Despite a shaky year (to put it mildly), if you’ve got a few extra dollars lying around, you might be feeling like the time is right to set yourself up to achieve your goals. Whether you’re tempted by a tree change, itching to be your own boss or looking to luxe-up the lifestyle you’ve worked hard to create, now could be the time to put those spare savings towards making it all happen. Here are three financial strategies to further your funds and fast-track your freedom.
Remove the urge to splurge
Curbing your enthusiasm for impulse buys can be a challenge (as can fitting all the packaging in the recycling bin), but here’s a technique that can help you get on top of it.
There you are, credit card in hand, online cart full. Your cursor hovers over the ‘pay now’ button. You take a deep breath, wait three seconds, exhale and… close your browser. Next, write down the item’s name and its price on a list of things you want to buy and keep that list somewhere safe and out of sight for a while. If you’re super disciplined, try an entire month or however long your pay cycle is. If that seems extreme, aim for seven days. Hey, even 24 hours could be the circuit breaker you need.
When the time’s up, get out the list and then – and only then – decide whether to buy. If you still need the item, go for it. But if the shine of the purchase, and the force of the impulse, has lost a bit of its power, you’ll thank your new habit – especially when you have a bigger goal to aim for. Just think: is buying this going to take me further away from [insert huge, epic, awesome life dream here]?
Build a rainy-day fund
Call it what you want: An emergency fund. A rainy-day fund. A crisis cash cache (okay, maybe not that). Either way, it’s smart to have up your sleeve because it can help turn a rainy day into just a light drizzle. It’s all about squirrelling away any extra savings just in case – for unexpected life things like medical issues, broken household appliances, essential car or house repairs, and even day-to-day expenses if your income suddenly slows down.
These things would ordinarily fit into a budgeting category of ‘needs‘ except this time they’re a shock to the system instead of a common or pre-planned monthly expense.
To get started, you could try saving $10 a day for 100 days. That’s $1,000 saved and you’re well on your way.
Budget, but do it backwards
If you feel like you’re on a fairly steady footing with your financials but still want to soup up your savings, give backwards budgeting a go.
Also known as ‘paying yourself first’, this is a good way to prioritise saving when you receive each pay or any chunk of income.
Regular budgets ask you to add up all your expenses first and save the leftovers, but backwards budgeting is all about first deciding how much money you want to save. It basically makes you spend around your goals. It gives you a financial incentive to save and reduce spending – because looking forward to your future goal can give you the motivation to save for it today.
Looking for more sage savings advice?
If you feel like you need advice or a helping hand with your savings, here are some resources to read and people to talk to.
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
ING does not endorse and 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.
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