequate cover for you and family, because if it doesn’t, it could leave you worse off in the long run.
4.Weigh up the car
If you own a car, tally up the costs and consider whether you really need it. If you have more than one, could you get by on less?
Most cars spent the majority of their lives parked in a driveway somewhere, and if you can get rid of it you will save thousands on registration and insurance premiums each year.
5. Salary sacrifice
Take advantage of salary sacrificing and pay less tax. You can sacrifice for superannuation contributions, your car or even your phone.
Paying less tax while still paying for the things you need – or boosting those retirement savings – is a great way to save money.
6. Bring in more money
A second source of income is probably the most effective way to get ahead when it comes to your budget.
Everyone has a skill. If you’re a keen writer, can do odd jobs or even have a good voice for voiceovers, tapping into the freelance marketplace can earn you some extra cash in your spare time. Even 2 or 3 hours of extra work a week can make a big difference.
7. Automate everything
We all make mistakes from time to time. It’s part of being human. So when it comes to the process-driven side of your finances, let a robot worry about them.
Set up automated withdrawals for things like savings or bills that you know won’t change. While you should check regularly to make sure everything is as it should, it’s much quicker than paying the bill manually.