Are you happy with your finances? Most of us feel as though we could do better. Over the next two weeks we will deliver ten of the most reliable and proven financial habits that lead to success. Let’s start with five this week, all centered on being organised! So how organised are you with your finances?

1. Check your bank statements

Online banking is everywhere, so you have no excuse. Log on every day to check your account transactions. It should only take a few minutes but it’s a great way to start understanding where the money is going, and how you can possibly cut back.  Always be careful when banking online, especially on public computers  – for more info check our post about this – just click here.

2. Start using a budget

There are so many free budgets available online and you will be amazed at how most of the hard work is already done! All you need to do is fill in your expenses and income, and you will start to see where all your hard earned money is going. Seeing how much you spend on certain items is great way for you to start rethinking certain spending patterns. We will give you our top 5 online budget tools on a later post.

3. Pay your bills on time

This is even MORE important than ever! With the new Credit Reporting system coming into effect next month, you need to make sure you pay your bills on time or otherwise your credit report could get updated with a black mark to say you miss payments. This can ultimately affect your ability to borrow in the future, so pay your bills early or on time, and avoid costly penalties.

4. Start saving

It has to be done. No more excuses. Now that you have a budget and watch your account daily, you need to commit to putting something away each pay. It is a good idea to open a separate savings account, rather than keeping it in your transactional account. You can then see it grow (with no debits) and know that your transactional account is for bills and living expenses.

5. Use lists, lists, and more lists!

Get a notepad that you can carry everywhere. You need to make a list whenever you head to the shops to firmly cement in your mind that you are only at the shops to pick up the dry cleaning, not to do impulse clothes shopping! You need to shape your financial habits to be very aware of every cent that is spent!

Next week we will bring you five more good financial habits you should adopt, but until then, it’s time to take control of your finances! Try and commit to these five fantastic habits now, you will be amazed at how you will see your finances in a more positive way.

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WARNING - DO YOU REALLY NEED A LOAN TODAY?*

It can be expensive to borrow small amounts of money and borrowing may not solve your money problems.

Check your options before you borrow:
For more information about other options for managing bills and debts, ring 1800 007 007 from anywhere in Australia to talk to a free and independent financial counsellor.

Talk to your electricity, gas, phone or water provider to see if you can work out a payment plan.
If you are on government benefits, ask if you can receive an advance from Centrelink.
www.humanservices.gov.au/advancerepayments

The Australian Government’s MoneySmart Website shows you how small amount loans work and suggests other options that may help you.

* This statement is an Australian Government requirement under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.