There is never a bad time to start taking control of your money. Finances can seem daunting at first but like any positive habit, once you start it becomes easier.
Whether you are an established professional returning to study, or fresh out of high school, we have five tips that will make managing your money a breeze.
1. Figure out where you stand
The best way to start is to put pen to paper. First, create two columns labelled “income” and “expenses”. Then write down all of your income sources, and all the things you have to pay for. Don’t forget incidentals costs like birthday gifts, Friday drinks and travel.
It sounds simple but actually seeing how you spend your money can help you make changes, such as walking rather than taking an Uber or making your lunches at home.
2. Search for advice
The Australian Securities & Investments Commission or ASIC is a virtual gold mine (excuse the pun) when it comes to budgeting.
They have a host of free tools available specifically for students and everyday budgeting situations. The website includes a budgeting planner, great tips on managing your money and articles on things like insurance and superannuation.
For anyone considering taking control of their finances, the ASIC website is a one-stop-shop of great advice.
3. App it!
As the old (if 6 years can be considered old) saying goes, ‘there’s an app for that!’ and budgeting is no different. There are a host of great free apps that will help you manage your money. Mint, Track My Spend, Good Budget, Dollarbird and Fudget just to name a few.
Many budgeting apps can help you track your spending habits by linking with your accounts or allowing you to input your spending manually. These have the added benefit of showing you where you are spending your money and helping you stick to your budget all from your phone.
4. Give yourself less to spend
It might just be the oldest trick in the book. If there is less money in your bank account to play with, you spend less.
This doesn’t mean you have to forgo the smashed avocado lifestyle. It’s all about giving yourself a little breathing room if for instance you lose your income or have a large unforeseen expense crop up.
You can also start small by putting $20 a week in separate account or if you want to be ambitious try 10% of your wage. You will be surprised how quickly it all adds up.
There are lots of companies that offer discounts to students.
Transport, movie tickets, travel, banking and sporting events are just a few of the areas that usually have a cheaper student alternative. Take full advantage of your academic credentials and save.
Also keep an eye out for deals and special offers at local businesses and take advantage of things like student travel cards to take the pressure off your wallet.