Category: Money Matters
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Sub category: Spending
11 December 2017

Improve your financial fitness in 60 minutes

With the year coming to a close, and festive season celebrations on the agenda, December can be a surprisingly good time to get your finances in shape. After all, now’s your chance to reflect on the past 12 months, make fresh plans, and get firmly on track before the shopping mania takes over.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complex. In less than an hour, you can take a few practical steps to make some positive changes to your financial situation. Set your timer and let’s go!

Exercise 1. Build a budget

If you’ve had a busy year, you may not have kept close track of your spending. A few dollars for your daily coffee might seem like no big deal, but you might be surprised to see how it adds up – and by December you might be wondering where all the money has gone!

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: set yourself a budget using the ASIC MoneySmart budget planner. This tool will help you build a picture of your financial situation in just ten minutes, and it will even prompt you to factor in some things you may not have thought of (tolls, parking tickets, birthday gifts…the list goes on). If you need a nudge in the savings department, our everyday round up might be worth a look – it’s a great way to save on a routine basis without having to think twice.

Exercise 2. Start an emergency fund

It’s always a good idea to have some money to fall back on in case of emergency – the tricky part can be finding the motivation to save for a hypothetical scenario! One easy way to ‘feed’ your emergency fund is to include it as part of your budget. If you plan to set aside a certain amount each week or month, saving isn’t so hard – especially if you transfer it via direct debit into a high interest savings account (hint hint, ING’s Savings Maximiser).

How much you want to keep in your emergency fund is up to you, although the ASIC MoneySmart site states “As a guide, aim to save up enough money to cover your expenses for 1- 3 months.” This can be a huge relief if you happen to be made redundant or have unexpected health problems.

Exercise 3. Check your direct debits 

Setting up direct debits can make it easy for you to pay bills on time, but if you ‘set and forget’ for too long then you could find yourself paying for services you no longer need. Do you watch all the channels on your platinum TV package? Still need that gym subscription if you haven’t actually set foot inside the place for months?

Take 10 minutes to do a quick scan of your direct debits over the past six months and see if there are opportunities to cut out or cut back. If you’re not actually using something, it really isn’t worth paying for it.

Exercise 4. Bring your super together

Around this time of year, many super funds send out their annual statements. Rather than file it in the ‘later’ drawer, take this opportunity to actually have a good look at your progress. How are things looking – are you on track for your retirement goals, or falling behind?

If it looks like things are lagging, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, consider consolidating all your super into one account – after all, the more funds you have, the more fees you could be paying, and these can put a big dent in your balance.

These days it’s really easy to roll your super into one account if you’re an ING Living Super customer. Just log into online banking, select Superannuation > Rollover your Super. As well as saving you from paying unnecessary fees, having just one account will make your super way easier to manage.

Exercise 5. Compare your home and contents options

Insurance isn’t the most exciting topic, and chances are, not one you think about very often. It can pay to take a few minutes to review and update your home and contents insurance though, even if it’s just once a year. Different providers offer various discounts – whether it’s for being a long-term customer, paying upfront, or (in the case of ING customers) buying your policy online. With this in mind, why not check if you’re getting the best value possible – and if you’re still insured for the right amount? As your needs change, so will your insurance requirements, so it makes sense to keep this up to date. You can find more tips on home and contents right here.

Exercise 6. Run a home loan health check

Like insurance, home loans tend to be one of those things we don’t think much about – and similarly, it’s one area where you could potentially save. If you’ve had your loan for a while, your lifestyle might have changed (and the world around definitely has!) so it may be time to make some adjustments. That could mean accessing equity, or setting up an offset that you can easily understand and use. At ING we’re here to help answer any questions you may have – just call 1800 267 809 or drop by the ING Lounge at 60 Margaret Street, Sydney.

If you’d like some extra support in managing your finances then you may want to seek the support of a financial advisor. Alternatively if you have any questions about ING or our products then our team of specialists are available on 133 464. Visit for our operating hours.

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. ING Living Super (which is part of the ING Superannuation Fund ABN 13 355 603 448) is issued by Diversa Trustees Limited ABN 49 006 421 638, AFSL 235153 RSE L0000635. The insurance cover offered by ING 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 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

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