So you have decided to get organized financially, but this can be a bit overwhelming – where to start?
Ideally you will spend about 50% of your net income on basics, 30% on wants and 20% on savings and luxuries.
I think the simplest thing is to start with organizing your bank accounts into three different accounts. To do this accurately you can sign up for our wealth tracker app – this will merge all your banks accounts and give you the ability to work out how you are currently spending. You can do the same going through your accounts one at a time or using your banks spending tracker.
So, now you know where your money is going, it’s time to look at small changes that mean your money stays where you want it – in your hands.
Next step is to look at the timing of your household bills and your large expenses.
Make a list or a spreadsheet of the big ones: rates, car registration, insurances paid annually.
How often do you pay these? Some bills can be broken down into smaller more manageable chunks, some also let you have further discounts for paying on time or early, and with others it does not matter.
My rates are quarterly. I have set up direct payments across the year and my bank will remind me of what payments are coming up, which is handy.
You could also set up a calendar reminder just to stop being caught without enough money.
When I was raising my daughter, I entered in to a payment plan for all my utilities – this meant I could have a regular fortnightly payment that allowed me to stay in control. She is now the other of a two-year-old and has done the same. Breaking down your payments make them relatively affordable.
Income and basic living expenses
I set up this one as my main account. This is where your income goes in and your basics come out.
Basics are Home – including rent or mortgage, maybe food (but not eating out), electricity, gas, water, rates, insurances (health, home and car), car expenses (when they are not a work expense), and children’s clothes, school fees and childcare.
Discretionary spending (wants)
These are things like dining out, clothes, pets, haircuts, beauty and medical appointments. You may want groceries in here too – as it’s a variable cost, and that way your basics account could be all direct debits.
Don’t forget subscriptions to streaming services, music etc. (I had Foxtel but there are a million ways to get similar content now. I reduced my expenditure from $130 a month to $20.)
I am trying to be careful because some things can merge between discretionary and basic but really what you are looking at here are your variable expenses, the costs that can and do change.
It’s up to you to work these out but I will add that you might consider private school fees a basic expense while your next-door neighbour might consider them a luxury. This is about your values and no one else’s. I’m all about going out, eating and drinking and creating memories with family and friends.
Start saving at somewhere between 1 and 10% of your net income – a little bit is fine. You can keep it in your bank account or if you are aiming for saving something specific use and app like Raiz (https://raizinvest.com.au/) where you can hide your savings until you need them. A little hint if you are not saving up for something specific
In an ideal world you would have three months of at least basic living expenses set aside to cover you for an emergency.
Let’s make one month a
A note for couples and money
So now you have set yourself up there is nothing more exciting than going and banging your partner over the head with all your newfound knowledge! What I often see when dealing with couples is that one person takes control and the other acquiesces. This can mean the person in charge of finances has key conversations without the other person being involved in the decision process.
You might be in a new relationship or an old one – regardless, it can be uncomfortable talking about money because it’s a serious topic, far from romantic and light
Having arguments about money is a lot less romantic than sitting down together and sorting out how you will deal with expenses when you move in together, or to get yourselves back on track. Taking away the money stressors gives you freedom to get on with life.
Give the PODCAST a listen for more: https://joy.org.au/tomandjess/2020/02/11/clover-financial-set-up-your-bank-accounts-for-success/