The past two years have been rough on everyone - mentally, physically and financially. While we’re not ones to make huge and unrealistic New Year’s resolutions that only result in feeling guilty when we inevitably fail, we are advocates for making small, sustainable changes to start the year on the right foot.
It’s time to take some simple steps to move towards a brighter financial future. BetterSaver is going to show you how you can overhaul your financial health for a better-than-ever year.
So get your sunglasses - the future is bright indeed.
Step 1: Let go of the guilt
This isn’t the time to have a guilt trip about what you spent your money on or what you “shoulda coulda woulda” done. The last couple years have been full-on - don’t beat yourself up for what you did to get through it. Some of us lost our jobs or experienced cuts to our income. Or maybe we spent money because, well, we didn’t have much else to do during a lockdown that seemed like it would never end.
The important thing is, we made it. There’s no point in dwelling on how much you spent on Ubereats that Thursday last August. You can’t change the past. And feeling guilty about it just stops you from moving on.
So free yourself of the guilt, and take charge of what happens from today forward. (If you’re having major anxiety, consider checking in with your GP or a mental health professional.)
Step 2: Embrace the B-word
Yep, we mean budget. You might think budgets are boring and restrictive, but we are here to tell you that it is the path to living your best life today.
A budget is just a plan. A plan that makes sure your bills are covered and tells you how much you can spend on whatever you want, guilt-free. Whatever makes you happy - take that yoga class, buy some art supplies, go out to eat. Having a plan makes sure you don’t blow $200 on shoes that should have gone toward expenses or savings. You worked hard to earn those dollars, so give them jobs to do that make your life better.
Liberate yourself from money stress by making a simple budget. Check out 5 Foolproof Budgeting Techniques for Absolutely Anyone to find a method that suits your lifestyle, and invest time in a little planning that will make a big difference.
Here’s a few more resources to help you get started:
- Love spreadsheets? Moneytalks has a simple Google sheet where you can plug in your figures.
- Walk through the steps with Sorted’s easy online budgeting calculator.
- Prefer to chat to someone? MoneyTalks is a free service where you can phone, text, chat online, or email with someone to get advice.
Step 3: Tweak your budget
The key to a budget that works is that it has to be realistic for you. Looking at your past spending will help you know how much to allocate in your new budget. You might think that moving forward you’ll cut your food spending in half, but is that actually feasible? Check the budget you’ve made against your previous spending and tweak it if need be.
Once you’ve figured out how much you’re spending, now is the time to look at how much you can save.
First up: plan for an emergency fund. It will keep you from sliding into debt if you suddenly can’t work or have car repairs or whatever. Knowing that you have a cushion to fall back on to deal with the unexpected relieves a huge amount of stress.
Start with a goal of $1000. By putting aside $20 a week, you’ll reach your goal in one year! Once you reach that, set your sights on saving enough to cover 3-6 months of expenses.
Then, you can move on to other goals. Want to try investing? Save for retirement? It’s up to you. Whatever will help you sleep easier at night because you know that you have a plan to get to where you want to be.
Step 4: Have a monthly budget date
You’re doing really well up to this point. But you need to keep the momentum going. You’re in for a long-term relationship and need to give it the attention it deserves.
Set up a calendar invite every month for a date with your budget. Use this time to make adjustments (maybe you can actually be saving more every week, or you need to budget for your partner’s birthday). Check the progress you’re making towards your goals. Watch your savings grow, your debts shrink, and pat yourself on the back.
Put on some music (try this financial wellbeing playlist). Maybe buy yourself some flowers. Your budget is all about you.
Step 5: Talk to a financial adviser
You’ve laid the financial groundwork with good old DIY - time to call in the experts. Take your finances to the next level by talking to a financial adviser.
A trusted financial adviser will take an unbiased look into your finances and give you expert advice tailored to your situation. They can make sure you’re covering all your bases, from investments to retirement funds. Money is often tied up with our emotions, and an objective viewpoint can make forming your money strategy that much easier.
Be a Better Saver in 2022
Our vision at BetterSaver is to transform Kiwi futures by providing accessible financial advice. With over 3 million New Zealanders enrolled in KiwiSaver, it’s the easiest place to impact the most people.
Your KiwiSaver fund can be used for a first home deposit and to ensure you have a financially secure retirement. Our team of KiwiSaver experts are here to make it easy for you to get into a fund that will enable you to achieve your long-term goals while investing in areas that match your values and ethics. Take 5 minutes to complete the Fund Finder quiz and switch your KiwiSaver fund today.