Over the past few months, we’ve all been staying home more than we would have liked to and whilst restrictions have been easing, life isn’t exactly ‘normal’ just yet.
Many of us are still working from home and keeping our weekends low-key. Over the course of 2020 so far our Instagram feeds have been inundated with DIY projects and household jobs to occupy our time. We’ve cleaned out the pantry…twice. We’ve baked too many loaves of banana bread to count on one hand and our indoor plants are looking the best they ever had with the extra TLC. If you’re wondering what else you can do during this time then it could be a great time to get on top of your finances. We’ve put together a list to guide you.
Review and renew
If you’ve been using the same service providers for a while, consider reviewing your plans and checking out what other competitors are offering, to see if you can score yourself a cheaper deal. Think internet, phone, insurance and electricity. If you’re happy with your providers and don’t want to switch, you could simply chat to them about what other options they have that are better suited to your current needs and in turn are a win for your wallet.
Check your super
As you make your way through tidying up your finances, something you may not have checked for some time is your super. Consider using this extra time at home to check your balance, make sure the contributions being made by your employer are correct and update any details.
Complete your tax return
If you haven’t got around to completing your tax return yet – start preparing your finances. This includes getting your receipts and paperwork together and considering what expenses you can claim deductions for. Check out the ATO website for a list of the items you can and cannot claim.
Home loan health check
Has it been more than two years since you reviewed your loan? Has your financial position changed or has your property increased in value since taking out your current home loan? If you answered yes to any of these questions it may be worthwhile reviewing your current home loan to see if it still suits your current needs. You may also be interested in different features or simply just want to reduce your home loan repayments. If this is the case, chat to your lender about what they can offer and/or compare other financial institutions to consider refinancing your home loan.
Review your accounts
The extra time up your sleeves could also be used to review your bank accounts. Consider checking and comparing your interest rates and monthly fees as well as reviewing your recent transactions to monitor where all your money is going. If you’ve been spending a bit too much time than you care to admit on your favourite online store during self-isolation, you may be inspired to make some changes to your spending habits.
Build a rainy-day fund
In the current climate, it’s never been more important to have and to build an emergency fund. If you haven’t already, think about starting to set aside an allocation of money each pay day to an account that you don’t touch unless it’s, yeah you guessed it, an emergency. An emergency doesn’t necessarily have to be a coronavirus pandemic, it could be your car breaking down and you need to pay a hefty bill to bring it back to life. Or maybe you need to have an unexpected procedure. An emergency fund is there to help take the financial stress away when life throws us unexpected curve balls.
Re-evaluate your budget
It’s likely that your expenses have changed over the course of the last few months. Some expenses may have reduced e.g. gym memberships and entertainment, whereas some may have increased. On top of this, you may have experienced changes to your income as well. Take some time to re-evaluate your budget and consider the impact these changes have on reaching your financial goals.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get on top of your finances whilst keeping safe at home. While we all navigate through these difficult times, try focus on the positives and work towards a plan, both financially and personally, for when life resembles some normality.