If your daily budget has been caught up in everything that’s rocked our world this year, we get it. To help you find your financial feet and gain control of the day-to-day, here are three tips and techniques to help you steady the ship and get back in charge of managing life’s essentials.
Spread money across multiple accounts
This technique is all about allocating a certain amount of money to a certain use, popping that money into its own account (with a handy name) and then only using it for that purpose.
First, we suggest working out what percentage of your income you need to cover all your regular expenses – such as bills, rent, food and any debt repayments. Then think about how many accounts you might need. Generally, three is a good start: expenses (the day-to-day you need to cover), savings (where your money can accumulate for longer-term items down the track) and spending (for any one-off things you’ll need, like a new shirt for work). Or you might want to slice it four ways and have accounts for daily expenses, emergencies, long-term goals and, if it feels right for you, splurges or treats such as Sunday coffee with your friends. You could even break down the expenses into more detail – such as bills, rent and food.
Most financial institutions (including us) have jumped on board with this budgeting technique, so it’s easier than ever to log in to your banking app, set up different accounts and move your money to the right place on pay day.
Pro tip: you can shuffle money between accounts when you need to – especially if your income has taken a hit – but try to only use the money in a specific account for what you’ve marked it for. That way you can see at a glance where every one of your hard-earned dollars and cents lives – and be reassured about where they’re going.
Try a no-spend weekend
This technique is all about developing new spending habits – or, in this case, no-spending habits. On an upcoming weekend, challenge yourself to enjoy the things you ordinarily do – but without splurging unnecessarily and overcooking your budget. You could even try and do the things you love for free.
Have a think about the stuff you love to do on a regular weekend, whether it’s hitting the cinema, sweating it out at the gym, brunching with your best mates or doing some retail therapy. Check if they cost, then look around for free alternatives.
Websites like Timeout are packed with listicles of free cultural events. Try a YouTube tutorial for a new workout or head over to the local park’s outdoor gym. If you’re a foodie, why not try to re-create your favourite dish from your favourite restaurant at home? Invite your friends so you still get your gossip fix – we’re sure they won’t mind if you ask them to BYO. The best things in life are free.
Get back to budget basics
If you don’t have a budget in place, it could be a great time to step back and set one up to make sure you’re covering everything you need to. The essential steps of a basic budget are:
- Record your income.
- Add up your expenses.
- See if you can save.
- Set your spending limit.
Covering your expenses is the first step to financial stability. Once you’ve got that on track, you can think about the extras like saving and spending.
If you have a budget up and running but things have changed for you financially, consider making some tweaks. In fact, any time your financial situation changes, it’s a great idea to go back to your budget and adjust the numbers to suit. Is it time to chill without Netflix? Could you lower your phone or internet plans? Don’t forget to look at costs that seem fixed, like transport. For example, if you’re driving less, you might be saving on petrol as well as things like insurance or tolls, too. Every bit helps.
Psst: check out our for more tips on how to manage the essentials.
Looking for extra support?
Times are tough for a lot of us. It’s natural to be feeling it. If you feel like you need an extra helping hand, here are some resources you can reach out to for a chat.
National Debt Helpline
Free advice and guides on how to tackle most debts
Call 1800 007 007 or online at ndh.org.au
Tools, tips and guidance to help Australians take control of their money
Online at moneysmart.gov.au
Financial Counselling Australia
Talk to a financial counsellor from anywhere in Australia
1800 007 007 or online at financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au
Coronavirus mental wellbeing support service
Call 1800 512 348 or online at coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au
ING is not affiliated with third parties mentioned in this article. ING is not responsible for any services provided by third parties nor does ING accept any liability or responsibility arising in any way from any products or services supplied by the third parties.
The information is current as at publication. Any advice on this website does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs and you should consider whether it is appropriate for you. Deposit products, savings products, credit card and home loan products are issued by ING, a business name of ING Bank (Australia) Limited ABN 24 000 893 292, AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229823. Living Super, a sub-plan of OneSuper ABN 43 905 581 638 is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by Living Super is provided by Metlife Insurance Limited ABN 75 004 274 882, AFSL 238096. ING Insurance is issued by Auto & General Insurance Company Limited (AGIC) ABN 42 111 586 353 AFSL Licence No 285571 as insurer. It is distributed by Auto & General Services Pty Ltd (AGS) ABN 61 003 617 909 AFSL 241411 and by ING as an Authorised Representative AR 1247634 of AGS. All applications for credit are subject to ING's credit approval criteria, and fees and charges apply. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement, Terms and Conditions, Fees and Limits Schedule, Financial Services Guide, Key Facts Sheet and Credit Guide available at ing.com.au when deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, a product. Before interacting with us via our social media platforms, please take a minute to familiarise yourself with our Social Media User Terms https://www.ing.com.au/pdf/Social_Media_User_Terms.pdf.