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Bills & Budgeting

Newlyweds have a lot on their plate. Their to-do lists are mammoth and can include big jobs and small pesky tasks. Many might be moving house, most will jet off on a honeymoon, and it’s likely everyone will send off thank you notes to guests.
However, there is one pressing issue that most seem to put off. Yes, you know I was going to say it:
Getting finances in order.
It ain’t all about love see?
Now that the law recognises you as a couple, you’re finances are officially shared.  There are some more jobs to put on that list to make sure you’ve wrapped your financial life up in a nice little bow. 

Gellinger / Pixabay

Figure Out Long-Term Goals

Now that it’s official you’ll be spending a new life together, be open and honest about your financial goals. For example, a family home will probably be on the list. So, the question will be whether to buy or build. Before deciding, it’s worth weighing up whether buying a house and land package might be right for you.

193584 / Pixabay

To Kid Or Not To Kid

Of course, there’s always the question of kids. Consider your financial situation as part of the kid equation and whether to commit. It costs on average over $400,000 to raise a child – and that’s not included the time you invest in these little devils. Of course, they’re worth it, but you’ll want to be ready for this ride. Let me assure you. 

TawnyNina / Pixabay

Think About Bank Accounts

Your bank accounts will be begging for your attention too. Now that you are married, consider whether you want to open a joint account together. Closing down old accounts and opening up joint ones usually makes sense. You’ll also reduce time administering accounts and also cut down on those awful fees.
Note: Some couples prefer to keep their own accounts alongside a joint one. If you like some financial independence, you may want to consider this option too. 

3dman_eu / Pixabay

Work Out Your Differences

You both might be completely different when it comes to managing finances. For instance, your partner may be a saver while you could be a serial spender! There are ways to get around this. Consider creating a budget that works with your differences. For instance, the savvy ‘saver’ to manage the finances. They won’t as frivolous with expenses and will keep an eye on what’s happening in your accounts. 

andibreit / Pixabay

Trust Your Partner

Now that you are married and sharing life together, it is important that you completely trust one another. This is especially true when it comes to your finances. If you hit a finance snag, confide in your partner. Otherwise, the small issue can become bigger. Talk to your partner so that they can provide you with the necessary help and support.
Don’t let finances put such a strain on your relationship you end up divorced. That would defeat the purpose of the gorgeous wedding, honeymoon and all those love-for-life promises.

NGDPhotoworks / Pixabay

Wishing you a long and happy marriage!

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Some experts suggest people should save up to 30% of their income. But this goal is lofty. The majority of punters will find this unrealistic with the cost of living now. Consumers struggle to put food on the table, let alone put savings away each week.

1. Don’t leave yourself short

No individual, couple or family like to leave themselves short. So many people are living ‘week-to-week,’ with some even relying on credit to get there.
Putting savings away isn’t always the best option either. If funds are of better use elsewhere, locking them away can be detrimental.

2 Expect the unexpected

Maybe your fridge just died like mine did?
You will need to replace this big ticket item quickly. Otherwise, you’ll have the drama (I’m having) of not being able to do full grocery shops. Don’t worry. We’re on this mission now!
But not everyone has the money to replace a broken appliance immediately. Instead, call a company who offer expert repairs and cooking appliance services.
Tip: This can work out a more affordable than replacing the unit altogether.
Either way, you may have to dip into current savings or not save at all this month.

3. Save an emergency fund

If you were smart, you would have an ’emergency fund’ saved for these unlikely events. If you do have an emergency fund, you’ll be ready for issues like this as they occur.
Tip: Deal with problems like this as they happen. Otherwise, you’ll get a false sense of your finances. You risk even spending your precious fridge or ‘fix-your-fridge’ money.
The same applies to any other big ticket items. You might need holiday spending money or to pay for a child’s after-school activities.
Here’s one scenario to avoid:
  • Set aside too much money into a long term savings account
  • Realise you need a big ticket item
  • Use your credit card to survive until pay day
  • Have to pay fees to pull your money out of savings

4. Go on a mission to clear your debts

Got debt that’s accruing interest, such as credit cards or store accounts? Clear all debts before starting to save money. This just makes financial sense.
Here’s another scenario:
  • Invest $1000 in savings account that increases to $1,020. Note: This can be more if you find a better deal, but rates are still hovering below the 2% mark.
  • A debt of $1,000 (at an average of standard rates 13.99%) will cost you an extra $399 per year roughly.
Better to take the $1000 in savings and clear the debt!
Tip: If you have debts on 0% deals, then you’re good-to-go – of course. Just make sure you keep up-to-date with monthly payments. Otherwise, you’ll pay the price when the standard interest rate kicks in!

PixelMakerEric / Pixabay

5. Shop around

Make sure you get the best deal on the one savings account you have. Shop around and make sure your savings account is working for you. Many online banks are a great solution because many don’t charge bank fees. If you get an account like this you won’t be eating up those savings in monthly bank fees. This is counterproductive.

FirmBee / Pixabay

6. Make an effort

Anything great requires effort. So learn the best ways to save and pay attention to your money. If you don’t do this, you might as well walk up to a rubbish bin and throw your wallet in there.
This is especially true if you go with a savings account linked to the stock market. You need to set time aside for watching rates. Hunt down better account deals and make the most of the money you’ve set aside from everyday expenses.

7. Form a money-saving habit

Tip: Saving money is a great habit. Even if it’s $10 a week. If you ever apply for a loan the banks will love that you’ve made the effort.
They like to see a ‘track record of saving money.’ Saving money is better than having the money and frittering it away in a random spending attack.

8. Be realistic

Weigh up your options. Put a little away and also look how you can get your money working for you.
Here are two ways:
  1. Put extra into your superannuation or mortgage
  2. Throw your money into a home renovation
  3. Spend extra each month on bulk cooking to save each week
There are many ways to ‘save money’ and they aren’t always as obvious as ‘putting money in a bank account.’
Thanks for listening and happy saving, whichever path you choose!
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I’m a big believer in using great systems and technology to get stuff done. Whether you are after the best budget spreadsheet or a savvy online budgeting system, I’ve got the goods for you. These five simple tactics will change the way you budget your money forever. If you are old school check out the following modern alternatives to finding the best budget spreadsheet – improved by advances in technology. Yay!

Tactic 1: Use an effective system

Create a bill paying system for paying bills on time an avoid overdue fees. Here’s a great article at GetPocketBook describing why this is so important due to changes in recent legislation. These guys also have a fantastic bill paying system and calendar so you will never forget when to pay a bill. I personally use GetPocketbook.com to keep track of my accounts because of their forecasting feature. If you are old school you could grab my physical printables pack Debt & Bill Busters Printable Pack at the Savings Room shop.

Best Budget Spreadsheet: Get a bill payments log for Spring

Tactic 2: Review your expenses

Do a major review of your expenses every six months. Book it into your calendar and spend a day reviewing everything. Here’s a video I made a little while back on why this is so very important:
How to make an extra $350 each week without working.
Old School? Get the Best Budget Spreadsheet here: Get a bill payments log for Summer

Best budget spreadsheet

Image Source: StockSnap

Tactic 3: Keep your papers in order

File paperwork according to tax deductions each year. Here are some staggering facts from Kikki K, which will help you understand the importance of this point:
Did you know that?

  • 80% of all papers that are filed are never looked at again.
  • 80% of clutter is the result of disorganisation and not a lack of space.
  • The average time to retrieve and re-file a paper document is 10 minutes.
  • An average of 3% of documents are lost or misfiled, and have to be recovered at an alarming cost of $120 per document.
  • A person who works with a “messy” or cluttered desk spends, on average, 1 1/2 hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things

Source:: Read full article at Kikki K
WOW! Learn how to organise your paperwork so you can avoid these mistakes. Personally, I organise my paperwork so that each file is geared to tax time. That way, I have everything I need by tax time in neat little piles already. Works for me!
Old school? Get the Best Budget Spreadsheet 2016: Get a bill payments log for Winter

Tactic 4: Use an app to keep track anywhere

Use an automated budgeting app instead of trying to find the best budget spreadsheet for 2016. Alternatively, use an online budgeting service to make sure you stay within budget. I still highly recommend PocketBook as an all-in-one way to manage and budget your money, as their system includes:

  • Smart notifications
  • Bill management
  • Account syncing
  • Budget alerts
  • Works across all devices

All you need to do with PocketBook is set, forget and sync! It’s the best software I’ve used for budgeting, finances and staying on track daily, weekly, monthly and annually. It’s awesome!
Old school? Get the Best Budget Spreadsheet 2016: Get a bill payments log for Autumn

Budgeting Tactic 5: Shop with a list – always

Always shop with a list. Stick to the list.

  • Shop online so you can sort by price and know what you are up for before you get to the checkout.
  • Do a full inventory of your wardrobe before buying clothes. Then buy basics to match what you already have. Try to buy basics. Set an annual clothes budget.
  • Set a budget for gifts each year and pre-plan birthday presents.
  • Only take a certain amount of cash to the supermarket and leave your card at home. This way you can’t overspend.
  • Eat out at the park rather than a restaurant. Save thousands on eating out each year.

Like to share your best budget spreadsheet with others? Be sure to get in touch and we’ll post it below.

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If you’ve ever put on a little weight and your belt has been too tight around your waist, you will get an understanding of a “tight” budget in terms of managing money. Discover two simple ways to save money fast right here.
Here’s the analogy and logic:

  1. Put on weight and you will barely fit your clothes
  2. Put on more weight and you won’t fit your clothes at all
  3. Spend too much money and you’ll have little left in your bank account
  4. Spend even more money than that and you’ll end up broke and possibly in deficit

If you can relate to both of these problems, then read on to discover two quick ways to save money on a tight budget. You might even lose some weight as you do so!
Learn more ways to save money fast here: Save money by thinking of junk mail as cash

Eat soup twice a week

Groceries are one of our biggest spends. Consider eating soup twice a week and your grocery bill will go down dramatically. This is because meat and packaged processed goods (which create many modern dinners) are expensive.
If you eat soup twice a week there are many advantages.
Here they are:

  1. You’ll get two meals each week, which are highly nutritious
  2. You will get your fill of vitamins for the week
  3. You will not spend money on meat twice a week
  4. You will save approximately $20 – $30 depending on the size of your family
  5. You will also lose weight because soups are a light dinner option
  6. The savings are not only in the meat but also in calories (because many of our daily calories can be found in meat)
Ways to save money fast

Ways to Save Money Fast

Shop super wisely

There are some fantastic budget food outlets in Australia. One of the best ones I have found is NQR. As far as I know, this budget food outlet takes are ex-supermarket stock from supermarket shelves which aren’t selling extremely well. But the food is fine and in perfectly good condition.
Here’s a list of some of the stuff I pick up weekly at my local NQR:

  1. Snacks for the kids lunches (E.g. crackers)
  2. Diced tomatoes., pasta sauces and pasta
  3. Milk and sauce bases
  4. Mineral water and beverages
  5. Sliced cheese, chips and dips
  6. Ham and salami for lunches
  7. Sausage pieces for quick noodle dinners
  8. Personal items like shampoo and conditioner
  9. Tuna and canned goods
  10. Other misc stuff

I didn’t realise what a full supermarket NQR now is and I’m astonished at the savings I am making.
More ways to save money fast here: Save money fast with these 12 proven tips
Tip: I’m getting the stuff at half price of what I’d normally get it at Aldi, which is already a discounted store. I’m stoked.
What’s the benefit of shopping at a discount supermarket?
You can use the savings for a gym membership or a new treadmill.
I love a win-win.
Got great tips on ways to save money fast? Share them on my Facebook page.

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Budgeting is easy. There are plenty of ways to save and I’ve already got 20,000+ saving tips here in the Savings Room. But just in case you wanted more, here are my top 10 tips for improving your personal budget.

Clip coupons or get them online

This is a really important rule of personal budgeting. Why? A few minutes spent clipping coupons or finding them online can save you multiple dollars at the checkout, whether offline or online.

Buy in bulk

If your favourite products are on sale, buying in bulk will cost you more today but will end up saving you much more in future. Some good examples are items that do not have an expiration date, such as soap, shampoo, toiletries and other household items. Canned foods, which carry a long expiration date, are also ideal for buying in bulk.
Budgeting tips | 8 savvy ways to save on food

Save your spare change

Saving your spare change can be a great help in your quest for personal budgeting. I is surprising how quickly change can add up and, even if it’s $50 or $100 per month, your coins can add up to some serious cash. Many people discard their coins or simply toss them around without thought, but saving them in a bowl or dish will help a lot when it comes to personal budgeting.
Put a portion of each pay into a savings count each week or month. Whether itís a few dollars or several hundred, always make sure that you are putting aside some amount of money into a savings account. If possible, deposit 10-20% from each pay.
5 budgeting tactics you can start today

Avoid impulse shopping

This type of buying is what ultimately leads to buyer’s remorse. In order to avoid it, think about what you want to shop for and make sure that you avoid any last minute additions unless they are absolutely necessary or you can actually afford them.



Shop when the sales are on

Everyone enjoys jazzing up their wardrobe now and then so; when it comes time to add a few new pieces of clothing, stop by the sale rack for big savings. There is nothing wrong with some few extra dollars in your pocket, which can be later be used for life’s little essentials.
Avoid using high-interest credit cards unless you can repay them within six months. Otherwise, you are more likely to get swallowed up with interest and end up paying for the original purchase several times over.
If you do use a credit card for purchases, try to use one with an introductory or a 0% interest rate. This could end up saving you big bucks every month and also in the future, which is one of the most important rules for managing the budget.
10 practical ways to get better at budgeting

Request free samples

A number of websites offer customers the opportunity to request free product samples. Everything from skin lotions and shampoo to dog treats and household products are up for grabs. In addition, many manufacturers offer free samples of new product released directly through their websites.
If you find yourself swimming in credit card debt, call the creditor and request to be placed on a hardship program. This type of program allows for lower interest and smaller payments for a specified amount of time. Depending on the creditor, this can be in effect for several months or until the balance is paid in full. This method will not only help your immediate personal budget, but will also give you additional financial freedom in the future when the debt is paid in full.

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