7 steps to spring clean your finances

The sun is shining and the bees are buzzing – ‘tis well and truly the season to get your house in order! But what about your financials? 

Now, don’t roll your eyes. Saving dosh doesn’t have to be about turning down invites and only eating two-dollar dinners (and we’ve had enough instant mi goreng to last a lifetime). Instead, embrace your inner adult and take a long, hard look at the essentials. Here’s how. 

1. Balance your weekly budget

How much are you spending each week? And do you really need everything you’re buying? Identifying your personal spending habits, ways to trim outgoings and financial pain points is the first step on the way to properly spring-cleaning your finances. So if you’ve never sat down and put together a proper budget and savings plan, it’s time to make a commitment and focus on something worth saving for – whether it’s your first home, early retirement or a kick-ass outfit.

2. Make every dollar matter

There are things you can’t cut out. (You know, like food.) But if you need to spend, you may as well earn something back while you do it! That’s where loyalty programs really shine. Simply use your Virgin Money credit card and earn a slew of rewards and benefits while you shop, which you can then convert to proper perks, like supermarket vouchers, cheap premium wines and more. Check your program to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. Remember: spending without the reward is money well and truly wasted.

3. Pay less for your insurance

Next up: insurance! It’s your safety net, so you can’t cut it out. But you may be able to cut down the expense with a little clever accounting (and a whole lot of sweet talk). To start, make a list of your insurance policies. For most Aussies the list will include health, car, income protection, life and home and contents. Write what you’re paying for each, and then get researching to see if you can find better value for money. With record-low rates, cashback offers and savings aplenty available at the moment, you won’t be disappointed. Don’t want to switch providers? Call your existing insurer and ask for a discount nicely. More often than not, you’ll get at least 10% off.

4. Get mate’s rates

Want to know something? Mate’s rates really do exist! If a friend or family member works for an energy provider, telco or other institution, you may be eligible for a VIP friends and family plan, which can offer savings of up to 26%. Often, you’ll need an employee number or the friend or family member’s backing to get onto these plans, but it is well worth the effort. Other businesses have friends and family offers less frequently. So, depending on how many well-placed mates you’ve got, you’ll be able to capitalise on savings on all kinds of things.

5. Audit all of your accounts

Got multiple super accounts? Consolidate them. Do it. Do it now. You’re literally losing money while you read this. While you’re at it, take the time to examine the fee vs return trade-off, to make sure your super is giving you the most bang for your buck.

6. Ask about pre-tax payments

Did you know you can save money on things like life insurance and novated leases by paying for them before tax? It’s true. And if you’re right on the threshold of a higher tax bracket, making contributions vbefore tax could bump you back down to a lower percentage. Boom – instant savings. Call your accountant and ask them right now. Don’t have an accountant? Mum and dad will know exactly what we’re talking about.

7. Refinance for a better rate

Home loan interest rates are at a record low. Whether you’re looking to buy a new home or want to refinance your old loan, there’s definitely something better out there for you at the moment. Get low rates and big savings by calling your broker and asking them to sleuth out the best options. And don’t forget to check out the other benefits on offer, like getting $2,500 cash back, or free Mortgage Lender’s Insurance.

 

Virgin Money Australia has not considered your objectives, financial situation or needs in preparing this advice. Before acting on any advice please consider the appropriateness of the advice for you, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.