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Start a savings plan to get your finances in order

Start a savings plan to get your finances in order
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Could this be the year you get your finances in order? A savings plan doesn’t need to be overwhelming, try these seven tips that financial advisors use with their clients to keep them on track.

Put it in writing

Put it in writing
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The very first financial resolution you should make, no matter where you stand, is to take outline your financial situation in writing. For some, it may seem easier to ignore your savings accounts in favour of simply making ends meet from week to week. While that’s tempting, you’ll never take control or your finances by avoiding them. “Take an hour or so to take inventory of all of your financial accounts,” says Patty Cathey, financial advisor at Smart Retirement Plan. Create one document with the type of account, info on how to access it, the account holder and the contact information. “If applicable, review the list with your spouse and any adult children,” she adds.

Track your spending

Track your spending
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Some financial mishaps happen simply because we aren’t paying close enough attention to our spending habits. Once you have taken an inventory of your finances, watch your spending for unnecessary expenses. “Take out the magnifying glass and take notice of the details in your financial picture,” Cathey advises. “Comb through your credit card statements to see if there’s any unnecessary spending or charges. Are you paying for a gym membership or cable channels you don’t use? Is there a charge you didn’t make that could be fraud? Paying attention to the little things can make a big difference in your finances.”

Another way to save is to trick your mind into spending less, find out how.

Start small

Start small
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When the New Year rolls around, the temptation is to make extreme financial resolutions all at once. But don’t get so caught up in your resolutions that you set yourself up for failure. Cathey advises her clients to make small changes to their spending, since they are more maintainable over time. “Taking a baby step in cutting your spending can start you on the path to even bigger savings,” Cathey encourages. “For example, instead of cutting out your morning coffee completely, cut out one cup per week in January. Same thing goes for bringing a lunch to work: try packing a lunch one day. You may find it’s easier than you realise.” By February you may be skipping two lattés and bringing your lunch twice a week.

Search for creative ways to make extra cash

Search for creative ways to make extra cash

Making a little extra cash in the New Year could get your started on reaching your financial resolutions. Cathey encourages her clients to start with what they already have, selling any excess they have in their home. “Take a quick test: Open your closet and look inside,” she says. “Any clothes or jewellery you haven’t worn in three years can be sold to a consignment shop or on eBay. Children’s consignment stores will often buy used toys, clothes and books.”

Find our more about making extra cash by selling online.

Wait before you swipe

Wait before you swipe
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Make a new habit of waiting before you spend on an unplanned purchase. Did you spot a piece of house decor at Target during a nappy run? Take time to think about the purchase before you swipe your credit card. “Apply the 48-hour rule by giving yourself a mandatory waiting period before making a big purchase,” Cathey says. “Many times, you’ll forget about the item you so desperately wanted when you’re in the store. If you still want or think you need it after 48 hours, talk over the purchase with a spouse or loved one.”

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Pay yourself first

Pay yourself first
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Even if you mean well, life can get in the way of prioritising saving for emergencies or getting ready for your retirement. David Bach, author of The Automatic Millionaire, encourages individuals with big financial goals to start by making their savings automatic each time they get paid. “Adding a small amount to your savings is pain free and pays off in the long run” he says. Then, utilise online banking tools to efficiently distribute money into different accounts including: retirement, emergency and mortgage payments, credit card, and other recurring bills.

Find out how to cut your energy and water bills and save money.

Plan for the future

 Plan for the future
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There is no time like the present to plan for the future. Sit down with a financial advisor to make sure you are on track to retire with plenty of money in savings. While you’re at it, Bach suggests you make a will. “Take the time now to know where your finances will end up,” he advised. “Most people don’t know how quick and easy creating a will can be.”

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Source: RD.com

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