Personal Finances: How to simplify your life and your budget

The ultimate guide to simplifying your budget and getting control of your personal finances

By K+P Team  |  29 Mar 2021

Ever get that sinking feeling? Where you get to a point where everything seems too confusing, you can’t keep up with the messages pinging at you, and you’re suffering from information overload coming at you from all angles.

With so much available at the click of your fingers, or at least the click of the submit button, before you know it you've signed up to more apps, streaming services and subscriptions than you know what to do with.

And it’s the same with credit cards, bank accounts, store cards, loyalty cards and budgeting apps, to the point where not much of it is making sense.

It’s time to simplify your life and get on top of your inbox, your phone and your budget!

Because chances are, you don’t need it all. You got to this point because you needed a solution at the time, so you found one. 

But having a good cleanse will make you feel more in control of your life and your finances (a win-win!) 

Cleanse for control 

Are you that person? The one that needs to transfer money from one account to another, just to pay for your morning coffee.

If you are, it’s a fairly good indication, you aren’t on top of your finances. Simplifying your situation is a great start that has the extra bonus of also reducing your stress levels. 

Now could be a good time to stop the “robbing Peter to pay Paul” cycle. There are a few simple steps you can take to streamline your situation so you can easily monitor your spending and not let any fat creep into your budget.

1. Consolidate your bank accounts

In reality most people can get by with just one or two bank accounts. One for savings and one to use for expenses.

Some popular budget strategies recommend multiple accounts for different aspects of your budget. But if you’re confused, you’re finding it hard to keep on top of, or it’s simply not working for you, it’s time to bring it back down to basics and consolidate.

More importantly, if you’ve stretched yourself across a few different financial institutions, your life will simplify if you deal with just one.  Decide who you want to bank with and consolidate all your banking with them.

2. One superannuation account is enough 

Having just one superannuation account makes your super easier to manage, and saves on fees… by a lot! 

If you’ve had more than one employer, chances are you’ve got more than one super account. So step one for you may be to track down your super accounts. Luckily searching for your lost super has been made a lot easier and can be done through MyGov or phoning the Lost Super Search Line on 13 28 65. 

Once you’ve located all your super funds, pick the one that’s best for you. Then transfer your other superannuation accounts across to that one. 

Again this process has been made easier. It can be as simple as logging into your MyGov account and following the steps. And remember to tell your employer where you want your super paid into from now on.

 The added bonus? You can transfer all your super for free.

3. Cut the credit cards

Many of us end up with multiple credit cards. It’s a tempting situation. It may be that you’ve taken advantage of low interest rate offers. Or you needed a quick solution to pay off another debt.

But the only way to get ahead is to live to your means. That is, to only spend what you can afford.

Credit card debt is crippling. And the attractive low interest rate you signed up to, usually disappears within the first year.

Try to consolidate your debt to one card with the financial institution you’ve chosen for your bank accounts and pay off more than the minimum amount.

The best situation is having no credit card at all. But if you must, make it only one. We recommend a simple, no frills (they end up costing you more) card with as low a repayment rate as you can find!

4. Revisit your goals 

If things have got a little out of hand and you’re not feeling on top of your budget or your finances, it could be time to revisit your goals.

If your goal is to save a deposit for a house, but you’ve got credit cards maxed out, it might be worthwhile breaking your big goal down into more achievable steps.

That doesn’t mean you should do away with your main goal. It just means you can focus more easily on how to get there. 

If you refocus your first goal to be “Get out of credit card debt”, and work to achieve that, you’re more likely to set yourself up for success.

Then set yourself your next goal.

5. Know where your money goes 

Keeping track of your expenses and what you’re spending your money on is one of the simplest ways to help you get back in control of your financial situation.

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know where your money is going. Particularly with the convenience of things like tap and go cards, it can feel like we’re always on the run tapping away without another thought!

Keep a record and monitor where you're spending your money for a month.  In a month’s time you’ll likely find out some confronting truths... 

Incidental expenses here and there may seem small but can add up fairly quickly. We’ve all heard the simple idea that cutting out your $4 coffee a day can save you $1,460 in a year! There’s no denying that making these small sacrifices can feel difficult but thinking back to your financial goals and knowing which purchases are non-negotiable (and for some, that $4 coffee may very well fall into this category) and which can go is a fantastic step in the right direction. 

Knowing your situation and aiming to become more mindful about what you spend your money on can go a long way to helping stop that budget blowout.

Simplify the clutter (and save money too!) 

Rethinking what you need instead of what you want, is a great way to simplify your life and save a little money too.

6. Re-evaluate your streaming

Have you got Foxtel, Stan, Netflix, Prime, Disney Plus and Apple TV? Are you also paying for Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music and Amazon Music?

All the services we sign up to, to bring us joy sadly can also act as a double-edge sword and add to the constant barrage of being online.

Chances are you’re paying for services you no longer use. It’s all too easy to get sucked into the free trial but never cancel when it runs out. 

Think about what you use and what you could do without. Then start cancelling. If you feel that you need every platform (after all, variety is the spice of life) look into money-saving options like family accounts or sharing your account with others. 

Trusted Professionals 

If you’re still feeling like you don’t know where to start, it might be worthwhile chatting to someone who can help. Kelly+Partners offer reliable and professional advice that you can understand.

Call to book an appointment on 1300 932 584 and find out how to consolidate and simplify your budgeting so you can get back in control of your finances. Without all the stress.

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Sleep better knowing you and your business are in the right hands. With locations throughout New South Wales and Melbourne, our business accountants are ready to help.

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