Had enough of resolutions each and every year that you don’t follow? I’m betting like 95% of people you are also guilty of making a resolution at 10:55pm on the 31st December and not actually sticking to it (and apparently 65% of all statistics are made up).

Based on personal experience, resolutions generally don’t work. It needs to be a lifestyle or fundamental shift in your approach that makes the plan stick. Here are three simple game changers, approach changes, not resolutions, that I feel everyone can put into practice.

  1. Give yourself a GST discount.

Resolutions you can follow: that’s what we like. Let’s find 10% in your spending / budget that you can reduce. We’re currently living in a record low interest rate environment. For those with a mortgage, or any sort of debt, this is a golden time. Don’t waste it! Take a real hard look at your spending … there are also apps out there that can help you (i.e. Pocketbook) figure out where your money is going.

I spoke to a client last week, and looking at their budget, they should have $2,000 a month surplus. But in reality they didn’t. Why? Because it’s surprising how many things that crop up we spend money on, that we don’t plan for. A trip to Bunnings for mozzie coils, fertiliser and weed killer? $25. A movie on iTunes? $7. A carton of beer, 2 bottles of wine and food for a few friends coming over? $250. It adds up quick. Their New Years resolutions were set … find more money in their budget. I said “work out exactly where you’re spending it all first”.

Use the tools that today’s technology gives us to track your spending and figure out where your hard earned is really going. Do you have Foxtel and are paying over $70 a month? Do you really use it? Could you survive with free-to-air and a Netflix or Stan account for $10 a month? Rather than impulse buying new sports shoes for one of the kids because you’re in the shopping centre and it’s easier, have a look online. I purchase a new pair of rugby boots this week, in the store for $180. Ordered online from a UK store, $60 + $20 delivery and they’re here next week.

Find 10% in your spending to save and give yourself a GST discount (oh and put it towards debt!!).

2. Review all your bills and the providers

Phone, house and contents insurance, private health, electricity, gas, even your mortgage. We all have at least three of these. No more resolutions to cut your phone bill, let’s look for a better plan to suit your lifestyle. Social media user? Plenty of proviers have plans that offer ‘no data usage whilst on social media’.

Take 4 hours one day soon and get Googling to see if there’s a better deal out there. Loyalty is pretty much gone these days, therefore shopping around is worthwhile. First step is to find a better deal, then go back to your existing provider and ask to match it. If they won’t, walk. Do this once, then each year as your bill comes in that flags a price increase, review it and see if there’s a better deal. If you do it each time the individual bill comes in, rather than trying to look at all your bills at the same time, it’ll feel like less of a headache.

3. Save $20 a week from your ‘whatever’ money.

We all buy coffees, lunch, takeaway, snacks, etc. Two coffees these days comes to around $8-9. If you had just one a day, instead of 2, that’s $20 a week.

OK so you love your coffee. What about sorting out one day a week where you commit to taking lunch? There’s $10. How about leftovers instead of buying a sandwich for $8 from the café that every time you think “it really isn’t that good for $8”. I also don’t mean leftovers from last nights take-away Chinese meal.

Don’t try and commit to the old “I’ll take lunch every day”. You won’t. Also, we believe in enjoying life as well as planning financially for the future. Who doesn’t like some yum cha on a Thursday or Friday?! Let’s aim for one extra day a week … if you’re already doing one or two days a week … great. Let’s add one extra day. Or skip the treat with your coffee, ignore the service station attendant trying to seel you a water and a mars bar so you’ll receive $0.10 a litre off your petrol.

Little bites, large gains.

Whether it be finding 10% in your spending that you can save, or a $20 a week cut to your spending. It adds up quickly. If you found $20 a week that’s $1,040 p.a. I just received my car rego … it’s $920. The $20 a week saving is going to pay for this. Simple goals, big gains.

If you’d like some simple budgeting tips, help with planning your financial future, let us know. Most of the time it’s a simple 10 minute chat and you walk away with a few good ideas that’ll put you well in front each year. Imagine what we can do with an hour of your time.