Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Money smart saving tips

Money Smart Saving Tips

Having difficulty making ends meet?  Struggling to pay down debt?  Saving for something special?  Whatever your reasons, if you want to save extra money each month you will need to focus on spending less by reducing your outgoings, and increasing your incomings if possible.  Follow 1MUM's money smart saving tips to keep your cash in your pocket!

1. Review your budget - This is the best place to start and allows you to see at a glance where you could make any potential money smart savings.

2. Rent/mortgage payments - Can you reduce your costs in this area?

3.  Utility bills - It pays to do your homework and shop around as providers may offer better deals in a competitive market than they did when you first signed on.

4. Insurance - Always shop around for insurance when you are taking out a new policy, it also pays to do so when you are renewing and it can even be worth a phone call to negotiate a better rate.

5. Food and entertainment - This is simply about making some smart choices to keep on top of your budget, it doesn't need to be all about missing out on the fun, for example:

·        Caffeine hit - Are you a dedicated follower of the daily coffee run at work?  Consider sitting out three days and take a cafetiere to work to brew your own fresh coffee at a fraction of the cost ... SAVE $10+/week
·        @ work - Instead of going out for lunch with your work colleagues, suggest a date in the park with a picnic.  Avoid the takeaway counters each day and take a simple salad or sandwich ... SAVE $25+/week
·        Meals out - Instead of going out for dinner, entertain at home and cook a meal or have a BBQ.  BYO on the drinks ... SAVE $50+/week
·        Takeaway - With a tendency to be unhealthy, takeaway food can stack on the calories and be a burden on your budget!  If you fancy a night off from the apron strings, why not cook in advance and have a few of your favourite meals stored in the freezer in anticipation of that late night at work ... Save $20+/week
·        Grocery shopping - Try cutting out meat for one month, it can be healthier, cheaper and tasty too ...Save $10+/week
·        Memberships - Cancel any unused gym memberships, or if you are a gym fanatic, but would like to make some savings here, consider taking up running as a cheaper alternative ... Save $75/month

6. Transport -  Avoid taxis and hop on the bus/train instead.  If the trip is not too far, reap the rewards of walking - a healthier and cheaper alternative!  When it comes to parking, always look for free or cheaper parking when out and about.

7. Spending habits - Stop spending on credit cards and become a bargain hunter. 

8. Increase your income - Ask for a pay rise and even consider taking on a second job babysitting, waitressing/bar work, retail, manual labour etc.

9. Set yourself a goal - Decide where you are happy (and able) to make your money smart savings and calculate what this will be each month.  Once you have your figure, aim for it ... you should find it easier if you have a goal to motivate you! 

For example, only taking into account the savings example listed in the food/entertainment section, you could potentially save up to $130 per week ... $6,760 per year. 

10. Savings - You've done the hard yards, you've saved the cash, now don't blow it!  And finally, ensure it earns as much interest as possible.

Check out Sally Tyrie's money smart saving tips @ 1MUM for further details on making your budget work for you.

Money Smart not Money Short


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The child care rebate in Australia

The child care rebate in Australia


The Australian government provides two forms of financial assistance to families to help cover the costs of approved child care ... the 'Child Care Benefit' and the 'Child Care Rebate'.  While eligibility requirements for the Child Care Benefit are based upon your family income, the Child Care Rebate is not income tested and is available to most people who have children in child care or being looked after by a registered carer. 

The Child Care Rebate covers 50% of out-of-pocket expenses for child care up to a maximum amount per child per year (the limit for the financial year 2011-12 is $7,500).  

In order to be eligible for the Child Care Rebate, you will need to meet the eligibility criteria of the Child Care Benefit, including using an approved or registered child care.  Approved child care can include long day care, outside school-hours care, vacation care, in home care and occasional care.  It is important the child care you select is approved otherwise you will not receive the Child Care Rebate and you will have to meet the full cost of care. 

The child care service provider you are considering should be able to tell you whether they are approved or not, or you can always check online via mychild.gov.au.  

Make sure you check out Sally Tyrie's Q&A on the child care rebate in Australia for further details on eligibility and how to claim.

Money Smart not Money Short

Saturday, 22 June 2013

All about shares

All about shares

In terms of an investment, shares are a unit of ownership in a company which entitles the shareholder to a portion of the profits distributed by the company.

Business owners generally own the shares in their business, but for the majority of non-business people, the opportunity to own shares is either directly in your own name, or indirectly via your superannuation fund, and these usually invest heavily in the shares of different companies.

You can also invest in managed funds, exchange traded funds, or listed investment companies.  Investing in this way pools your resources with other investors and allows you to potentially invest in many listed shares, however, there are additional costs to consider with these options such as investment management fees.

Shares are generally longer term investments as their value can fluctuate both up and down. If you are prepared to invest for the long term, and accept some risk and volatility, then shares can be excellent investments.

In terms of which shares to buy, you should do your homework, or alternatively speak to your financial adviser.  There can be other benefits of owning shares and where to hold them, such as to reduce the amount of tax you pay on the profits.  A financial adviser would be able to help you in this sort of situation.

Make sure you check out Sally Tyrie's Q&A on All about shares to find out more.
Money Smart not Money Short


Friday, 14 June 2013

7 habits of a super saver

7 habits of a super saver

With it becoming increasingly the norm to spend on credit cards, more and more people are living beyond their means and piling up the debt.  It is a problem particularly associated with the developed world and the culture we live in today.  So how to buck the trend and save, not spend?

    1. Save regularly ... and save at the beginning of the month, not from what's left at the end 
    2. Monitor your discretionary spending ... look at where you can make cuts to your budget
    3. Be pro-active when it comes to managing your money ... look for the best interest rate on   
        your savings and minimise the tax you pay on this
    4. Clear debts first ... start with the highest interest rate debt
    5. Keep track of your loose change ... start saving your coins, you'll be amazed at how much 
        you can build up
    6. Set savings' goals ... it will help keep you motivated and stay on track
    7. Become a bargain hunter ... always expect to pay less

Make sure you check out Sally Tyrie's 7 habits of a super saver to find out more.

Money Smart not Money Short