When speaking with Mudgee families at this time of the year, many describe being in a bit of a financial mess with no idea of how to start getting their finances back on track. With Christmas presents to buy, extended families to feed and some taking unpaid leave for family holidays, it’s easy to see why Christmas can cause some Mudgee families more worries than cheer. While a financial expert will be able to look into your individual situation and provide you with specific money saving advice, we thought we’d help you to get started with these few easy steps.
- Create a family budget. When most people start a family budget they open up a spreadsheet and start entering ‘guesstimates’ of what they think they ‘should’ be spending on their rent or mortgage, food, petrol, school fees and bills. Rather than guessing, collect your receipts and use your real expenses over several months. This will ensure that your outgoings are accurate, and that you remember to include unexpected expenses like car repairs and annual costs like registrations.
- Get a handle on your expenses. Collecting receipts will also help you to work out where you could be saving money. Of course you have to pay certain bills, but do you need to be spending that extra $10 a week hiring DVDs, or making the chocolate bar purchase every time you stop to fill up your car at the servo? Most people are careful when making big purchases, but don’t forget that the little ones can add up over time too.
- Refinance your home. This is a great time to think about refinancing your home. If you haven’t already taken advantage of current low interest rates and you plan to be in your house for a while longer, refinancing can save you huge amounts over time. Try to look past the paperwork and think of the savings you’ll be able to enjoy once it’s done.
- Find your lost super. If you’ve worked in a few jobs over the years you may find that you’ve lost track of some of your superannuation accounts, and have money sitting in places you can’t even remember. The Australian Taxation Office have a ‘Super Seeker’ online service that will help you to find your lost super. Once found, you can transfer all your super into one account, making it far easier to keep track of your money and ensuring you’re only paying one set of fees and costs.
Our Professionals Mudgee Real Estate team would like to encourage all families to get their finances in order this Christmas season so that you can enjoy the time with your loved ones, rather than worrying about your bank balance. This will also put you on track for a great financial start to 2013!