Put more in your pocket this financial year
MAKING money resolutions in the new financial year can set you on a path to saving thousands, experts say. So here is how to get on the financial front foot.
Home loan health check
A mortgage check-up each year helps keep your finances healthy in the long term, according to Mandeep Sodhi, CEO and Founder of online home loan marketplace HashChing.
"Recent research we did showed 68 per cent of Australians don't know their home loan interest rate," Mr Sodhi said, adding people often missed independent rate increases from their bank.
"People coming off an interest only period may pay 4.5 per cent, not realising there are rates available for less than 3.5 per cent," he said. "A 1 per cent interest rate change can save you over $3200 for the first year alone. That's a family holiday to Fiji."
Mr Sodhi said the first thing to do is threaten to leave your current lender if they don't give you a better deal. Next, consider the fees you pay and loan features you need.
"A $395 a year fee is $12,000 over a loan term," he said. "Consider what features you like and use. An offset account is a good feature, but the lowest rate loan may not have that option."
Finally, consider if your situation has changed or is likely to.
"You might want to invest, or your goals have changed in some other way but your loan doesn't allow you to do what you want," he said. "The lending market is highly competitive, so it's well worth asking for what you want."
Understanding spending habits can plug "money leaks", according to Gareth Gumbley, CEO and founder of finance app Frollo.
"A tap and go here, extra cash there can add up to thousands," Mr Gumbley said. "Track your spending, understand your financial goal and commit to it."
He said sharing the goal with someone made it easier to hold yourself accountable. The Frollo app sets users new savings challenges each month.
"To reach a big financial goal you need to take mini steps," he said. "Eating at home … or taking the bus instead of an Uber … you can save $10,000 a year by undertaking a number of small challenges."
Take control of tax now
Maximising your tax refund and using it positively is important, says Liz Russell, senior tax agent at Etax.com.au.
"People who rely on a tax refund to pay expenses like electricity or a car rego are working backwards instead of forwards," Ms Russell said. "You might have got a $1000 refund in previous years but that doesn't mean you'll get it next year."
She said making a plan at the beginning of a financial year can mean you don't have to use any refund to play catch-up on bills.
"Get your PAYG summary, get yourself a plan and at the end of the year you'll see the benefits," she said. "Use your refund to pay down debt that is not deductible, like a credit card or car loan, which has the highest interest attached to it.
"People need to take an interest in what's going on (with their finances). It doesn't get easier if you put your head in the sand. Go to the bank or go to your tax agent to get the help you need."