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7 steps I’m taking to get in better financial shape in 2024

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2023 was a year of rising costs and belt tightening. In 2024 I'm doubling down, diversifying, and... getting a credit card!

Like 54% of Australians, I'm starting 2024 with a goal of saving more money. I've followed many of the basic savings tips already, because I write about money saving all day every day.

But just like going to the gym, financial fitness never really ends. And there's so much I can do in 2024 to get rock-hard financial abs.

Here's my plan. And please keep in mind that what works for me and my personal circumstances may not work for you.

1. Take a very detailed look at my 2023 spending

The first thing I'm going to do is take a long hard look in the financial mirror. Where did my money go in 2023?

My banking app shows me how much I spent each month and it's all broken down by category:

  1. Home loan repayments
  2. Groceries
  3. Childcare
  4. Utilities
  5. Eating out

I'm on top of number 1, and childcare is a fixed cost. I've already made big energy savings by switching late last year.

But groceries and eating out are major expense categories I can work on.

2. Keep grocery and takeaway costs down

Delivery apps got the better of me in the later half of 2023. My son started daycare and we got sick all the time. So we ordered a lot of expensive comfort food.

Reviewing my spending is a great reminder to keep an eye on this in 2024. I should be able to cut this expense by at least $100 a month.

Groceries are the big opportunity for savings. I am lucky to live within walking distance of wonderful Footscray Market, where meat, fruit and veg are high quality and much cheaper than Coles. It's just a little further away and open fewer hours.

I need to plan better and get to that market for more of my groceries. The savings on offer are huge. Today I bought bananas from the market for $1.99 a kilo. At Coles they're $4.00 a kilo!

3. Focus on my offset account savings

My home loan's as cheap as it can be. So far my main, in fact only financial strategy has really boiled down to:

  1. Earn more, spend less.
  2. Put it all in the offset account.

And in 2024 this won't really change. Home loan rates are high now, so every dollar I can offset represents money in the bank and a big saving in interest charges.

But I have been putting all my eggs in one basket. I want to diversify in 2024.

4. Invest some of my savings

I've never invested before. But I feel that I should be diversifying and growing my wealth rather than just cutting costs.

So in 2024 I'm going to put aside a bit of my savings and put it into an exchange traded fund. I want something that will (hopefully) grow over the years, which I can add to over time, and that I won't have to think much about.

5. Take a long hard look at my super

I've already done the basics with my super: I've rolled all my funds into one and I check it every year to make sure it's a top performing fund.

But I need to look under the hood and make sure my super fund is working for me. I don't even know what kind of life insurance policies or other benefits I'm getting from my super, and if they're suitable for me.

6. Compare and switch my insurance policies

I got burned by staying with the wrong energy provider for too long. Lesson learned. But it's time to do the same with my car and home insurance policies.

Auto-renewing a policy is very convenient but it's a bad move I've made for several years now. Time to review, compare, and consider switching.

7. Get a credit card (for the points!)

No, I'm not completely contradicting myself on this last point. I want a credit card so I can maximise the points I earn to spend on flights.

Most of our family live interstate or overseas so this is a no-brainer.

I've got good financial discipline (it comes with the job). I know that I won't get into trouble with a credit card. My plan is to find a card with a low annual fee that lets me earn extra points when I shop (preferably with a nice sign up bonus).

I will use the credit card for my daily spending and be ruthless about paying it off before the interest-free period ends.

And I'll make sure my pursuit of points isn't pushing me to spend money on things I don't need.

Struggling to cut costs? Check out all our money saving tips.

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