Hello all, this is the final part to our 3 part series that hopefully has provided you with some ideas for 2016!
7) Look for savings on your mobile and pay TV plans
Does your current ‘phone plan still meet your needs? Do you need as many minutes as your current plan gives you? Do you need more data, rather? I’ve just restructured my wife’s plan for more data and calls for nearly 20% less cost – with the same supplier. If you haven’t shopped around for a new mobile service in the past two years, you are probably paying more than you need to.
Other moves you could consider are changing supplier – you might be with, and paying for, the supplier with the biggest network coverage – but if you very rarely, if ever, travel outside the major metropolitan areas, do you need to be paying for the service to remote areas?
If you have pay TV, do you use it? Do you watch the channels you’re paying for? Are their less-costly packages that better meet your viewing needs? Have you considered any of the lower cost on-line services?
There are a number of online streaming services also available now that are considerably less expensive than Foxtel. Netflix and Stan are just $10 or so a month. We have also seen that some internet and phone providers are adding in free subscriptions with their plans, so do shop around!
8) Seek low cost or free entertainment
Cultivate some new low cost sources of entertainment that protect your budget without making you feel that you’re missing out. Go for a walk along the river or around the botanic gardens. Take a friend to a local hockey game – some of the best players in the state may be playing at a ground near you. Seek out that inexpensive restaurant, or hit a public beach if you enjoy the sea.
Many of these low cost entertainments are shared with people we like or love, giving more memorable experiences and lasting happiness than other experiences that cost a lot.
9) Build up three months’ worth of expenses in a strategic reserve
You will have found that it was really hard to follow a sensible plan when you were frantically managing your daily cash flow. The need to continually address short-term financial crises reduces a person’s ability to budget and do any sort of long-term planning, so, now you have your budget in place, you’ve got your short-term debt under control with your high interest cards on monthly settlement, you now need to put in place a plan that will stop it ever happening again.
The way out of this is to build up a reserve which you keep separate from your normal day-to-day bank account so you won’t be tempted to spend it – perhaps, it’s in the form of an advance payment on your mortgage on which you can redraw if you really need to. Ideally this reserve should cover a few months’ living expenses in case you get sick, lose your job or have some other crisis.
Accumulating this reserve is definitely hard. You won’t do it overnight, either. But it’s worth it. Having this reserve brings huge peace of mind as you will know that you don’t have to stress out about juggling every expense to address a short-term financial challenge.
Once you’ve achieved this, you’re ready to really save and invest for the long term.
10) Raise the excesses on your car and homeowners insurance, or increase the waiting period on your income protection cover.
All of your insurances may be ripe for savings – your life, disability and trauma and home, contents and car. If you haven’t had a major review of these insurances in the last couple of years, you may well be paying too much premium.
But, now you have a reserve, you may be able to do something about some of the other variables. Your car and homeowners/contents insurance come with excesses – the amount you pay before the insurance company pays anything. The higher your excess, the lower your insurance premium will be. Now that you have your reserve, you may be able to increase your excess and reduce your premium.
Similarly, with your income protection policy, the longer the waiting period before you receive a benefit, the lower your premium. If you now have a reserve that can help you meet your expenses for a longer period before you need to get the monthly benefit, you may be able to increase the waiting period and reduce the monthly cost of the cover.
If you would like to discuss anything above, or anything budgeting, please give us a call!!