10 things you can do to improve your finances today

Presented by CommBank, the series draws on taking control of your future to help ensure you get the most out of your finances. Whatever your goal, take the first step and make today count. Find out more on CommBank and see how you can take the first step in accessing advice, super or insurance at commbank.com.au/maketodaycount.
Watch the latte factor. Photo: iStock

No matter how much you think you may have done to improve your financial wealth, there is always more that you can do. Every dollar saved is a dollar for you to invest. Whether you need to re-negotiate, earn more, or cut back, the following practical tips will help make the most of your money.

1. Check your insurance cover

If you notice your insurance premiums have changed over the last few years, then you should think about having a look into your cover. Review what you are covered for and the policy options that are available under your cover. They should keep your cover. You could be paying for insurance that you may not need anymore or some cover could be out of date. You can speak to your financial planner or insurer about your policy so they can look into it for you. Too often, we just let expenses like these ones slide, when all it takes is some investigation and time. It is worth the effort and the may save you money.

2. Audit your subscription payments

This is one that can easily go under the radar. Do you have any out-dated subscriptions or memberships that you no longer use? This also applies to apps that you have signed up for and forgotten about. While some of these only cost a few dollars, if you have several of them not in use, then it is better to have the money back in your pocket. This also applies to other regular expenses, such as your landline phone. Consider cancelling some of these types of expenses.

3. Watch the little things

The little things really add up. If you are prepared to put some time into planning such as making lunches instead of buying them; the savings over a year could run into the thousands. Small money pinchers such as coffee, drinks, snacks and treats each day quickly add up. Another worthy exercise is to write down and calculate how much you spend over a day. Better still, write up what you spend over the week and seek out areas where you can cut back. A lot of the time, people just fall into the habit of buying this and that, without realising the cost impact of these small items.

4. Talk to experts

Seek out specialists. If you are after professional help, speak to an financial planner and make sure they are an accredited financial planner who is authorised to provide advice under an Australia Financial Services licence.

5. Find the best rates

With over 200 types of credit cards on the market, don’t settle for cards that have high interest rates or fees without additional items that can benefit you.

6. Consider your grocery bill

Maybe you can use the home brand for some grocery items. Photo: iStock

As more supermarkets plug their own brands, it may well be worth paying for the generic products. Savings generated from buying supermarket brands can save hundreds of dollars, or maybe more, every year.

7. Think about new income streams

Maintaining an income is paramount to building wealth. Are there areas in your life where you can make or earn additional money? This applies to things such as renting out a room, garage or the very popular AirBnB. Or perhaps you have skills or expertise to teach or provide consultancy work?

8. Create a financial calendar

Expenses for various items like insurance, Christmas gifts, and household bills can be broadly predicted. Having a long-term view of your cash flow will help manage it better.

9. Review your investments

Are you making the most of your investments? Go through any cash investments and make sure you are getting the best interest return possible. Keep an eye on all other investments, such as managed funds and shares. One way to do this is to make a note or even diarise every few weeks to remind you to track your investments.

10. Get on top of that debt

Pay off any high interest debts first. If you are carrying any credit card debt or a personal loan with high interest rate payments, pay these off as soon as possible. It does not make any sense to have money saved in a saving accounts or low bearing interest account when you have a debt charging a high interest rate. This does not include ‘good’ debts such as mortgages that have payment plans and generally provide a good return.

Take the first step today to get your finances sorted. For more tips on advice super and insurance visit commbank.com.au/maketodaycount.

Things you should know: This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. You should consider seeking financial advice before making any decision based on this information. Advice and products may be provided by wholly owned but non-guaranteed subsidiaries of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124.

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