by Greg Medcraft, ASIC Chairman
In the ADF you’re used to tracking your movements and you understand the value of good intelligence reporting. Knowing what situation you’re in is an important part of making informed decisions. But how many of you apply the same discipline to your spending?
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, the average Australian household spends over $1,200 per week on goods and services. Yet how many of us really know where our money is going?
Our research shows many people fall into the habit of living pay to pay. That’s why ASIC has developed a new suite of tools to help Australians take control of their money.
Once you know exactly where your money is going, you can redirect it to where it matters most. We suspect many households end up leaking thousands of dollars each year because they’re not keeping track of their money.
Here are our top three tips for taking control of your spending:
1. TRACK your day-to-day spending by recording what you spend over a week or a fortnight using the TrackMySpend app from ASIC’s MoneySmart website. This new app is free and easy to use.
2. COMPARE money in and money out over a month. Put your income and expenses into the online budget planner at www.ADFconsumer.gov.au, or use the tear out planner in our new booklet Managing your Money, available from ASIC’s MoneySmart website.
3. PRIORITISE where you want your money to go. Identify your needs and wants, see where you can save by reducing or cutting out the things you can live without, and set some savings goals.
Once you’ve taken these simple steps, you can act to make your money work for you. Mark upcoming big bills in your calendar. Put your savings into an account that is not accessible by ATM. Check your budget once a year and adjust it if things change, for example if a family member’s income drops or you are deployed overseas and receive extra deployment allowance.
Keep in mind that tracking your spending is not all about making cuts – reward yourself with occasional treats so living on a budget doesn’t feel like a chore.
About the app
You can use the new TrackMySpend app to record your expenses on the go. It helps you set a realistic spending limit and stick to it. Your expenses are entered by category and you can view your spending history so you can easily see where you can save.
Our new free booklet called Managing Your Money has a step-by-step guide to budgeting and a tear out budget planner for those who prefer to use pen and paper. This booklet and other publications can be ordered for free on ASIC’s MoneySmart website.