How are your New Year’s resolutions going? If you’re anything like me they took a back seat to getting through the holidays, and the kids back to school, with your sanity intact.
This is why I’m declaring, loudly and proudly, that February is the new January. Whether it’s finally starting those tennis lessons you’ve always talked about or making 2024 the year you change careers, it’s not too late to put a plan in place to achieve your goals.
For me, this means taking a good, hard look at my family budget and establishing some financial goals for the upcoming year. Even as a financial planner, budgets can slip and lifestyle creep can kick in, but by starting with small gains, we can easily get back on track.
So if you’re in the same boat, I thought I’d share my 2024 financial resolutions to help steer you towards financial security.
1. Spring clean your subscriptions
Streaming creep is alive and well in many Australian households. You get sucked into watching one new series or movie release and suddenly, you’ve signed up to six different streamers, most of which you don’t use. While it may start with $12 for this or $19 for that, before you know it you’re spending hundreds on multiple streaming services every month.
Resist the urge to watch the latest series as soon as it’s released. Instead, limit your household to one or two streamers and switch them up throughout the year. Also be aware of app subscriptions and lapsed free trials which can easily sneak under the radar.
Tip: comb through your bank statements and do an audit of all your subscriptions and recurring costs such as memberships, streaming services, clubs, apps, donations. Decide which ones to keep based on your values, priorities and budget.
2. Get resourceful meal planning.
Life is busy. Between work, family, and friend commitments, meal planning and cooking often feels like a burden. Queue spending way too much on your weekly food shop only to throw most of it away and reach for Uber Eats.
Make 2024 the year you take control of your meal planning. Carve out an hour to plan ahead for the following week. Write your shopping list and stick to it (Saturday morning meal planning is our new habit!). Where possible, batch cook and freeze tried and true family favourites. This gives you something to reach for at the end of a hectic day rather than relying on take out.
And don’t forget about your lunches! Include quick and easy options for kids lunchboxes, along with your own pre-made lunch goodies, so you don’t get caught short.
Tip: If you find you struggle for inspiration, create a Pinterest board with some one-tray bake dinners (I love these, so easy and time efficient), recipes for batch cooking and ideas for easy on-the-go lunches. Refer back to it when you’re feeling stuck for ideas. Your bank account, and your health, will thank you!
3. Increase your super contributions.
My husband and I are both self-employed so our super contributions are optional (to some degree) and my income has been lower in the last few years since taking time out for maternity leave and building up my business. As a result, our super contributions haven’t been as great as they could be due to our competing priorities.
Our two kids are both at school this year, now is the time for wealth building to take centre stage. We’ll be ramping up our contributions, ensuring we take advantage of all the incentives to reduce our tax.
Tip: look at what super incentives might be available to you. These may include government co-contributions, spousal contributions, super splitting, salary sacrificing or additional concessional contributions. The more you do and the earlier you do it, will have a compounding effect on what you can access when you retire.
4. Reinstate, or create, a monthly investment plan
For many Australians, cost-of-living pressures and rising mortgage interest rates in 2023 meant investing had to take a back seat.
While it still might not be possible for many, could you take the savings from your financial resolutions to start investing, or reinvesting, a regular monthly sum in 2024? It may only be a small amount but these investments could help cover the cost of kids’ school fees, provide additional income in future years and ultimately give you more choice in how long you have to work for.
Ultimately, investing regularly will allow you to ‘set and forget’, meaning you can take advantage of dollar-cost averaging (smoothing out the price you pay for your investments). Plus, the longer you can invest, the more time you have for compounding returns to work their magic.
Tip: get across your budgeting and cashflow so you know how much it costs to run your life. This will inform how much money you can comfortably save and invest. My Crack your Cashflow course is designed to help you get to grips with your finances so you can take your first steps towards financial independence and security.
5. Review our insurances
Most insurances, from car, home and health to life, trauma, and income protection, saw stark increases over the past year. While insurance is a must, especially if you have debts and/or young children, there must be a balance between cover and cost.
Review each policy as it’s due for renewal and reassess your needs. There are many levers you can pull in terms of your insurance policies, so it’s vital you understand the purpose each policy serves and how it works.
For instance, consider if your circumstances have changed. If you’ve paid more debt on your home loan or your children are now independent, can you reduce the amount of life insurance you have? Do you need extras cover on your health insurance? Can you increase the driver age on your car insurance or can you increase the excess?
Tip: Always ask your existing provider for the best deal they can offer and don’t be afraid to move providers if it can save you money. Make the most of great comparison sites around like Finder, Canstar and Privatehealth.gov.au where you can sense check some of the best deals on offers.
Lastly, remember that small steps can lead to big gains when it comes to managing
your money. The most important thing is to be realistic and consistent.
You got this!
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If you want to take control of your cashflow in 2024, then check out my brand new mini-course, crack your cashflow. For a limited time I’m offering this at a very special price of $99!!! The normal price is
$349 and the value is well beyond that, you have the potential to find thousands of dollars in your budget. Find out more here
Money Mode Advice Pty Ltd (ABN 29 627 492 791) is a corporate authorised representative of Integrity Financial Planners Pty Ltd (AFSL 225051, ABN 71 069 537 855)
This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This presentation provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.