Simple ways you can be smarter with your money

Even when you’re in your 60s it can still be a hard ask to pay close enough attention to your finances.

Money buys you convenience, freedom, fun, experiences and all sorts of things that make life more comfortable, but it can also be lost, wasted or spent on ‘big ticket’ items that don’t necessarily have that level of value.

Where are you spending your money?

By paying closer attention to where and how you’re spending your money, you will have a better understanding of where your hard-earned dollars are going. If you find using your debit or credit card is easier than cash, be sure to track what that money is being spent on.

If you have a Seniors Card you should be asking for a discount everywhere you go.

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The value of making and sticking to a budget

Chances are you’ve all had a budget at some stage of your life, so making a budget and sticking to it in your 60s shouldn’t be a challenge. If you start by looking at your monthly income — whether that be your pension, through employment or your super funds — and add up all your recurring expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities etc., it will provide you with an idea of what compulsory commitments you have and how much money you have left over for things like entertainment.

Regularly tracking your expenses will allow you to track when you are overspending and encourage you to adjust your budget accordingly.

Give unnecessary bills the chop

Got a gym membership but haven’t been since 1999? Is your mobile phone or internet contract coming to an end? By looking at your expenses you can review and assess what you actually need and what you can remove. There are inexpensive ways to maintain your physical health, and you might be able to find a cheaper plan for your phone and/or internet.

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It pays to shop around, especially when it comes to your bills. They add up quickly, and you can probably find a cheaper deal.

Keep an eye out for sales

Some purchases are a must, but if you wait until there is a sale or you buy it ‘out of season’ there is also a good chance you’ll get it cheaper.

For regular purchases, like your groceries, pamphlets often show you the best prices. It can be frustrating to have to think about what you want before you buy it, but there are benefits to be gained.

Another way in which you can make savings to your weekly groceries is to visit your local farmers’/growers’ market for your fruit and vegetables, your local butcher for meat products and your baker for breads, which would mean you only buy those items left over from the supermarket.

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Take advantage of those rewards programs

If you have a separate wallet or purse for all those rewards and loyalty programs you’ve signed up to, it’s time to start taking advantage. Collecting points for doing your shopping or filling your car with petrol is often a handy way of getting cheaper travel (especially domestically).

If clothes or shoes are your thing, you might find the points you’ve earned shopping at a regular outlet add up to a significant discount.

Find out what rewards you are eligible for and determine which ones you will get the most amount of benefit from. If there are programs you aren’t using at all, it might be time to give them the flick.

Can you live without credit cards?

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If the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ consider this: credit cards have a habit of getting you to spend beyond your means and can have you blowing your budget. If you stick to debit or cash you’ll only ever spend money you have. However, if you do need your credit card for some purchases, consider paying it off as soon as you are able to avoid the interest charges.

Start saving now

Chances are you are saving for something — a holiday, a new car, even just a new pair of jeans. If you have a savings account, you might be able to set up a sub-account that will allow you to put a small amount each week into it, and if you don’t use that account for anything other than what you’re saving for it won’t take long for that money to add up.

You know being smarter with money isn’t rocket science, but simple savings tips will take the pressure off when you most need it.

What tips do you have for saving money? Are you already using the tips above?

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and for information purposes only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not financial product advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any financial decision you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from an independent licensed financial services professional.