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New Years resolution: Money management

Get a handle on your debts by incorporating basic money-management principles in your financial life. Follow the tips below and be empowered to make sound money decisions you feel good about.

Many people are unable to take control of their personal finances. They face near-constant financial difficulties because of inadequate money-management skills. It’s important to plan ahead and develop a budget to prevent things spiralling out of control and leaving you unable to support yourself. If you know how to manage your finances correctly, you’ll be able to stay clear of the traps and pitfalls that could lead you into debt or bankruptcy.

Living within your means, having a list of your necessities and setting clear financial goals will help maintain the size of your wallet throughout the year. If you start managing your money now, you will absolutely reap the rewards in the long run. This will help you look to the future and save yourself the trouble of unpaid bills and falling behind on your mortgage repayments.

Get into a money-management mindset

About 85 per cent of Australians are involved in some sort of personal financial planning, but not many have a focused, well-formed strategy to attain their goals. This lax approach is caused by a poor money-management mindset. Truth be told, how you take control of your finances is a product of how you think and feel concerning your connection with money and prosperity. As Dr. Dennis Kimbro, a renowned financial educator asserts, “If you can’t change your mind, you won’t change your money”.

Having a positive mindset will help you manage your money easily. It’s disappointing to note that several individuals live ‘in the moment’. In the current economy, many people find it an uphill task to look past the present and reap the rewards of a short-term sacrifice in the future. If you want to achieve financial success, avoid procrastination and start planning now. Will you have enough money to sail you safely through your retirement?

If putting aside some cash each month is not a burden and something you can manage, you’ve already made considerable steps towards securing your future. Your mindset is your greatest resource to help you achieve your financial goals. To get in a money-saving mindset, start by substituting those negative thoughts with the ones that motivate you. For example, do not equate retirement with being old and not able to perform your duties, but let your money mindset excite you with the idea of financial freedom.

Budgeting basics

Making a budget is like riding a bicycle: it seems impossible the first couple of times, but once you know the balancing trick you feel like riding all the way to the moon. A budget helps you seal your pocket holes, secure your financial future and live a happy life knowing your finances are under control. Above all, creating a budget is not that impossible – it may seem hard at first, but it’s worth persevering.

There are two main reasons why you should have a budget:

  1. It will let you know exactly how much cash enters your pocket. You will then know how to allocate your income for different needs.
  2. It will let you know exactly how much cash leaves your pocket. You will then know how to prioritise your expenses and how much to set aside for savings.

The overriding objective of a budget is to minimise expenses and maximise savings. If you reduce your expenditure on items that are not important and increase the cash you set aside each month, you can channel that additional cash toward financing some of your long-term goals like paying off loans or buying a home.

Here is a four-step plan you can use to assist you to create a budget, so that you can keep on track to your financial freedom:

1. How much is your overall income?

Determine how much money you expect to bring home on a regular basis to set up a successful budget. For example, if you’re a salaried employee, your monthly income should reflect only the amount of money you are bringing in after paying taxes.

2. Track your expenses

Next, make a list of all your monthly expenses to give you a better handle on tracking them. Remember to break down your expenses into different categories such as insurance, food, entertainment, etc.

3. What’s the difference?

If you subtract your expenses from your paycheque amount and get a positive number, you are on the safe side and you are living within your means. If you get a negative number, it means you need to pull your socks up and keep your expenses down.

4. Don’t stop there—review frequently

Review your budget frequently to ensure everything is on course. If you feel you need to chisel some things out, go ahead to keep your budget balanced.

Top eight products to help you manage your money

Activity & Expense Tracker

Activity & Expense Tracker from Amazon US site

This time and expense billing software is easy-to-use and it will help you track all your business activities.

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Household Financial Management

Household Financial Management from The Book Depository

This book illustrates the strategies and processes any person can use to save money and gain control of his or her financial life.

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Grow Your Money

Grow Your Money from The Book Depository

This audio CD presents clear, important and easy-to-use tips for those who want to get serious about straightening out their finances.

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Think & Grow Rich inc. magazine subscription

Think & Grow Rich inc. magazine subscription from iSUBSCRiBE

This magazine tackles the relevant issues on money management in today's world. It also has several motivational stories about successful business people around the globe.

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Digital Money Counter for Coins, Notes & Jewellery

Digital Money Counter for Coins, Notes & Jewellery from MyTopia

If you run a business, count your loose coins or banknotes using this device and have proper records of your finances.

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Personalised Weekly Planners

Personalised Weekly Planners from Vistaprint

This customisable calendar diary will allow you to keep track of all your activities so that you can know where your money goes.

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The Money Saving Accumulator

The Money Saving Accumulator from The Hut

This tool is similar to a coin counter but relates the amount of money saved to a real monetary value, for example the price of a house in Sydney.

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Best retailers to help you manage your money

image05Amazon is a reputable online retailer with everything you need to take control of your finances. Whether you’re looking for books on money management, budgeting tools, financial software programs or calendars, shopping at Amazon will not disappoint.
image07iSubscribe is a comprehensive magazine and newspaper online subscription provider that has several titles on money and finance. Magazines can be a good resource, particularly if you want to have a positive mindset on saving money which is current.
image02Booktopia is an online store that provides an extensive collection of books, eBooks and DVDs. You should visit this store if you want resources on effectively managing your money and securing your financial future.
image09The Book Depository is a premier online bookstore that has hundreds of book titles on money management. If you are struggling with adjusting your budget to fit your needs, fighting to get out of debt or just need some motivation to start saving some cash, pick a book from The Book Depository and you will certainly save yourself the hassle.
image12The Hut is a large online retailer offering a wide range of products to help you make sound financial decisions. The retailer has several resources you can use to understand the importance of managing your finances.

Why shop at finder.com.au to help you organise your finances?

Wide range of retailers. finder.com.au brings several of the best retailers together in one place. You can search for books, instructional DVDs, budgeting tools, software programs and anything you need to help you manage your finances.

One-stop resource centre. You will not need to leave or switch from one site to another looking for information on how to organise and manage your finances. You can compare financial products and services all in one place.

Free shipping. Most of the retailers featured on our site offer free shipping for their customers, so you can always get the most out of purchases.

Shop at your convenience. You won’t need to get dressed and drive to your favourite store; in fact, you can shop for a book on how to save money without getting out of your pyjamas.

Discounted prices. We have a wide range of exclusive online offers with top retailers, so you can always access the best prices. After you’ve identified the item you want to purchase, use a promo code to benefit from reduced prices.

Jeremy Cabral

Jeremy is a publisher for finder.com.au, he is also a personal finance all-rounder specialising in: Credit Cards, Savings Accounts, Personal Loans, Home Loans & Online Shopping.

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