Want to take control of your money but not sure where to start? Making a few changes in each area of your finances could make a big difference to your overall financial wellbeing:
1. Reduce credit card debt
If you're accumulating interest on your credit card, consider making more than the minimum monthly repayments so you can pay the debt off sooner. Due to the power of compound interest you could end up paying a lot more for your purchase than originally intended. A credit card calculator, such as this one from MoneySmart, could help you work out how much you can save in interest by increasing your repayments.
2. Avoid fees on everyday banking
Australians have voted ATM fees their most hated bank charge according to research by ING, with many saying they would rather walk for 20 minutes to withdraw cash for free than pay upwards of $2 to access their own money.
To save money on everyday banking, consider opening an everyday account which could offer free withdrawals at any ATM throughout Australia, including at independent ATMs.
3. Become a regular saver
Forming a regular savings habit is the key to building your balance in the longer term. So, even if you don't have much cash to put aside, don't despair.
Make saving easier by automatically transferring part of your salary to a savings account via direct debit. Even relatively small sums, such as $20, will accumulate over time if you consistently make deposits into your savings account. After 12 months of saving $20 a week, you'll have accumulated $1040 plus any interest (assuming no fees). This could be a useful sum to call upon in case of an emergency.
4. Consider extra repayments on your home loan
In a low interest rate environment, it could be tempting to reduce your repayments on a variable rate home loan in line with any interest rate decreases. However, you could potentially knock years off your mortgage by paying down ahead of time - as well as build a savings buffer in case of future financial challenges.
Use a home loan calculator to work out how much you may be able to save in interest over time by making extra repayments.
5. Consolidate your super
Got multiple super funds? You may be paying multiple fees and even multiple insurance premiums too. Consider consolidating your super into one low fee fund which offers value for money.
Not only is your super easier to keep track of if it's all in one place, the less you're paying in fees the more you could be accumulating for your retirement.
About the research
This study by Galaxy Research was conducted online among members of a permission based panel between Tuesday 27 May and Thursday 29 May 2014. Interviews were conducted among 1001 Australians aged 18 years and older distributed throughout Australia. The dataset was weighted and projected to the population based on the latest ABS population estimates.