Financial Tips and Treasures

basics of budgeting

Budgeting is not about putting a noose around your neck, it’s about putting you in control of your finances, understanding your financial position at all times to ensure you are making informed decisions.

Modern life can be overwhelming so when it comes to making a financial plan many of us simply can’t find the time to sit down and go through it; and when we do, we’re not really sure where to even start!

Finding the time to sit down and do a budget is vital to ensuring peace of mind around your future.  

The budgeting process is valuable as it will allow you to separate your income into various areas.  Many years ago our Grandparents allocated their weekly earnings into various jars or envelopes and only spent the remainder on food and little luxury items, this ensured all bills were paid on time.  

Any good budget and planning starts with having a crystal clear understanding of your income and expenses. This is vital because you know then the amount of surplus you have to work with to direct towards future planning.  The process of understanding incoming and outgoing money is that you can see, clear as day, the areas that need your attention and reviewing.

Warning Signs you Need to Start Budgeting

If you use credit cards and are not able to clear the balance every month than this is a clear indication that you are spending more than what you are earning, you should cut up your credit card to eliminate temptation.

Do you have debts/loans are you able to make extra repayments, clearing the debt in a shorter time frame and saving yourself thousands of dollars, or are you overdue in repayments?

These are clear warning signs that you are not managing your finances well.

Budget Set-Up and Monitoring

Budgets are best managed in excel spreadsheets to easily enable changes.  There are also many online tools and apps available; Google ‘Free Personal Budgets’ and choose one you are comfortable using.

Budget Example: 

Here’s an example of a double income household and their budget.  No matter your circumstances, the same concepts apply.

The Jones’ receive a combined Net Income of $3,500 fortnightly

Step 1:  Allocate your income into various accounts.  All commitments need to be allocated and funded prior to any discretionary spending.

The Jones':

  • Mortgage $1,200
  • Credit card debt $150
  • Bills account $600
  • Christmas club account $50
  • Super $400
  • School fees $190
  • Weekly expenses $650
  • + Savings $260.

Step 2: Use different accounts/direct debits and pay bills

Separate money into various accounts will make budgeting easier, set up direct debits and periodical payments and pay all bills automatically.  If you structure your cash flow correctly you will only need to worry about your weekly expense amount, this account funds food, petrol, birthdays and clothes.

Any item that you can do without or reduce, you will find you will make more conscious decisions regarding purchases. Saying no to a few more smaller items will ensure you have savings for emergencies, holidays and luxury items.

Step 3: Consider Your Future

Budgeting will give you a good indication of what you need in your retirement so that you can enjoy a similar standard of living as today. The government site, Money Smart, has a retirement planning calculator to help you work this out.

Step 4: Is your Super really Super?

Planning for your future means keeping a close eye on your Superannuation account.  Ask yourself these questions to ensure that it is on track and working hard for you:

  • Do you know what your current super balance is?  
  • How often do you check it to find out how much your balance is growing?  
  • How are your funds invested?  
  • Is this in line with the amount of volatility you feel comfortable with?
  • How has your superfund performed?
  • Have you considered whether the type of fund you have is the right one for you?
  • Do you have the ability to choose a super fund of your own choice or did you go with the default fund as it was too hard at the time?
  • Do you have more than one super fund?

It is important to keep track of how your fund is performing so that you know whether you are on track to achieve your financial goals.

If you are not managing your finances well and are not aware of how your super is performing or what your options are than alarm bells should be ringing!

Step 5: Get Help if you Need it!

If you are not a financial whiz than it is a good idea to seek the advice and guidance of a Trusted Financial Adviser, who has a wealth of information and experience. They can help you with managing your cash flow and implement a financial strategy to help you achieve your financial goals and then ensure that it is managed and reviewed regularly.

It’s never too late to start getting financially healthy, your future self will thank you for it.
Find out more about Christine, here.

Financial literacy events for women

Money in your 20s

Unless you talk money with your friends or colleagues, it can be really hard to benchmark yourself against others to see how you’re faring:

  • How much should I have saved?
  • Is $5,000 in credit card debt that bad?
  • Should I know where my superannuation is?

All of these are very legitimate questions but I’m guessing you don’t want to ask your parents about your credit card debt (which took you on a pub tour of Europe last summer!).

Savings

You may be a student with a part time job or about to set off on your full time career so there’s no better time to get your head around what to do with your money from now on.

Although you may not be earning a six figure salary and feel like you’re struggling, this is the time to really save and save hard, especially if you’re living at home or paying cheap rent.

Saving 20% of your income would be an ideal proportion to put away, especially if you want to own a property in a major city in your 30s, which currently requires a $113,000* deposit i.e. 20 per cent of the average capital city property price.

This is also a great time to create good habits like setting up an automated savings payment into a separate account so it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ but doing nice things for you like earning interest, on the side.

Credit Cards

If you have credit card debt, try and get rid of it ASAP, that means, put any extra money towards it, even if that means forgoing savings. You’re being charged, on average, 17.58% on your balance and that’s getting bigger and bigger with each bill if you’re only paying the minimum amount.

If you’re surviving with a debit card, keep it up!  A Debit card still let’s you shop online, book airline tickets, etc. so there’s really no need to use credit, especially if you don’t have any!

TIP: There are some great fee free debit cards out there and some even give you cash back on spending or free ATM access.

Loans

If you have a loan, it’s likely a personal loan for a car or holiday and that’s okay but paying it down needs to be prioritised. Set up a Direct Debit payment so you never miss a payment. The ramifications of late or missed loan payments not only cost you in ‘late fees’ now, but can have a big impact on your credit history down the track.

Superannuation

You may not realise this but you start paying superannuation as soon as you start working. Your employer automatically takes it from your pay and from that point, you’re building your retirement nest egg. With every job can come a different super fund so to save yourself money and the headache, choose one provider and stick with it, by choosing it with every new job. This means you’re only paying one set of fees and it’s much easier to keep track of.

Tip: To track down any lost super, use the Government’s FindMySuper website.

*CoreLogic RP Data Property Value Index. $565,000 is the average dwelling cost across all capital cities (1 July, 2015).

By Kirsty Lamont
Director, Mozo.com.au
“Mozo is all about you saving money.  We help more than 300,000 Australians find a better banking or insurance deal each month.”

Financial literacy events for women

BUDGETING

The idea of “spring cleaning” usually makes us think of a freshly aired, spruced-up home. But spring is also a great time to take a fresh look at your budget and do some cleaning out. There’s no better time to get out of the winter funk and take on some new budget-friendly habits. Here are a few of our springy favourites:

  1. Plant a garden. You’ll be amazed what you can grow in just a couple of pots on the balcony: chillis, green onions, and loads of herbs. Invest in a few dollars worth of seeds at a garden centre and you’ll be set for the whole season.
  2. Feast on seasonal produce. Learn what’s in season and make the most of it. Lots of fruits and veg will soon be very good value. Watch the catalogues from your local store and stock up as we’re treated to fresh avocados, asparagus, and zucchini and plenty of others.
  3. Give a helpful gift. Instead of buying a gift, give a gift voucher for garden help, spring cleaning help, or taking the kids to the park. Friends will appreciate the kindness and you’ll get the benefit of fresh air and exercise.
  4. Cut the gym expense. When spring arrives, there’s no excuse for not exercising! Make the most of your local parks and walking tracks. Many have fitness stations that can ensure a very complete (and free) workout as you go.
  5. Enjoy the garage sales. Many neighbourhoods will coordinate sale days. What better way to go for a healthy spring wander and look for bargains?
  6. Drink water, just plain water. Forego all the expensive bottled beverages and make water your go-to drink. If you don’t love the taste, invest in a simple water pitcher with a filter which will pay for itself within weeks.
  7. Walk to work. If you’re within a few kilometres, pick a day or two per week when you’ll walk to and from work. Commuting can cost more than we realise and is a great place to look for savings.
  8. Free events in town. Check out your local paper or council website and find the local markets, concerts and kids events. Make dates with friends to attend and fill your calendar with free, fun local social outings.
  9. Volunteer! If you’re still looking for budget-friendly ways to get out, look for volunteer opportunities. Help out at a local roadrace, join a clean-up effort at a park or volunteer at a local festival. It’s a great way to get free admission and give back at the same time.

Want to get truly financially empowered?  Check out our Money Make-Over Events, here.

Financial literacy events for women

How to buy a home

Spring is a time when lots of people decide to jump into the property market. The first step is often browsing the listings and checking out a few open houses in the target neighbourhoods. While that’s interesting and exciting, it’s actually not the place to start. What should you do before you head out on a Saturday morning?

  • Step one should always be budgeting. It’s important to think about the budget in two ways. How much can you realistically have ready for a deposit? And how much can you truly afford on a monthly basis? In both cases, you’ll need to have a real sense of current income and expenses, and how much cash you want to retain as a rainy day fund.
  • Understanding upfront costs is a very important second step. Educate yourself about stamp duty in your area, likely inspection fees and general costs to establish a mortgage. Make sure you allow for these costs when you calculate your potential deposit. If you need help with this step, it might be a good time for an initial conversation with a mortgage broker.
  • Figure out how much you can borrow. Most of the banks and mortgage providers have calculators on their websites. By inputting your downpayment and monthly budget, they’ll show you the options and total price you can afford.
  • Research any additional sources of funding. From time to time, there are additional sources like first time home buyers grants. Council and state websites often have information about these.
  • Then it’s time to choose a bank and a home loan option. Working through a mortgage broker, or directly, have a look at the offers on the various websites, or use a comparison site like Mozo and decide which banks are your top choices. Remember to look at all of the costs including interest rates, establishment fees and any ongoing fees.
  • Make contact with the bank, either directly or through your broker and begin the process to obtain a pre-approval letter. This is a formal document issued by the bank that you’ll take with you to auctions to show you can cover the price of the home.
  • Identify a lawyer you’ll use for the process. Often your friends and family have recommendations or a broker might be able to help.

Then, you’re really fully prepared. You’ll have a sense of your price range, and you’ll have a support network in place to act once you see that dream property. With that, it’s really time to get out there and have a look!

Want to get truly in control of your finances and reach your BIGGEST life goals?  Check out our Money Make-Over events, here.

Financial literacy events for women

reduce debt
Amy

Amy took a 10thousandgirl make-over course in Sydney.  She was in credit card debt but managed to turn herself around, eventually paying off all her credit card debt and buying her own apartment!  Pretty good huh?

Here’s how Amy did it.

Here are her four biggest lessons from her experience:

  • Try to work out a way that you can earn more, either by working towards a promotion at work, a second job, commissions and bonus’, renting out a spare room, downgrading your current home etc.
  • Try to live within your means:paying of credit card debt for things you bought ages ago is no fun.
  • Being organised is such an important part of being financially fit, I do my tax return on time, keep my receipts in order, do my healthcare claims and work expenses as I go along, so that it doesn’t all pile up and become a bigger job than I can, or want(!) to handle.
  • Surround yourself with smart, likeminded people that inspire you and can also lend a helping hand as you venture into new financial projects.

You can read Amy’s full story, here.
Want more ways to reduce your debt?  10 ways, here, here.


Financial literacy events for women

air bnb room rental

It seems like everyone is talking about the sharing economy as a way to supplement their income and make the most of their resources. It can be tempting to turn that spare room into a source of cash. But should you start chasing income as an AirBnB host? Or is it better to go the old-fashioned route and get a roommate?

AirBnB is great for some situations. For example, if you’re going overseas for a couple of months and will only need a tenant for a short time. But it’s also a serious commitment.

Some things to consider before you sign up as an AirBnB host.

  1. Make sure you understand the rules of your building and area. Check your lease to see if short-term sublets or tenants are allowed. There may also be council restrictions, so do your homework first.
  2. Then check into your insurance. While AirBnB provides some coverage, you’ll need personal liability and possibly coverage for any valuables in your home.
  3. Make sure your property and listing is up to the standard required. If you’re charging only a small amount for couchspace, and pricing it the same as the local backpackers, you can get away with very little. But if you’re charging rates comparable to a B&B or small hotel, you’ll need quality linens, amenities like wifi and coffee, and very responsive communications with prospective customers. This can mean near-constant monitoring of inquiries and lots of back-and-forth to answer questions.

Be realistic about the financial potential.

  1. Have a look at similar listings in your area. Assume you might only have occupancy for a portion of the time. You can see how other hosts are doing with future bookings to get a sense of this. Factor in all of the costs including the 3% that AirBnB charges and any incremental costs for cleaning, utilities or supplies.
  2. When you add it all up, calculate the true bottom-line monthly benefit. Compare to the weekly rent you’d have to get from a roommate to achieve that same result. If that starts to look like the easier, less stressful option, perhaps better to keep things simple and find a reliable roommate instead.

Financial literacy events for women

mytax

Launched last year, myTax only asks questions relevant to the person lodging and automatically includes information provided by employers, banks, government agencies and other third parties.

This year, myTax has been expanded and is available to people with income, tax offsets or deductions from superannuation pensions, lump sum payments, managed investment funds and foreign pensions.

To use myTax, you will first have to create a myGov account and link it to the ATO. In 2015, for the first time ever, people who lodge electronically will receive their notice of assessment and tax receipt straight to their myGov inbox.

In another first, if you don’t need to lodge a tax return this year, you can simply submit a new online non-lodgement advice form or an online refund of franking credits form.

Get App-y

We know that people are using their smartphones and tablets for their day-to-day tasks more than ever. That’s why we’ve made myTax available through the ATO App.

In addition to a wide range of other features, you can also use the ATO App to track the progress of your return and if necessary, see how quickly you can pay off a tax debt with a payment plan. The ATO App will also soon have a new deductions feature, where you can capture your individual work-related expenses, gifts and donations and costs of managing your tax affairs on the go for Tax Time 2016. The ATO App is available for download via the Apple App Store, Google play and the Windows Phone Store.

Pre-fill makes it easier

Each year, we are given over 600 million pieces of data by employers, banks, government agencies and other third parties to pre-fill tax returns.

For many people, this means all they have to do is double-check the information we have pre-filled for them, enter any deductions they have and then hit submit. We expect to receive most pre-fill information by early August, which means if you can wait until then, completing your tax return should be even quicker and easier.

Don’t miss out on deductions

We want to make sure that no one misses out on the deductions that they are entitled to. That’s why we’ve put together some easy to understand guides on the most common deductions, so everyone can work out what they can and cannot claim:

> vehicle and travel expenses, including travel between work and home
> clothing, laundry and dry-cleaning expenses
> gifts and donations
> home office expenses
> interest, dividend and other investment income deductions
> self-education expenses
> tools, equipment and other assets
> other deductions.

Get your facts right

On average, each year we contact over 350,000 people with errors in their tax returns.

Omitting income is the most common mistake we see. It is important to report all your income, including pay from second jobs, foreign income, bank interest and any Government payments you received.

Many of the other common mistakes we see are easy to avoid. By simply checking that your tax return details are complete and correct before you lodge, you will avoid any unnecessary delays. Some common errors to avoid include:

> Supplying an incorrect TFN
> Spelling errors in your name
> Supplying incorrect bank account details
> Providing your year of birth rather than your full date of birth
> Not completing the income test and/or spouse details
> Lodging duplicate returns for the same year
> Incorrectly using the Additional information schedule.

Lodging online can help you avoid a lot of potential errors if you wait for your pre-fill information to come through.

Over claiming can cost you

Although we want to make sure no-one misses out on their deductions, we will also be on the lookout for those trying to claim more than they are entitled to.

This year we are focusing on unusually high work-related expense claims across all industries and occupations. Enhancements in technology and the use of data means we are able to take a much broader approach than previous years; and identify and investigate claims that differ from what is normal across all industries and occupations. We will also be paying particular attention to claims:

> that have already been reimbursed by employers, and
> for private expenses such as travel from home to work.

Three easy rules you can follow to make sure you’re not over claiming on work-related expenses:

> you must have spent the money yourself
> it must be related to your job, and
> you must have a record to prove it.

Be aware of what’s changed

There are some changes that may affect you this tax time, in particular:

> The mature-aged worker tax offset has been removed, which means it cannot be claimed on your 2015 tax return
> You will be only eligible to claim the net medical expenses tax offset if you received it in your 2013-14 tax assessment.

However, if you have out-of-pocket medical expenses related to disability aids, attendant care or aged care you are still able to claim them.

> You can no longer claim the Dependent spouse tax offset.

If you have claimed the Dependent spouse tax offset through a withholding arrangement with your employer this may result in you having a tax debt this year. You will need to ensure you submit an updated TFN declaration (or Withholding declaration) to your employer for 2015-16 to increase your withholdings.

Easy-to-fix accidents

We know one thing that puts people off doing their own tax return is the fear of making a mistake. We also know most mistakes made on tax returns are accidental. In most cases, they are easily fixed and there is no penalty.

If you do accidentally get something wrong and it turns out you owe the ATO money, you will have to pay the tax you owe but no penalty. On the flipside, if you make a mistake and it turns out you are owed money, we will pay it along with any interest you’re entitled to. If you’ve made a mistake, the best thing to do is to amend your 2015 tax return using our online services for individuals.

Get sorted by 31 October

If you’re planning to complete your own return, make sure to lodge before the 31 October deadline to avoid penalties.

Age-old advice for using a tax agent

Most registered tax agents have special lodgement schedules and can lodge returns for their clients after 31 October.

For anyone thinking about using a tax agent for the first time or a different one to last year, it is important to contact them before the end of October to qualify for their lodgement dates and avoid penalties. It’s also important to ensure you are using a registered tax agent. Only a registered tax agent can charge a fee for doing your tax return. A list of registered tax agents is available on the Tax Practitioners Board website.

For more information about tax time, visit the ATO website, here.

Financial literacy events for women

superannuation
A new year can often bring a renewed commitment to healthy living or improving another area of our lives.

A new financial year provides a great chance to support your financial health with a range of ‘good habits’.

Making sure your super is in shape can be a great start.

Your super is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime.

Here are five simple ways you can take to ensure your super account is the healthiest it can be:
1. Consolidate!

Consolidate (or roll over) your super into one account to avoid multiple fees and their impact on your super balance. You’ll also help reduce your paperwork and carbon footprint by cutting down the amount of mail you get. Just remember, to check your insurance cover before consolidating your super.

2. Find Lost Super

This is vital if you’ve ever changed your job, name or address. Millions of Australians currently have unclaimed super. Useful websites are ato.gov.au/superseeker and unclaimedsuper.com.au Best of all, it’s free to find your lost super!

3. Top Up

Put a little away now to benefit later in life by topping up your super. Even adding just a bit extra each week can make a big difference down the track. It’s never too early or too late to start topping up. There are two ways to contribute extra to your super – before or after tax. Which method of making additional contributions is right for you will depend on your income. To find out more, contact your super fund.

4. Don’t Forget the Co-Contribution Scheme

Take advantage of the government co-contribution scheme to receive up to a maximum of $500 from the Government towards to your super. If you earn less than $35,454, and put $1,000 into your super from your take home pay, you may receive the maximum amount. You can still receive a part co-contribution if you earn up to $50,454.

Visit ato.gov.au/super to find out more.

5. Get Active about your Investment Options

Make an active choice about your investment options to reflect the level of risk you’re comfortable with and your retirement goals. Visit your super fund’s website to find out your options.

If you’re with an industry fund like HESTA you might also be able to access handy advice and information that comes at no extra cost.

For instance, HESTA has a range of calculators that can help you to work out how your super is tracking, see the impact that topping up your super could have or work out if your insurance cover is right for you.

So, get your finances off to a fresh start this financial year, one step at a time.

The fine print: Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321. This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. You may wish to consult an adviser when doing this. For more information, call 1800 813 327 or visit hesta.com.au for a copy of a Product Disclosure Statement which should be considered when making a decision about HESTA products.

HESTA is a valued partner of 10thousandgirl.

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superannuation for women

Did you know on average, Australian women have just over half the super of men?

This is because as women, we are more likely to:

• Receive lower rates of pay

• Take career breaks to start a family, and

• Work part-time to care for family.

These kinds of issues have a significant impact on the final super balance of women, and can place you under unnecessary stress in retirement. But there is some good news. By getting the right advice and putting a plan in place, you can improve your financial future.

Read the full report with tips to get you on a super super track from our partner, HESTA, here.

financial workshop for women

credit score a quick guide

Credit checks are a way of ascertaining your credit past and behaviour so that potential lenders can evaluate the level of risk of lending to you.

Get your credit record

You can apply for your credit record for free (please don’t pay for it) to see how you rate (see the bottom of the post for links).

When you apply they will send you back your credit report with an overall number – that will be your credit score.  Your score can range from -200 to 1200.

The average Australian ‘credit active’ score is 550.

  • Excellent: Any score above 700.
  • Good: Any score from 600 to 700.
  • Average: 550 is the average score.
  • Bad: Any score from 400 to 500.
  • Very bad: Any score below 400.

How am I scored?

There are a variety of factors that determine your score.

Applications for credit

Your rating is based on a number of factors, one being the number of times you have applied for credit (regardless of whether you went for it or not). So, say you applied for a five year personal loan, the bank approved it but then you decided not to go ahead with it – that application is recorded regardless of you actually using it.

If they see too many applications for credit, that can tell a potential lender that you have been desperate at times and possibly a high risk.

Many credit accounts

Having too many credit accounts can be seen as someone in financial trouble or desperation.

Default History

If you have ever defaulted on a credit card payment, mortgage, debts, bills etc – this will be used to ascertain your credit score.

Any default is generally held on record for a period of 12 months.

Credit Shopping Pattern

Your report also looks at the number of lenders you may have requested credit from as well as the frequency.

Other factors affecting your score

Your credit score might also factor in personal factors as well such as your age, the length of time you have spent with an employer and also how often you have moved home.

If you are a business, the report will consider the location of your business as well as any other information that indicates credit patterns, commercially.

A long held credit record will have a different risk assessment than a ‘younger’ record.

How can I improve my score?

  • Don’t apply for credit you can do without
  • If you do apply for credit ensure that the lender is reputable and credible
  • Pay all your bills on time, all the time
  • If you happen to default on a bill/payment etc repay it as quickly as possible
  • Avoid (where possible) job jumping and moving house too often
  • If you have several credit accounts, consider consolidating and having everything on the one credit card.

To get a free credit check, click here.

financial workshop for women

how to reduce debt

Debt can be a spiral that can be hard to get  control of.  As soon as you stop and see it for what it is: something that needs to stop and be sorted out, you are on the right track already.

We share 10 ways you can start reducing your debt today:

  1. Cut the cord!
    Reconsider whether you need a home phone. If everyone has a mobile phone, perhaps it’s time to cut the cord
  2. Reconsider your Pay TV cost
    There are now more options, including some much less expensive ones including Netflix, Stan and Quickflix.
  3. Secondhand
    Consider buying used items. There can be great bargains on toys, sporting goods, clothing and lots of household goods. Check out Gumtree, garage sales and second-hand clothing shops.
  4. Insurance
    Shop around before you renew your car, home, or contents policy.
  5. Share with Friends
    Find ways to pool your resources, by sharing babysitting duties or airport drop-offs or long drives.
  6. Coffee (sorry!) 
    Learn to make your coffee at home. While it’s not quite the same, it can be pretty good and the savings every day will add up.
  7. Matinees and Early Dinners
    Look for discounted tickets for afternoon performances or or dinner deals at earlier seating times. Weeknights can also be bargains compared to weekends.
  8. Give Homemade Gifts
    Plan ahead and give something you’ve made. Many people love a homemade cake or other treats and it’s a great way to cut the impulse spending.
  9. Buy in Bulk
    Join a warehouse store, or watch for the specials and stock up.
  10. And Most Importantly: Establish a Budget.
    Set goals at the beginning of the month and track what you spend. This is the best way possible to highlight where you should focus your savings efforts.

financial workshop for women

pyschological tips saving money

Spending is a part of life but not all those purchases are necessities or even really wanted and thus can represent a huge waste of money that could be better placed elsewhere.

Spending can be emotional, addictive and a way of giving ourselves a lift when we’re having a bad day/week/month.  The thing is, like having one glass of wine too many, there is usually a hangover in the form of financial pain and regret further down the track.

Here are some clever psychological tips to train your brain to save money rather than spending it:

1. Track your Spending.

Tracking your spending is so not endorphin making.  Knowing that you are going to have to stare at a rather spontaneous transaction of that pink porcelain rabbit that you just had to have really takes the jazz out of that spontaneous moment of carefree spending.  Tracking your spending makes the decision to purchase something a more rational decision in your mind, thus removing that addictive buzz we get when we randomly spend without a care in the world.

2. Pay with Cash

Having a full hand of credit cards makes it oh-so-easy and pain-free for all those shopping sprees.  Take cash instead and feel the pain of handing over those hard earned bills.  Not so fun and much harder.  Try it!

3. Tune into your Vision

Saving money can actually be way more fun than spending.  I’m not even kidding.

To really feel the joy though you need to have something tangible and awesome to save for: a beautiful holiday, a home, a new car, peace of mind knowing your money is working hard for you somewhere, a year off work to travel etc.  Something you really need, desire, dream of….

Once you set your goal and have something to aim for, you will feel great refraining from those random weekend purchases knowing that you are working towards something exciting and fabulous.

4. “But I can’t Save…”

It can feel like an uphill battle trying to save…you make a start and then BAM the car needs a massive repair and it’s all gone.  What a buzz kill.  A few times of this happening and you just give up the savings ghost.   We get it.

But you can save. You can! And what’s more, even save for those unexpected expenses.

Start with baby steps: save just a small amount each week to get you in the right frame of mind – just $10 a week.    Can’t do $10, save $5…etc but whatever it is, save it, and see how much you have at the end of the year.

5.  Wait. Chill.

Seen a pair of shoes you love but they’re going to cost $500?  Me neither but you get the idea.  For those large ‘naughty’ purchases – chill.  Walk away.  Give it 24 hours.  Have a really good think about it.

Can that $500 be better utilised?  Are you saving for something fabulous that that money could go towards?  Can you buy something for a fifth of the price that would do the job?  Can you get the same shoes on eBay, cheaper? Or, do you feel it is a justifiable expense?

Be rational.  Often, walking away and really thinking it through can help you tune into some good old fashioned common sense and inner wisdom.    There is nothing worse than a stomach full of regret, an empty bank account and an expensive pair of shoes you might get to wear but once a year.

6. Set Your Budget

Before the month starts, take a look at your money coming in and money going out.  Budget, and stick to it.  When the next month comes around, review the challenges of the past month and work in ways to overcome them.

Don’t lose hope when things didn’t go according to plan – generally they won’t.  But don’t despair.  Go gently with yourself.  Start again.  Wherever you can, navigate back to a budget plan for your money every month.  You will get there.

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ABOUT THE PROGRAM

“Each time a woman changes, she inspires another woman to change...”

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Each time a woman completes the 10TG 6 Step Money Makeover, $10 is contributed to providing a microplan to a woman living in extreme poverty to start a business.

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MICROFINANCE

<p>Microfinance is the provision of financial services such as loans, savings, insurance and training to people living in poverty. It is one of the great success stories in the developing world in the last 30 years and is widely recognised as a just and sustainable solution in alleviating global poverty.</p><p><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/b5XIZD8kxWE" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p>

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10thousandgirl programs are generously subsidised by corporate sponsorship, government funding and industry support.

A social enterprise supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals

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