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Unusual Ways To Save Money

As most of you know I have a part time job teaching social workers about money so they can then help their clients.  It is a fantastic job for someone like me who loves talking and writing about money!  I love teaching the course because every time without fail I learn something new from my class that I can then think about using in my life or share with you all.  What I find fascinating about personal finance is that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer or only one way to achieve a goal, there are different ways that suit different people.  Believe it or not some of the most diverse answers come when we talk about different ways to save money….. so here are some of the most unusual ones I have heard lately.

  1. Cold Hard!
    Yep – you read it correctly when I asked one of my classes the other day how they saved money one lady piped up and said “I have cold hard!”…. “er pardon” was my reply.  I certainly hadn’t heard that one before and my mind boggled as to what that could be!  As she went on to explain that she saves her money as soon as she gets paid putting a set amount of cash in a plastic zip lock bag and putting it in her freezer!!!!  Between the meat and the peas apparently!!!!  She also went on to explain that putting the money into her freezer means that she won’t touch it, whereas if it is in a bank account she will.  She has used this strategy to save for a solar hot water system and is currently saving for a cruise!!!  Obviously this one is not great if you get robbed and the robbers are hungry!!!  But still, I was impressed with her ingenuity!
  2. Coke bottle anyone?
    Apparently an empty 600ml bottle of Coke can hold close to $800 worth of coins, according to one guy from my class.  It is often touted on the internet to be $1,000 but my participants claim that is not true and it is more like $800 (what?! something on the internet that is not true!!!).  Being a closet Coke drinker I am keen to give this one a go myself.  I think it is a great way to save for Christmas!!!
  3. Don’t claim the tax free threshold
    When you get a job, you fill in a form which asks whether you want to claim the tax free threshold.  Australian residents for tax purposes are entitled to an $18,200 tax free threshold  If you select ‘no’ on the ATO form and don’t claim the tax free threshold, you are taxed on that first $18,200. It means you are paying tax on a sum of money, at your regular tax rate, even though you don’t need to.  As a result you will overpay tax and get a tax refund at the end of the financial year.
  4. Over-pay your rent
    This is another popular one especially to pay for Christmas.  Often paying more on your rent means you can have a month off at the end of the year to pay for Christmas.

Saving is a really individual thing, but when you get something that works for you – stick with it.

What is your unusual saving tip?

If you liked this post you might also like:

Home & Contents Insurance: How Do You Know If You Have Enough?

Should I Fix My Mortgage Rate?

How To Use An Offset Account To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

How To Make Your Savings Work Harder

 

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

24/07/2015 5 comments
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Interest rate cut

So this week the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut interest rates by 25 basis points to new all time lows of 2.00%. Wooohooooo!!!! This is great news for those of us with mortgages. Provided the banks pass on the full cut, it is expected that the 25bp cut would save around $45 per month on a home loan of $300,000. So the big question is what should you do with the extra cash that you will have post the cut?

  1. Spend it
    This is one option and it is certainly what the Reserve Bank (RBA) would like us all to do. The whole reason the RBA are cutting rates to put more money in our pockets so we will spend it. This helps the economy as roughly 70% of the economy is consumption – you and me spending. The more we spend (up to a certain point) the better the economy goes.
  2. Pay off other debts
    If you have other debts that have high interest rates like credit cards or personal loans then it pays to get rid of these debts as fast as you can. Putting the extra money you gain from the interest rate cut onto your credit card could save you 20% or more (depending on your interest rate) on each $1 of debt paid off, a great return!
  3. Keep your mortgage repayments the same and pay off your mortgage faster
    The benefit of doing this is that not only do you pay off your mortgage faster but when interest rates eventually rise you will be protected as you are already paying off a higher rate anyway. In order for this strategy to work you need to be already managing ok with your mortgage repayment at the higher previous level.
  4. Put the extra into your emergency fund
    An emergency fund helps to deal with any bumps in the road that life might bring like losing your job or unexpected expenses. You should aim to have at least six months of expenses saved. Adding to your emergency fund always helps to build that buffer for when the unexpected occurs.
  5. Consider putting extra money into your superannuation
    Lot’s of factors are important when deciding whether add money to your superannuation. Make sure you get some good financial advice, specific to your circumstances.

So of all the options outlined above Mr Money and I have decided to keep our mortgage repayments the same and reduce our mortgage even faster. Actually, we have decided to do this for this cut and the previous one. I guesstimate (using a mortgage calculator ) that just by keeping our repayments the same amount as prior to the last two cuts we cut around 2 years and 11 months off our mortgage and save us around $20,000 in interest over the life of the loan if interest rates stay at this level. Whoooppppeee!!!

What have you decided to do with your mortgage rate cut?

If you liked this you might also like:

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Should I Fix My Mortgage?

How Much Your Credit Card Debt Is Really Costing You

5 Websites That Will Make Or Save You Money

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:



Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

05/05/2015 5 comments
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Living On One Income

We have spent big chunks of the last four years since our daughter was born living on one income.  Some of it was voluntarily, like the twelve months maternity leave I took after she was born.  Some of it was involuntary, like the two redundancies that followed soon after that: one for me, then once I got a part time job; one for my hubby!  Go figure!  I joke that we are not meant to have two incomes in our household, or so it seems!  Living on one income can be tough.  Really hard given the cost of living in Australia is so high and the cost of housing, well don’t get me started on that one.  However, living on one income can be done, and here are some tips to help you through.

Check out what Centrelink benefits you qualify for

Going from two incomes to one income, could mean that you might qualify for more assistance from the government than you could access previously. When my husband was made redundant and with me only working three days a week, we all of a sudden qualified for the Family Tax benefit A & B and the Childcare benefit (the means tested one).  Check out the Centrelink payment finder here, which will give you some guidance as to what centrelink payments you might qualify for.  Getting these extra payments have definitely helped.

Create a budget

If you haven’t done one, click here and see how to. Making one income stretch further is a lot easier if you use a budget.  Some people see a budget as something terrible, akin to a diet.  I prefer to think of it as a spending plan, making sure each dollar goes to our highest priorities and makes sure we get the best value for every dollar we spend.  I use the awesome free budget planner from the MoneySmart website.  Click here to check it out.

Check your spending leaks

Checking your spending leaks can also help you identify places where you can easily save money. All you have to do is to think of two things that you spend money on regularly, be it daily, weekly or monthly.  It could be a daily takeaway coffee, or weekly takeaway or monthly magazine subscriptions.  Next add up how much one of these things cost you over a month, then a year.  Now, think about how you could do that spending differently – be it bringing your lunch to work or cutting down from a large coffee to a smaller one, or buying from a cheaper supplier.  Remember, doing things differently does not have to mean that you cut things out entirely, unless you are highly motivated to do so!!  🙂 See how much this new way of doing things would cost you over a month and then a year.  Now, all you have to do is look at the difference between the two figures, how much it cost you per year using your old way versus the cost of the new way.  This is how much you could save by changing your spending behavior.  In my case I calculated I could save $2,184 simply by bringing my lunch to work and making my own hot chocolate in the office.  A huge figure, especially given I only work 3 days per week!

Meal Plan

Before the hubster was made redundant I used to meal plan for the week. So sit down usually on a Saturday and figure out everything we needed for a week of meals, create a list and purchase it all on the Sunday.  It was fab because I knew what we were having on each day and already had the ingredients ready to roll.  It prevented any random trips to the shops where I might bring home a few extras, shall we say.  At the moment our system is a bit out of whack.  My hubby does the meal plans for the 3 days I am at work (I don’t want to get in the way of him making dinner :-)) and I do the rest.  It still works fine and overall substantially cuts our food bill by at a guess at least 20%.

Compare, compare, compare….

On all your major expenses do a ring around or use online comparison sites to make sure you are getting the best deal. From your insurance to your telephone bill and everything in between make sure that you have got the best service to meet the needs of your family at the best available price.  I try to do the ring around once a year on all my services to make sure I am getting the best deal, and it can really make a big difference to your budget.  For example, by changing electricity provider I have saved $400 off my winter electricity bill, absolutely worth the two hours of leg-work it took for me to figure it all out.

Living on one income is difficult but it is achievable.  I hope my tips will make it easier for you and your family.

What are your tips for living on a single income?

If you liked this post you might also like

How I saved On My Electricity Bill

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15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances

 

 

23/04/2015 15 comments
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How to save

Our first post for 2015 is from the lovely Larissa from Hey Little Spender. Today she is sharing with us how she saved $93 per month in 15 minutes! Take it away Larissa!!

I know I should love this stuff, being a savings blogger and all that, but I’ve been procrastinating big-time on sorting out my two home loans.

They are the biggest investments I’ve ever made, and I worked and saved bloody hard to buy them.

However, strangely enough, finding a better deal on those loans doesn’t grab me the same way as, say, finding cheap movie tickets or saving money on holding a dinner party!!

What am I paying this much for?!

I know the rates are way too high at the moment, after coming off the end of a special rate which finished some time back. However beyond paying a quick visit to a mortgage broker, I’ve done nothing to fix the situation.

It’s all a little confusing – mostly because I am thinking about selling one of the places early next year and buying a new one closer to the city. And I didn’t know whether I could do anything to reduce the rates in the meantime while I went through the whole selling process, which is likely to take a while.

Plus I’ve never sold a house before, so the thought of doing that also terrifies me a little!

However today I took the bull by the horns, and decided that it was really time to stop wasting my money and get this thing sorted out – especially because I’ll need every penny if I plan to buy a new place.

I decided to take a little inspiration from my mate Jeremy, who often calls his bank to wrangle the best rate on his mortgage – read his tips here.

Comparing loans

I thought I’d better go in with at least a little bit of firepower, so I did a quick search on comparison website Canstar, and found the cheapest rate going. I didn’t look into the specifics too much (OK, at all) I admit, but thought I’d better have at least a ballpark interest rate up my sleeve to present to the bank.

Make me an offer, or I’m gonna leave

So with the lowest interest rate I could find written down, I gave the bank’s mortgage people a buzz to see what they could do, noting that unfortunately I would have to leave unless I got a discount.

They said they’d get back to me in 5-10 working days (arrghhh), but in the end it only took a few hours for a return phone call.

What they offered

My interest rates were at 5.44% – way too high for Australia I know.

One option was to take out a two-year fixed interest loan on the investment property I’ll be keeping (which would have been a 4.79% interest rate plus an $8 monthly fee). However it seemed a bit premature to agree to that on the spot.

Also, to complicate things further, because I bought the investment property using equity from the place I’m planning to sell, I’ll have to stick some of the sale proceeds on the investment property to keep the bank happy.

That will mean the loan amount is likely to change. Still with me?

Temporary fix

The other, more temporary option was to just change both properties to a 5.2% variable, no fee interest rate for now while I sorted out everything else to do with selling.

What I saved

To my surprise, I was able to change to the 5.2% over the phone – without even signing a form – and my online bank account confirmed that this had been done immediately.

On one property that means a monthly saving of $63, and for the smaller loan it’s a $30 saving.

I know I’m going to have to shop around again for a better rate once I buy a new place – if I decide to go ahead with that option – but from January, that’s $93 extra in my bank account each month. And it only took 15 minutes.

That saving will come in super handy as I squirrel away my pennies to buy a new place.

So there you go. I could kick myself that I didn’t do it earlier!

What have you done to find a lower interest rate? Share your tips here.

If you would like to get more great tips from Larissa, visit her at Hey Little Spender here or on facebook here.  This post was republished with full permission.

If you liked this you might also like:

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

08/01/2015 0 comment
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Binding Death Benefit Nominations

I don’t know about you, but for me time is just flying by.  Even more so since we had our daughter.  Time seems to have gone into hyper-drive!!!  What is that???  One minute I was 27 years old, footloose and fancy free roaming the globe.  The next minute I am 41, married, with a mortgage and a four year old, hearing the word “Muuuuuummmmm” several million times a day.  A completely different life.  But somehow the years in between seemed to have just whizzed by.

And from what my mum tells me, time goes by even faster from here on in – next stop 50, then 60!  What the??????  I was pretty sure that this was never going to happen to me!  I guess it is!  So I had better make sure I am financially prepared for my retirement.  Especially given – if the current legislation passes– I won’t be able to claim the age pension until I am 70!!  I am pretty sure I would like to retire before 70, so I need to make sure that I have enough superannuation to make that happen.  Otherwise it is the Newstart Allowance (or whatever they will call it by then, if it even exists) and cat food for me! Scary!

So how do I decide whether I have enough super?  It’s a tricky question as there are lots of factors involved; however, here are three options that might work for you.

(1) Run some calculations

First you need to take a good look at your current financial situation.  This includes listing all your assets: things like savings, shares, house, car/s and superannuation.  Then you need to list all your debts: things like your mortgage, credit card debts and personal loans.  Add up your assets and deduct your debts and you will have a fair idea of how much you’re worth now.

Next you need to think about how much income you will need to live on when you’re retired.  Here is a hint – the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (AFSA) Retirement Standard benchmarks says that a comfortable lifestyle for a couple can cost around $56,000 a year.   A modest lifestyle, AFSA says, costs about $33,000 a year per couple.  You might think you need more or less than this depending on your current and expected future lifestyle.

The last factor to think about is how long you might last!  Apparently retired men in Australia live to an average of 86 and a retired woman until 90!  This means if you retire at 65 your superannuation money has to last you on average 20-25 years!  That is quite a lot of time!

(2) Use a superannuation planning calculator

Superannuation calculators are quick and easy to use, and take into account a lot of factors around your individual circumstances. They are a fast way to get a grip on whether your superannuation is on track.  There are plenty around, the Money Smart website has one here.  I used the one on the CareSuper website.  To check it out click here.  I found it really useful and it took me less than 10 minutes to get an idea whether my superannuation was on track for the retirement lifestyle I want.

(3) Get some personal financial advice

A financial planner can help you determine whether your superannuation is on track to pay for your retirement. They will work with you to determine your current financial position, your goals, and your expected post-retirement lifestyle.  The financial planner’s advice will be tailored to you and your circumstances. If you are a member of some industry funds you can access some services of a financial planner for free. For example, CareSuper members get financial advice over the phone on a range of simple super-related topics as part of their membership, or members can see a financial planner at their offices for more complex advice where the first session is free. If you are a member of an industry fund and want some personal financial advice this might be a service that is worth looking into.

Figuring out whether your super is on track to fund your retirement is really important, especially given the pension age is definitely on the rise.  Nobody wants to find out that they have to work longer than expected to fund their retirement lifestyle, or worse that they can’t afford the retirement they would like. Your super is your money and one day you will need it, so look after it now and it will reward you later. So far my superannuation appears to be on track, so hopefully there will be no cat food in retirement for me!  However, things change and it is something I will have to keep on top of, as the years speed by!

This post is sponsored by CareSuper.

have received a fee from CareSuper to blog about super, however this post contains my own opinions. While I am not personally recommending CareSuper, information about superannuation can be obtained from their website caresuper.com.au and it’s always good to get your own advice about financial matters.

If you liked this you might also like:

5 Easy Ways To Sort Out Your Superannuation

5 Websites That Can Help You Make Or Save Money

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

How To Create A Budget

 

04/12/2014 8 comments
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Christmas Club Savings Accounts

You have probably never even heard of a Christmas Club Savings Account.  They are an account that helps you save for Christmas by allowing you to make direct deposits of your savings during the year but you can’t access the account without penalty until Christmas time, generally from the 1st of November.  Christmas Club  Savings Accounts were really popular in the 1970s and 1980s and are now becoming harder to find.  The big banks no longer offer them but you can still find them with some of the smaller banks and credit unions.   So are Christmas Club Savings Accounts worth it?

Well, the biggest pro for a Christmas Club Savings Account is that they allow you to start a regular savings habit for Christmas, while restricting your access during the year.  Generally speaking most accounts allow you to access your money for free from the 1st of November until the 31st of January.  You can set up a direct debit from your regular account when you get paid, straight to your Christmas Club Account.  Even at $10 per week for a year you will have $520 by the time Christmas rolls around.  Another pro is that these accounts generally have no account keeping fees and when you withdraw the money it does not have to be used on Christmas, the money can be used for bills or birthday presents, whatever you like.

The downside is that if you do need to access your money before the specified period you will be penalised.  Each account has different rules around this so make sure you are aware of how your specific account works.  Also, generally speaking, the interest rate on these accounts is not as good as other types of savings accounts.

So are Christmas Club Savings Accounts worth it?  It depends what you are after, like all accounts there are pros and cons.  If you are interested in a Christmas Club Savings account make sure you shop around for the one that suits you the most.  And given each one is different make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of the one you choose.  There are also loads of other ways to save for Christmas, apart from using a Christmas Club account so click here check to some of them out.

What is your favourite way to save for Christmas?

If you liked this post, you might also like:

How I Raised An Extra $910 To Pay For Christmas

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5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances

20/11/2014 11 comments
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Redundancy

I think I am in a pretty unique position to write about redundancy.  You see, I have been made redundant twice during my career and my hubby was made redundant at the start of 2014.  So a score of 3 for our family so far.  The first time I was made redundant was in 2004, when the British hedge fund I was working for packed up its Australian office and moved back to the UK.  One minute we all had jobs.  The next minute none of us did.  The model we were trading off hadn’t been performing, so we kind of saw it coming.  Even then it was a shock.  The second time I was made redundant was in 2012.  It was my 39th birthday and I was 11 months in from my return from maternity leave when I was taken into the little room and told my services were no longer required.  I was told it was cost cutting.  Enough said.

Redundancy is a stressful time and can be a time of really powerful, often very mixed, emotions.  Most of the time it is a shock.  It changes everything and throws you onto a completely different path that you did not see coming.  Given we have been through it a few times in our household, here are some of my tips on how to not only survive redundancy moneywise, but come out of it better and happier than ever….

Let’s start on the money front:

  1. Figure out what Centrelink benefits you qualify for:

    I am not just talking about Newstart, but it is handy to know what you have to do to qualify for this. In our case, when my hubby got made redundant and with me working only 3 days a week, we all of a sudden qualified for the Family Tax benefit A & B and the Childcare benefit (the means tested one).  Now you know how much income you are getting from the redundancy you can change your income estimate in mygov and contact Centrelink and see what they say.  You might also find the Centrelink payment calculator useful.  Click here to see it.  Getting these extra payments have helped to cushion our finances during this time.

  2. Think about what to do with your lump sum payment

    Depending on your terms and conditions and how long you were employed for you can get a decent pay out. Now I cannot tell you what to do with yours, if you want specific advice you should see a financial planner, however, for us we have always made sure that our payments were readily accessible, as you never know how long it will take you to find another job.   Since we have a mortgage we put redundancy payments into our mortgage offset account.  It helps to pay off the mortgage but allows us to easily access to the cash.  Click here to see how an offset account works.

  3. Create a budget

    If you haven’t done one, click here and see how to. If you have done one, your redundancy means it is time to change it.  You would be surprised how many of your costs can disappear, lunches at work, travel costs, uniforms or clothes.  We have found ourselves eating out less as we have more time to prepare, plan and cook meals at home.  Also while you have the time, review your expenses.  For each expense figure out whether you really need it and if there is a way to do it differently that will save you money.  For example I rang around our insurance providers to make sure we were getting the best deal.

  4. Check your insurance in your superannuation fund

    I had income protection and life insurance in my superannuation. When I checked the terms and conditions on my insurance as it turns out my income protection insurance was no longer valid on my redundancy.  So I cancelled it.  I am sure they would have merrily collected the premiums but not paid out should I claim while I did not have a job.  So check your terms of your insurance and see if your redundancy makes a difference.  Just remember to put your income protection insurance back on when you get another job 🙂

  5. Think broadly about your skill set and what you might be able to do
    I was a stock market analyst for 17 years, now I blog and train social workers about money. Quite different in many respects but I love how I am using my knowledge-base in a completely different way.  You don’t have to do what you have always done.  You have a wonderful skill base.  Think about how it might be used in a totally different way.  I promise you that you won’t regret it.
  6. Ride the emotional roller coaster

    Being made redundant is an emotional time. You might feel angry, you might feel lost (even if you hated your job), you might feel rejected.  On the days that you feel those emotions know it is perfectly normal.  Redundancy is a big change, it will come with hiccups.  I know it is really hard but try not to take it personally.  Businesses are big machines and they will roll over you if deemed necessary, no matter how good/loyal/hard-working you are.  Rest assured that it is not your fault.

I don’t regret my two redundancies.  They were gifts in disguise and have led me to do things that I would never have dreamed I would be doing.  My last one has allowed me to take a job that gives me more time with my precious daughter and to work in an area I am hugely passionate about and find deeply satisfying.  I finally have a job that makes a real difference.  And, well, you would not be reading this right now without my redundancy as Money Mummy would not exist.  Let’s just say I am not a very good housewife, so created Money Mummy so I had something to do during my redundancy-induced time off :-)!!  Good luck on your redundancy journey, you will be amazed where you will end up.  However, when you are feeling low please repeat after me “One door shuts, another door opens”.  It worked for me :-).

Have you been made redundant?  What are your tips for surviving it?

If you liked this you might also like:

Where To Get Financial Help For Free

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Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

 

22/10/2014 19 comments
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Sort Out Your Superannuation

Yayyyy!  Spring has sprung (not that you can tell from our recent weather!) and it is time to get cracking on sorting out all those things you have neglected over the cold winter months.  Now I am not just talking about getting rid of the dust bunnies hiding behind the furniture (guilty) but spring can be a great time to sort out your superannuation too!  I know most people would rather poke their eyes out with hot sticks than think about their superannuation.  However, the truth is that superannuation is your friend; it is there to help you out when you get older and want escape from the world of work forever.  Unfortunately nowadays you cannot rely on the pension to save you as governments creep the qualification age further and further away.  So do it!  Follow these five easy steps and sort out your superannuation for spring and keep yourself off the cat food in retirement!

(1) Get to know your superannuation

Ok so if superannuation is your friend then you need to check in with it and get to know it a little better.  The more you know about your superannuation, the more comfortable you will feel in making decisions about it.  Most funds allow you to access your account on the internet, and some on your phone or tablet.  Login and check your balance.  Knowing how much you have in your super account is a fantastic start to your spring clean.

(2) Check which option your money is invested in

Now take a look at which option your money is invested in.  Which option you choose can have a big impact on how much you will have at retirement.  Which option is right for you is entirely an individual choice and is influenced by factors such as your age, stage in life and risk tolerance.  Get your fund to explain to you what each investment option means and the risks involved.  Many industry funds offer free financial advice.  So if you are the member of an industry fund, ring them and see if you can access that service.

(3) Check your insurance

Super funds offer three types of insurance: life; total and permanent disability (TPD) and Income Protection (IP).  Ask yourself the important questions: do you have the right type/s of cover?  Do you have the right amount/s of cover?  Which is the right cover and how much you should have is entirely an individual choice.  What is right for one person might not be right for another.

(4) Track down any lost or unclaimed super

Apparently there is over $18 billion in lost and unclaimed superannuation that is waiting to be found.  Some of it could be yours!  Superannuation often gets lost when you change address, jobs or name and let’s face it most of us have done one of those things at some time or another.  The Australian Tax Office’s SuperSeeker site will find any of your lost or unclaimed superannuation.  You can use SuperSeeker to claim the lost funds and consolidate them into your current superannuation account.

(5) Consolidate your accounts

Many Australians have more than one superannuation account and we all know superannuation companies like to charge fees.  Over time these fees can eat away at your retirement savings.  Consolidating your accounts can help reduce the amount of fees you are paying and make your superannuation easier to keep on top of.  The SuperSeeker site from the ATO can also consolidate your accounts for you.  It is quick, easy and free.  Even better you do not have to fill out any paper forms!  Yay!!  Alternatively you can contact your fund and they might have a service where they can do it for you.

Spring is a time of renewal.  So lavish some of your spring cleaning attention on your superannuation.  You won’t regret it as it could save or make you thousands of dollars in extra retirement savings.  Which is a much bigger payoff than spring cleaning the hall cupboard or sorting out your wardrobe! Oh, which I must get on to! 🙂

Which area of your finances do you think deserves a spring clean?

This week I am linking up with the lovely Hope from Nanny Shecando for “Step Into Spring!” post series!!

Click here to pop over and see my other fab spring post on her blog called “5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Finances!”

If you liked this post, you might also like:

The Superannuation Co-Contribution – How To Get An Extra $500 Superannuation For Free

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

5 Websites That Will Make Or Save You Money

How To Save On Your Health Insurance

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

08/09/2014 18 comments
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MoneySmart Week Challenge

The first week of September is a very exciting week in my calendar.  It is MoneySmart week!!!  For those who haven’t heard of MoneySmart week, it is a week dedicated to taking simple steps to make a positive difference to your finances.  It is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about your money and improve your money management skills.

To help us all do this, this year the people at MoneySmart Week have come up with seven FREE money challenges:

  • Ditch your debt (credit and debt)
  • Sort your super (superannuation)
  • Manage your money (budgeting)
  • Protect what’s precious (insurance)
  • Build your worth (saving & investing)
  • Plan ahead (estate planning)
  • Female financial fitness

There is also an eighth challenge for Under 18s called Start Early!

Each challenge gives you 3 easy steps to help you get on top of that issue.  All the challenges are completely FREE!!

So, don’t miss this opportunity to get you finances in order.  Pick an area (or two, or three or more) and take the challenge!

Also, if you share the fact you are doing a MoneySmart challenge on social media you could win one of seven daily prizes of a $500 gift card.  Please refer to the MoneySmart Week website below for the full details.

I will be doing all the challenges (except the youth one as I don’t really qualify anymore 🙂 ) so make sure you pop over to the Money Mummy Facebook page during MoneySmart Week to see how I am going with the challenges.

To find out more about the challenges, the social media competition and to register click here and visit the official MoneySmart Week website.

What will your MoneySmart Challenge be?

 

If you liked this post, you might also like:

5 Websites That Will Make or Save You Money

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Where To Get Financial Help For Free

How To Create A Budget

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

20/08/2014 27 comments
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ATM Fees

Ok, if I was to list my 5 pet peeves it would go something like this:

  1. Dirty glasses (yes I have four eyes and any spec on my glasses drives me crazy)
  2. Dirty car windscreens (I think this might be related to the glasses thing)
  3. Coriander (yes, who knew I could find it so offensive?)
  4. ATM Fees
  5. Scam artists and those who rip others off

Yep, they don’t call me The Money Lady for nothing.  ATM fees rank pretty highly on my list of things that give me the sh*ts!  I really can’t understand why I have to pay to access my own money and particularly why using an ATM which is not my bank’s can cost me anywhere between $2 and $3.50.  A cost that is totally out of line with the actual cost of the electronic transaction to my bank!!!!  Though I can see why the banks like ATM fees, apparently in the year to the end of April Australians paid $627 million in ‘foreign’ ATM fees. (A foreign ATM is any machine not operated by your bank).

The other thing I hate about ATM fees is how they add up without you noticing.  Just one transaction a week at a ‘foreign’ ATM at $2.50 can cost you $130 per year!!!!  So here are some ideas of how you can make sure you never pay ATM fees ever again….

(1)    Know Your Bank Account

Make sure you understand how your bank account works and which ATMs you can access for free.  Some banks only let you use your own bank’s ATMs, other banks may allow you to use some ‘foreign’ ATMS for free but not others.  On my account I can only use my own bank’s ATMs for free, anywhere else and I will be pinged.

(2)    Use an ATM Finder App

If you have a smart phone there are several apps that can tell you where your nearest ATM is.  I use the one issued by my bank.  So before you crack a foreign ATM use an app as, you never know, a free ATM might be just around the corner.

(3)    Withdraw Extra Cash

When you find a fee free ATM withdraw more money than you need so you have some spare cash.  This can work for some people but if you are the type that will spend the lot, then this tip is best avoided!!!

(4)    Use EFTPOS And Get Cash Out

When you are buying something on EFTPOS take out some extra cash.  EFTPOS is free and most retailers are happy to give you the extra cash.  Just ask.

(5)    Use Your Local Supermarket/Retailer as an ATM

This is my favourite strategy and the one I use most at the moment.  Your local Woolies and Coles will give you cash and you don’t even have to buy a thing.  Just rock up to the ciggy counter and they are happy to give you cash from your account.  Or even better, use the self-serve machines.  I have heard the petrol stations aligned with the big retailers will also give you cash out. Just ask.  We have been using our local Woolies as an ATM for quite a while now as there is no ATM for my bank close to where I live or work.  So this strategy has saved us a stack of ATM fees.

The last tip I have is if you are really stuck and have no other choice but to use a ‘foreign’ ATM use one from one of the ‘Big Four’, that is ANZ, Westpac, Commonwealth or National Australia Bank as at the moment they will only charge you $2 for the privilege.  If you use a non bank branded ATM such as Cashcard, CashConnect and Direct Cash ATMs they will charge you more.  So watch out!

If you liked this post, try:

How much your credit card debt is really costing you

5 websites that will make or save you money

How to pay off your mortgage faster

Does shopping at Aldi save you money?

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

06/08/2014 13 comments
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