AUS: 1300 630 488    NZ: 0800 1477 6287

An annual money day could save you thousands each year

Forget the “to do” list, it’s the “get around to one day” list that really weighs a person down. You know the one. It lists admin task after admin task that you know you should be doing but, for whatever reason, you always decide today is not the day. Too busy, too overwhelmed, too bored.

The truth is, each of the boring things on that list doesn’t actually take a lot of time to do. In fact, most of the items would probably cost only 30 minutes of your time at most. However, by not getting the job done, it’s more than likely costing you a stack of money.

So, here’s a challenge. Find one day each year to go through everything on the list and get it sorted today. It will feel great to cross everything off, especially when you notice the savings you’ll be making; your simple money day may well be the most lucrative day you’ll spend all year.

9:30am: Review your current budget

You do have a budget, right? Excellent. Put an hour aside to check that it’s still working for you.

  • Download your bank statement from the past year – if you’re not signed up for online banking, get in touch with your bank and ask them to send you a csv file
  • Allocate each item to a category (like housing, food, transport, insurance, savings and investments, and fun)
  • Check your annual spend in each of the categories – what’s costing you the most money? Any surprises? Can you cut back anywhere?
  • Map out a budget for next year based on what you spent this year – remember to allocate money for any upcoming one-off expenses, like travel or education

11am: Fine-tune your super

An underperforming super fund can end up costing you thousands of dollars, so don’t simply settle for the fund you’ve always been with.

Read your super statements and check the fees you’re paying and returns you’re getting against industry standards. The ATO’s YourSuper comparison tool makes this easy.

If you find you’re with a dud fund it’s actually really easy to change to a better super fund. Simply apply to the fund you’d like to go with and ask to transfer your balance – they’ll take it from there. 

Even if you’re satisfied with your fund, remember to review your investment options. Most super funds sit you in a balanced or conservative investment mix unless you tell them otherwise. It may be that these lower risk choices don’t suit your plans, especially if you’re more than 10 years away from retiring.

12 noon: Take a break 

There’s a full afternoon ahead, so make sure you have a stretch, go for a walk and eat some lunch. 

1pm: Smooth your investments

Unless you’re a finance guru, this isn’t one to tackle on your own, but do tackle it. 

Get in touch with your broker or financial adviser and ask for a review of your current investment strategy. Use this time on your money day to write down any short- and long-term plans you have for your money so you’re ready when your appointment rolls around. 

1:30pm: Check your insurance premiums

Don’t simply pay the premium when your insurance is due. Instead, research what’s out there (sites like Canstar, Finder and RateCity make this easy) then call your insurers to ask for a discount. As well as asking them to match a lower rate you’ve found, you can also ask to change your excess or bundle your insurance policies to save more money.

2pm: Negotiate your bills - including energy, internet, mobile phones

Once you’ve done it for your insurance, keep going. You can find out the market rate for all your bills and then contact your current provider to ask for a better deal. If they won’t offer you a lower rate, be prepared to take your business elsewhere. Unfortunately, there’s no reward for customer loyalty these days – in fact, the better rates are usually given to new customers.

3:30pm: Assess your credit cards 

Here’s another area where loyalty is a hindrance rather than a reward. The rate you’re paying on your credit card is almost guaranteed to be higher than the rate you can get elsewhere. Especially when so many financial providers are offering zero per cent interest on balance transfers. So if you’ve currently got a credit card debt, changing your card will mean you’ll save a motza straightaway. At the very least, contact your provider and ask for a discount on your rate. Find current low-rate credit cards to match against here.

4pm: Automate your money

The day is nearly done and you’re already feeling more in control (and hopefully more wealthy). Before you finish up for the day, take an hour to automate all of your finances. That means:

  • Automate your mortgage or rent payments
  • Set up direct debit and BPAY so all your bills are paid
  • Arrange for a set dollar amount to be invested each month
  • Pull a sum of money from your transaction account into a leisure fun for travel or other things to look forward to

5pm: Hooray!

Yay! You’ve crossed everything off the list. Now the only ongoing thing you need to do is ensure you’ve got enough in your transaction account to cover all your automatic payments. But before you worry about that, go pour yourself a well-earned drink.