5 smarter ways to manage your bills and budget
Want simpler, more streamlined finances? We have you.
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If you’re feeling a little stressed about your finances, you’re not alone.
In a Finder survey of over 35,000 Australians, 72% described themselves as somewhat or extremely stressed about their financial situation. However, there are ways to regain control.
While these tips won’t solve all your financial problems, they could go a long way in reducing your stress levels. And that’s quite a good start.
Check off invoices from your to-do list
Sort bills as soon as they hit your inbox and that’s one less thing to worry about. This doesn’t necessarily mean paying for them as soon as you see them.
For example, if your invoice can be paid via BPAYyou can schedule the invoice for a later date*. Let’s say your water bill falls on Monday but you don’t get paid until Wednesday. You can set up payment as soon as you see the bill, but schedule it for payday rather than paying immediately.
You’ve checked off the job on your to-do list, but you haven’t gotten yourself into financial trouble either.
This can be a good alternative for anyone who forgets their direct debits, only to be reminded by a sudden (and sometimes untimely) direct debit.
Additionally, once you have paid an invoice via BPAY, the supplier’s details will be saved so that you do not have to fill them in each time. Since everything is in your online bank, it’s easy to keep track.
Track your expenses
How much do you spend on groceries each month? What about dining out? Where to order?
If you’re struggling to get a rough idea, it’s time to start tracking your expenses. Don’t worry, you don’t have to manually enter every thing you buy into a spreadsheet. (Although if it works for you, go for it!)
Some banks and apps allow you to see all of your purchases and divide them into categories, so you can have a clear idea of where your money is going.
For example, the Finder app will show all of your linked accounts’ expenses, separate them into different categories, and compare the expenses to the previous month’s numbers.
You can even link your bills so you get alerts when your next bill is due and notifications when Finder thinks you can save money by switching.
Use a budgeting app
Once you have an idea of how much you’re spending, you can start creating a realistic budget, identifying areas to cut back on, and setting savings goals.
Again, there are loads of budgeting apps out there that can help you create a budget and stick to it. Often, budgeting apps work hand-in-hand with tracking tools, so it’s best to use them together.
You can’t stick to a budget if you don’t track your expenses and there’s no point in tracking your expenses if you don’t have a budget.
Track your energy consumption
While we’re on the subject of tracking, if you’re still shocked when your utility bill comes in, you might want to try a device that tracks your usage in real time.
This alone won’t guarantee lower electricity bills, but seeing exactly how much you’re spending can help encourage more economical choices.
Suddenly it’s a lot easier to remember to turn things off when you can see exactly how much it’s costing you. And that air conditioner probably doesn’t need to be turned on.
Consolidate your debt
If you are repaying debts in more than one area, consider debt consolidation. It sounds fancy, but it’s a surprisingly simple way to reduce stress and potentially save money too.
It just means you take out a new loan to pay off all your other debts. It could be credit card debt, medical bills, or even your buy now balance paid later. This way you only have one bill to pay and it’s easier to track your progress.
If you’re consolidating your debt, make sure you take out a loan with a lower comparison rate than what you’re currently paying on your other debts. You will rationalize your debts and also reduce their costs.