Spring is the time of renewal, new beginnings, and Spring cleaning.
Oftentimes, we feel motivated to set goals at certain times of the year, like the New Year, a birthday, a new quarter, or with the change of seasons. This “fresh start” effect can have a measurable impact on our lives, so why not go beyond cleaning your home and set a new tradition by setting some healthy financial resolutions?
Interest rates are turbulent, and plenty of people are being faced with tough choices as current lending comes to the end of fixed terms.
Have you reviewed these in the past 12 months to ensure you are getting the best deal possible based upon price, service, and functionality?
Can you bundle your phone, cell phone and data plans to maximise discounts?
If you are paying an annual fee for these cards, can you rationalise to one or two?
Are there any other overdue payments, buy now pay later (BNPL) schemes, or other unnecessary costs that could be cut?
Transportation is one of the largest costs for any household or individual.
Cars are the most common form of cost, and it’s no secret that petrol isn’t getting any cheaper! Calculate how much your car costs to operate per km driven over a 12-month period.
Consider catching the bus, carpooling, using a bike, combining tasks when you go out, and so on – basically, anything to keep transport costs down.
Even if you’ve already prepared a budget, it’s a good time for another look.
Review your spending, income, and your savings over the past three months. What is working and what is not working? Take any lessons learned and apply that moving forward.
Make sure that you are contributing to an emergency fund. Many of us are happy that we had an emergency fund during the recent ups and downs of the pandemic; it is always a good idea to have three to six months’ pay in either a savings account or other easily accessible bank account for emergencies, such as medical expenses or the temporary loss of employment.
Once you’ve built up a contingency fund, can you save more money so it can compound for future goals? If so, how much? What is your current investment risk profile and are you aware of the implications that has on your investment performance?
Nobody likes thinking of the worst times.
Do you have enough insurance cover, and of the right type?
Plan for your future by either creating a will or establishing an estate plan. While an estate plan can cover situations both “now” and “later”, a will can be simple enough to direct the disbursement of assets and care for minor children in the event of your death.
Some people still spend on their kids until their children are grown and in their 40s!
Or, if you’ve got younger children, are there any easy wins that can be sought out to reduce child-rearing costs? Perhaps even substituting pricy hobbies with more economical ones?
Whatever you’re aiming for financially, how are you tracking?
If you’re within 15 years of retirement, you really need to start seriously estimating the income you want to have in retirement, and then adjust your planning to make sure you can hit your target income.
Or, maybe you’re saving for a first home and want to ensure you’re on track to accumulate a deposit.
Whatever the case, do your sums to ensure you hit what you’re aiming for!
Whatever your financial goals, a Spring financial clean out can help make your Spring season (…and summer, autumn, and winter) happier and more successful!