Now that we’re basically halfway through 2022, it’s a perfect time to revise your budget and see if you’re on track with your financial goals. With all the pandemic-related tax credits, consumer price inflation, and looming expiration of the pause on student loan payments, it’s quite possible that your spending and expenses will shift in the second half of the year — so why not get ahead of it and fine-tune your budget now?
Check the progress of your financial goals
Aside from keeping your monthly expenses under control, a budget can help you track financial goals that span many months or years (like saving money for some holiday spending, or for retirement). By staying on top of these savings now, and balancing your budget as needed, you’ll be less likely to rely on high-interest credit card debt later.
Reassess your budget — especially your expenses
Start by listing all of your expenses. To be thorough, comb through your monthly credit card statements from the past year, and verify each expense. In doing so, you might uncover some recurring expense for, say, an app you barely use. Also, try to look ahead: Are there other expenses looming, like student loan payments? Are they accounted for in what is essentially a post-pandemic budget? Can you be saving on your existing bills by swapping or upgrading your plans?
A good place to start for the latter is by checking your current providers and comparing them to others in the market to make sure you’re not overpaying. We’ve partnered with a powerful comparison tool called eConnex to help make this process fast and easy. You can even use your most current electricity bill details to get an accurate comparison. Enter your postcode in the box below to get started.
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Check your credit reports
Your credit score determines whether you qualify for loans that charge favourable interest rates, but it’s based on credit reports that are often full of errors that can drag down your score. Plus, identity theft is a chronic problem, so you’ll want to make sure some scammer isn’t applying for loans in your name.
Review your investments
If you have investments like a super, you’ll want to confirm you’re still on track for your investment goals. Consider rebalancing your portfolio if it’s not being actively managed, and reassess your mix of assets — stocks, bonds, and cash — if your priorities have changed.
Lastly, adjust your budget
If you need to save more than expected for a financial goal, or if expenses have recently gone up, you’ll want to adjust your budget. In terms of priorities, financial planners commonly recommend topping up your emergency fund first, then paying down high-interest debt as much as you can. After that, you want to make sure your monthly budget is manageable by adjusting your spending and saving as needed.