Money goals may not be the first resolutions to come to mind, but a few simple changes to your spending and saving strategies could make for a happier 2024.

While the past year has been a challenging one for many Australian households, the new year offers the chance for new financial beginnings.

Regardless of your money situation or stage of life, creating and achieving a few small goals could put you in a different position at this time next year. It may start with some simple resolutions, like the examples below.

1. Set and stick to a new budget

Whether you’re a seasoned budgeter or have never had a money plan, consider using the start of 2024 to sit down and plot out the year ahead financially. You may wish to begin by looking at what you brought in during a typical month in 2023 (excluding December) and where you could reduce your spending. Then, track what you’ve purchased against your plan.

2. Take advantage of higher savings rates

With interest rates higher than they have been, lots of customer-owned banks (COBs) are rewarding their customers by passing on extra interest. If saving is on the new year agenda, consider looking at your COBs high-interest term deposit and bonus rates.

3. Do a super health check

Even if you’re decades away from retirement, it’s worth checking in to make sure your super is on track to give you the lifestyle you want in your later years. A simple review of your fund and status may be enough to achieve this or you may wish to consider personal advice.

  • Questions to ask during your review may include:
  • Am I on track for my planned retirement?
  • Am I overpaying on fees?
  • Can I contribute more?
  • Do I have more than one super account?
  • Do I have lost super?
  • Do I have the right insurance?
4. Establish or top up the emergency fund

An emergency fund is designed for those unexpected things in life that can be financially stressful. Think urgent car repairs or a surprise medical bill. If you don’t have a fund set up, think about creating one and making regular contributions. If you do have one, consider how much you can afford to add to it across the new year as part of your overall budget.

5. Come up with a debt plan

If you have debt, like most of us, consider using the new year to come up with a comprehensive plan to bring it down. You may choose to target high-interest debt first, consolidate multiple debts or pay off the largest source of debt first. The plan you come up with should depend on your goals and circumstances, but don’t forget you can always consult a free financial counsellor if you need some extra advice.

While none of us can accurately predict the future, ticking off a few personal resolutions could give you a better chance at a happy new year, money-wise.

General advice only.

Source: Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA)

29 November 2023