Can you think of a time when you felt good about how you managed your money? Perhaps you got a discount on something you needed; paid a bill on time; or saved up for Christmas presents.
There’s nothing like feeling confident and in control of your money.
The good news is those moments happen more often if we take some time to understand our finances better. Here’s why:
We become more aware of where our money goes
By doing some research or asking for help we can uncover ways to make our money go further.
Writing down what you spend for a month can make it easier to see how you could free up some money by changing how you spend. It might mean buying fruit and vegetables that are in season instead of a ready-made meal or takeaway, for instance.
We become better prepared for large and long-term expenses
Understanding our finances better helps us see the expenses that we have to prepare for over a longer period. Putting aside a smaller amount of money over a few months can make it easier to cover expensive times such as Christmas or the start of the school year.
That same approach works for long-term savings goals such as having money to live on when we retire. Did you know women currently have almost 50 per cent less than men in superannuation when they retire? Paying attention to your super savings now can make a big difference later in life.
Our money isn’t drained away by late fees or high interest costs
Sometimes bills seem overwhelming. But there are alternatives to paying late fees on utility bills or trying to cover a shortfall with a pay day loan. A community worker or financial counsellor could help you approach your utility provider make a hardship arrangement, for instance.
We discover better ways to get what we want or need
There are some ways of getting what you want or need such as pay day loans and rental agreements that will cost you a lot in interest or lock you into high-cost contracts. By seeking the help of a community worker you can find there are other more affordable ways to buy what you need. So there will be more money left over for other things.
Say you need a new washing machine or to pay some education expenses. The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) lets you borrow up to $1,200 to cover those kinds of expenses. You repay it in monthly instalments over 12 months to 18 months and because there’s no interest or fees you only repay the actual amount that you borrow.
If you have bigger expenses such as car or house repairs there’s also the StepUP low-interest loan program. Loans are for $800 to $3000, the interest is a low fixed rate and the loan is paid off over three years.
There’s also ways to help you get to your savings goals a lot faster.
If you’ve paid off a NILS or StepUP loan you may be eligible to participate in the AddsUp matched savings plan. Your savings will then be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $500. So if you are aiming to save $1000 you only have to save $500 yourself.
There’s another bonus that comes from learning to manage our money well: we pass on some great skills to our children. So they in turn learn how to be resourceful, budget, save and use credit in the best way possible.