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New Year new budget new you


5 easy steps to creating a New Year budget

Here we are: the time of year we make promises to ourselves we don’t keep. Well not this year! Not financially, anyway.

We give you five steps for creating a budget that is as realistic at it is effective.

1. Establish your income

Begin by working out what your yearly gross income is. This will involve an assessment of last year’s bank statements together with a consideration of changes for this year such as a pay rise, change in job and money earned via an ABN.

2. Determine your expenses

What are you regular outgoings? Think mortgage and car repayments, rent, health insurance, website domains, phone and internet bills, gym memberships and TV subscriptions like Netflix or Foxtel. Next, unfixed things like groceries and petrol, and finally, factor in semi-regular spends like specialist visitation and beauty treatments like haircuts. Now is a good time to assess extraneous items and consider alternative pathways—for example, is my level of health insurance still appropriate? Could I save by bundling my internet and phone together? Trim the fat.

3. What’s the difference

Are your outgoings greater than your income? Have you remembered to reserve money for tax? What about savings? You’ll be at either a surplus or a deficit at this stage, but it isn’t too late to make adjustments if it’s the latter. If you’re at a surplus, you can consider opening a high interest savings account, investments or superannuation contributions.

4. Delineate the budget

Now that you know exactly where you stand (with yourself) it’s time to write out your realistic budget. The Australian government website Money Smart has an excellent budget planner that may assist you.

5. Revise regularly

Try and set an hour or so aside a month to review your progress. Are you on track? Why/why not? What are some things that are interfering with your goals, for example, increases in fees, too many cafe meals and so on. Revise accordingly and use the information to hold yourself accountable.