Budgeting tips for 2021

Whether you’re planning for retirement, or just want to make your money go further, we’ve got a few ideas that can help even the most well-versed budgeter.

Here are our top budget saving tips:

Use technology to enhance your budgeting

Budgeting apps

Most of us take our phones with us wherever we go. Why not take advantage of that by using an app to budget better?

Remember some of these apps aren’t free, or they may charge for extra features. But if the money you save using an app outweighs its fee, it might be worth it. Just remember to factor any app fees into your budget.

Here are some budgeting apps to get you started:

The ATO app

Do you find yourself having misplaced a few receipts for work expenses by the time July 1 rolls around? Or perhaps you dread opening that overflowing receipt drawer, and sorting faded and crinkled receipts for hours on end.

With the ATO app, if you are an employee you can use the my Deductions tool to keep records of your work and general expenses, while non-employees can use it to record their general expenses like gifts, donations, and the cost of managing their tax affairs. myDeductions can also be used by sole traders to track income and deductions.

Read more about financial tips for tax time from Apia Good Life.

Banking apps

Some banking apps have features that can make managing your daily expenses easier.

Check out if your bank offers an app and if so, which features could benefit you.  

Budgeting apps

Spendee is another app with useful features for budgeting, including smart budgets and graphics to help you analyse your spending. You can view between multiple currencies and use shared wallets for shared expenses (for example, with your partner or housemates).  

There are more budgeting apps and tools available outside of those listed above, so make sure to have a shop around and see what could work for you!

Are budgeting apps secure?

Some budgeting apps have various measures in place to help secure your data, such as encrypted communication and using trusted providers to host servers. You may want to check out security information on any financial service’s website before signing up. Also, check with your bank before supplying any private information to third party services.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so explore what’s on the market and see what could work for you.

Pay less on bills

If you’ve been with the same internet, electricity, or gas provider since before your phone had a touchscreen, you might be paying too much. Shop around the market for prices. If you find a company that offers better value, you could make the switch, or negotiate with your current provider.

The same goes for insurance. Don’t forget to check out Apia’s Home and Contents Insurance and Car Insurance as part of your search!

Could you save on Home and Contents Insurance

Identify spending leaks

Over time, it’s easy to forget about subscriptions and ongoing costs we sign up to. Scan your budget to see if there are things you’re spending on that you aren’t using, or would happily go without.

Take streaming services: are you signed up to a few? Individually, these platforms can be pretty affordable. But if you’ve put your card details down for two, three, or even four, you’ll end up spending far more every few months. And chances are you’re only using one at a time. You may wish to try pausing the subscriptions you’re not using, then resubscribe when you spot a show you want to watch.

If you review your bank transactions to see where unnecessary and excess spending is occurring, you may be able to take simple steps to fix it.

Earn interest with your savings

Let your money make money. If you have savings, putting them into a high-interest savings account, or a term deposit could earn you interest.

Make sure you’re across any fees and deposit conditions.

Of course, you may wish to speak to a trusted financial advisor to see what’s right for you.

Bucket your money

It can be easy to overindulge in, say, entertainment, meaning you have less for something else like household expenses. It’s also possible that you’re being too stringent and putting aside more than you need for saving and leaving too little to enjoy the now with.

You may wish to try bucketing. Bucketing is categorising your spending to make sure you don’t overspend on one area, leaving you unfunded in another.

For example you could allocate 10% of your income to saving for a holiday, 20% to your mortgage and household costs 20% to bills and transport, 20% to food and dining, 10% for fun, 10% to retirement savings, and a 10% safety net (unexpected costs). Of course, this could look totally different to what works for you. Try looking at your regular expenses and creating a realistic bucketing plan.

By sticking to your plans, you can avoid overspending in one area, and not leaving enough for another. And, you still have the freedom to make spontaneous choices within your bucketed amounts. 

The Suncorp budget planner is a good tool to help you think about how much you need for each bucket. You should check to see if your bank’s app also offers sub-accounts or other bucketing methods.

Don’t forget to check out other apps that can help with bucketing.

Could you be saving with Apia Car Insurance?

Break up your goals

Having short, medium, and, long-term goals can be important.

A short-term goal could be a new outfit, a medium-term goal might be upgrading your car, while a long-term goal could be saving for a retirement nest.

Using technology or other methods to enhance your budgeting skills could help you reach your goals in 2021. Happy budgeting!

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Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency Pty Ltd (Apia) ABN 14 099 650 996 AR 239591 is an authorised representative of AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI), the issuer of Home, Landlord, Car, Caravan, Motorhome, Boat, Travel & Compulsory Third Party Personal Injury (CTP) Insurance.

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Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.

The material on the Apia Good Life has been prepared for informational purposes only and isn’t intended to be relied on as a substitute for advice from a qualified professional.

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