Unless you’re an accountant, the process of managing your personal finances can breach the shores of overwhelm; in fact for some, wealth management can be downright intimidating. Regular, small declutters can assist in solving this issue and make managing your financial affairs…well, manageable!
The first rule of the Financial Declutter is to BUDGET, BUDGET, BUDGET. I know, budgets themselves can be daunting, but by breaking your budgets into smaller time chunks you can stay on top of the day to day minutiae more effectively. A monthly plan is far more achievable and realistic than quarterly or annual budgets, and you don’t have to go too far into the weeds to make it work for you. Basic line items like rent or mortgage, groceries, insurance and incidentals like travel costs offer extra transparency to analyse your spending habits, and determine how much of your incomings are being spent on luxuries and non-essentials.
To aid in budgeting, there are a number of SPENDING APPS AND TRACKERS that can shoulder some of the budgeting burden for you. Some banks have Apps that can link to your account for budgeting and the government has also released MoneySmart.gov.au, an online government supported tracker. Other options include GoodBudget which is targeted to beginners, and You Need a Budget for a more robust budgeting tool.
DITCH EXCESS BANK ACCOUNTS THAT AREN’T SERVING YOU – these do not spark joy! Streamline or consolidate as many accounts as you can into one or two more manageable linked accounts. Again, transparency is the key. Knowing your incomings and outgoings will help you make wise spending decisions, and multiple bank accounts make finances harder to track. If you still have a school bank account, for example, or an old business account no longer in use, consider which are actually serving your purpose. Aside from planning, excess bank fees are an unnecessary expense that you don’t need.
And then of course there is tax time, when all of us non financial types feverishly gather every piece of documented proof we’ve spent money in the hopes of gathering tax deductions and offsets. If this is you, never fear – like everything else in life a little preparation goes a long way and a minute or so each day makes tax time a breeze. In fact, to make life even easier for you the ATO has developed an app to set you up ahead of time for taxes, allowing you to upload receipts as you receive them. You can download the free ATO app and use the My Deductions tab to collect your receipts and simply create a report at the end of the financial year.
A little planning and decluttering circumvents the stress of financial chaos, leaving you free to enjoy spending wisely.