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New year, new (wealthier) you

Kick the bad money habits with a new year’s resolution you can actually stick to.

All it takes is a few tweaks to the way you spend.

Ditch the excuses

Have you been trying, and failing, to save money all year? Got yourself a clear savings goal but aren’t getting any closer to it? Find yourself stuck in a money-spending rut? Most importantly (and here’s where you need to take a good hard look at yourself), are you always making excuses for your inability to save?

‘I don’t earn enough money’. ‘I keep getting unexpected bills’. ‘All those nights out with friends … you know …’

It’s time to ditch the excuses and make a fresh start with your savings in January. It might take a little effort on your part to get started, but with a few simple changes now, you may just get to the end of 2018 and answer the above questions very differently. Start small – very small if you have to – and within a year you’ll have a nice little pot of savings to be proud of.

Breaking the habit

There’s a story (or is it an urban myth?) about a man that was trying to lose weight. His downfall was the iconic Aussie meat pie. Each day, at lunchtime, he’d walk past the local pie shop and couldn’t resist going in to buy a pie. His clever weight-loss consultant suggested he walk a different route at lunchtime – nowhere near a pie shop. Small change in behaviour, big difference to his waistline.

If you notice that you spend a lot of money at a certain time of the day or week, then you’ve got yourself an opportunity to change things up, just like Mr Pie Shop. Are Friday night drinks – what with the requisite cocktails, taxis and late-night snacks – consuming too much of your pay packet? Have you got into the habit of meeting up with a workmate at 10am each morning to grab (another) coffee? By mid-week, are you exhausted and revert to gourmet take-away meals until Sunday night?

You don’t want to give up your Friday night social life completely. Or your morning catch-up with a workmate. And it’s hard to shake that mid-week exhaustion. But you can disentangle these things from spending. For example, nix the night out and get your mates over to your house. Or suggest to your workmate that you do a lap of the block at 10am instead of loitering at the barista’s machine. To cut spending on take-away, you could do a big cook-up on a Sunday arvo and freeze dinners for the rest of the week.

See what we’re doing here? Replacing a more expensive habit or activity with a less expensive (but hopefully just as fulfilling or fun) one. If there’s something you absolutely don’t want to give up – like that Friday night tearing up the town – then you could make a mini-sacrifice somewhere else in your life.

So, what’s one little thing you could change to save money, without causing total upheaval and disruption in your life? What is realistic and achievable? Got something that you reckon you could commit to in 2018? Here’s what you do next.

So, what’s one little thing you could change to save money, without causing total upheaval and disruption in your life? What is realistic and achievable?

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Do the maths

Once you’ve committed to one little change, work out how much money you’ll save each week by making this change. For example, cutting out five mid-morning coffees could save you about $17.50. You could open a high interest savings account and set up an automatic transfer from your everyday transaction account to this new account for, you guessed it, $17.50 a week. Do it when your motivation levels are sky-high at the start of the year and then, when motivation drops as New Year fades into a distant memory, the transfer is locked in and it would take effort to get out of it.

Let’s do the maths on your caffeine-free savings plan. By the end of the year, you will have deposited $910 into the account. And this doesn’t include any interest you earn on your savings, See how much you could save just by making one teeny-tiny change to your day.

‘Saving more’ isn’t a great New Year’s resolution. Why? It’s vague. It’s not going to get you anywhere. Instead, this year, why don’t you try to identify one spending habit that you could change – and resolve to stick to it. By starting small and only changing one behaviour at a time, you might just find that you achieve your New Year’s resolution this year.

Work out your income and expenses

The ANZ Budget Planner can help you identify your income and expenses and get an idea of what your budget could look like. 

  ANZ Budget Planner

The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives financial situation or needs.  By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations.  You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.