The Macleay Argus

6 tips for getting your finances in order in 2022

A mid-year financial clean up can help you take more control. Picture: Shutterstock

Story in partnership with Savvy.

Happy New Financial Year! How are those financial resolutions going?

We're now well into FY22/23 and with the pressures of a rising cost of living, interest rates heading north and COVID-19 continuing to lurk, it's a good time to take stock of your personal finances.

A mid-year financial clean up can be a liberating process and could set you up for a significantly more profitable period ahead. As well as boosting your financial wellbeing, getting on top of your finances can also help improve your mental health by reducing stress and worry about money.

So let's go. Here are six tips for getting those finances in better order.

1 Do an audit of subscriptions

One of the sectors that's benefited from the pandemic has been subscription TV services as we spent more time at home and hungry for entertainment.

The average number of subscription TV services Australians used increased from 1.8 in December 2019 to 2.7 in February 2022. From Apple to Disney to Netflix, options skyrocketed and many households have ended up with a streaming service smorgasbord adding up to hefty monthly expenditure.

But as restrictions have eased this year and our entertainment horizons expanded to outside the home it's time to get serious and perhaps cull those we least use.

2 Consolidate debt

If you have multiple debts weighing you down it's easy to feel overwhelmed. One of the best ways to take back more control and get on a clear pathway to paying them off is to look into consolidating your debts with a personal loan.

Consolidating debt means refinancing debts under the one loan, taking advantage of a lower interest rate, which means cheaper repayments, and makes the overall management easier.

This is particularly useful when the debts are potential financial black holes such as credit cards which have high interest rates. Choosing a personal loan with a lower interest rate to consolidate your debt means you have one single payment to focus on.

Even finding small savings can add up to a healthier financial future. Picture: Shutterstock.

3 Perform a (literal) mid-year clean up

There could be gold in them there cupboards, attics and sheds.

Unused clothes and household items - like that exercise equipment that hasn't had a workout in a while - could garner some instant cash on online forums like Google Marketplace or Gumtree.

Turn your trash into treasure and use the money you make to pay down debts, add to your savings account, or to top up your super.

4 Set up regular contributions to build your super nest egg

When was the last time you took a look at your superannuation situation? How much do you need to have a secure and stress-free retirement? Are you on track to being able to achieve that?

Now's a great time to dive into the details of your super fund and take some steps today that your future self will thank you for - like making voluntary contributions.

If you're employed, your employer should be paying a percentage of your earnings into your super account. But if you can afford it, setting up automatic regular extra contributions of your own is a smart way to boost your retirement savings. Small amounts now can make a significant difference in the long run.

Making voluntary contributions can also reduce your tax. And if you're on a low income, you may be eligible for extra contributions from the government if you're topping up your super yourself.

While you're perusing your super details check also that your employer contributions are correct and reflect the latest boost to the super guarantee rate. It increased from 10 per cent to 10.5 per cent on 1 July.

5 Hone your negotiation skills

Commit to contacting each of your utility providers - phone, gas, internet and electricity - and ask for a better deal. It may feel daunting but grab your bills, get yourself prepared, and pick up the phone.

Do your research first. Find out what the going rates are with your provider's competitors, and compare that to your own bills. Then ask your provider if they can match the cheaper deals.

Remember, you're the customer and these are extremely competitive markets. They want your business.

6 Cut food waste

The weekly grocery bill represents a significant and increasing slice of household budgets. With the current rising costs, now's the time to do an audit of how you shop for food, what you're spending your money on, and how much might be needlessly going into the bin.

Every year, Australian households waste $2,000 to $2,500 worth of food, throwing away around one in five bags of groceries, equal to about 312 kilograms per person.

Saving money on food doesn't mean buying the cheapest and nastiest - just taking care. For example, making sure the food you buy doesn't end up rotting in the deep recesses of your fridge, or thoughtlessly scraped off plates into the bin.

Embrace habits like menu planning, shopping your pantry, saving leftovers (and eating them), shopping seasonally for fruit and vegie bargains, and plating smaller servings, and you might find your weekly bill loses a bit of weight.

Remember, every dollar spent adds up and regularly taking time to take stock of your finances is time well invested.

Story in partnership with Savvy.