As we enter the depths of winter in Tasmania, the short daylight hours and chilly nights provide the perfect encouragement to spend more time at home, and as a result of this hibernation, potentially save some discretionary spending money.
But instead of just having a weather dictated savings plan, why not review your finances and start the new financial year equipped with the strategies to reach your financial goals in 2019-20? Here are five handy tips to help you on your way:
Cuppa and recap
Firstly, it's worth taking five to review how you travelled last year. Did you begin by being disciplined, only to let things unravel? Were there unexpected curveballs that were hard to recover from? Try to remember your headspace at key moments to pre-empt how you'll handle the same situations next time.
Use this information to start preparing a budget. It's the keystone, but the challenge is starting. If past budgets have been annoying, try interactive tool ASIC's MoneySmart Budget Planner.
Stay on track
Tracking progress is a key part of sticking to any resolution. To manage your personal finances, you need to know where your money's going. ASIC's MoneySmart TrackMySPEND and TrackMyGOALS apps are terrific, free tools that help.
Getting your debts under control is a good place to start. Punching in numbers to a credit card calculator will help you see what a difference extra payments can make.
Making extra mortgage repayments can also save thousands. For example, a couple with a standard $400,000 mortgage could save around $50,000 and pay off their debt almost four years earlier by contributing $200 extra monthly. Use an online tool such as ASIC's MoneySmart Mortgage Calculator.
Get super sharp
A few simple adjustments can make a big difference to the amount of money you'll end up with in retirement. For example, consider combining multiple super accounts to save fees, review your investment options, start automatic salary sacrifice contributions or make extra contributions.
Say it out loud
Lastly, research shows those who keep their resolutions to themselves are more likely to fail. So, share your goals with family and friends and feel that accountability rush.
- Wayne Davy is Tasplan Super chief executive