The average household spends more than $69,000 a year. Neal Vaughan explores the best ways to manage that.
Wondering why you spend almost everything you earn, living from payday to payday and hardly saving? It could be you’re too busy to keep track of your money.
Or you’re refusing the challenge of taking control: the 2014 ANZ Survey of Adult Financial Literacy in Australia, found women aged 28 to 59 years had lower scores than men on financial control, though they were better than men in keeping track of finances.
Women of this age were more likely to have missed a loan or credit card repayment and also more likely to have been unable to save money in most weeks. Greater discomfort with comparable levels of debt appeared to contribute to women’s lower scores on this index,” stated the survey.
In the same year, a study into women and money conducted by RMIT University’s Roslyn Russell and La Trobe University’s Amalia Di lorio found almost 50 per cent of women say they sometimes run out of money completely during the year.
That’s something that financial adviser Amanda Cassar has often seen in her career.
Cassar says “it is a fact that even very successful women generally end up with lower savings than their male counterparts, and with less than half the super savings” according to the 2013 Australian Bureau of Statistics’ gender indicators report of median super balances for women aged 45 to 55.
A financial health check-up with your adviser, and creating a monthly budget will help you save more when you’re earning well.
So what is the best way to go about setting up your own budget? The first thing to do is to put some time aside to write down all your expenses and incomes.
You may find that with a little extra care you can trim back your outgoings and save more than you thought, so you can start putting your money to work for tomorrow, not just today.
Primary school teacher Sofija Egic considers herself reasonably careful with money. However, she was surprised how easily having a simple budget with set spending limits, plus a regular direct debit to a separate savings account, helped her put a sizeable amount aside each month.
She has just purchased her first investment property with her partner Sam.
“To be honest, we used to spend without thinking. When you’re both flat-out working, it all seems essential until you actually list it down. We spent a Sunday morning working out a formal budget – a set amount for groceries, a limit on what we spent going out, getting a bus instead of a cab home – that sort of thing.”
It may seem a bit dull, but if you go to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s MoneySmart budget calculator, you can liven things up by downloading the TrackMySpend app.
You can use this app to track your day-to-day spending, which can alert you when you overspend (based on your pre-set budget limits on certain types of purchases).
ANZ’s budget planner is a detailed helpful tool for you to figure out your income and expenses and in the long term what you can achieve with your savings.
ANZ’s MoneyMinded hub can take you through the budgeting process, using the MoneySmart tools, to help you feel less stressed about the future.