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6 ways to work on your financial fitness this year

6 ways to work on your financial fitness this year

We all know the drill - new year, new start. Is one of your resolutions to get your finances in order?

Here are six practical things you can do to help you get the new year off to a good start.

1. Got multiple accounts? Consolidate.

Juggling multiple bank accounts works for some, not for others. Do you need them all? Take a look at how you actually use your transaction and savings accounts. You may find you’re paying monthly account fees on an account with hardly any cash in it. Some accounts, like our everyday bank account, can waive the monthly account fee if you deposit a prescribed minimum amount each month.

The same principle applies to your super funds. If you’ve moved from job-to-job you may have multiple super accounts. Consider* bringing your super together in one account – you may avoid paying multiple sets of fees and will only have to manage one account.

2. Superannuation looking lean? Contribute.

Set time aside to think about how much money you might need to retire. Then, dig out your most recent super statement and read it thoroughly. Pay close attention to your Super Guarantee (are you actually getting it?), the balance, how your money is being invested and the fees. 

If you think you might need more super to retire, consider increasing your personal super contributions. It might not be too late to beef up your retirement savings. 

3. Stung by late bill payment fees? Automate.

Chances are that if you’re losing track of bills and upcoming payments, you’re being charged the odd late fee.  It’s one habit you can easily break though, simply by getting your bills sent to you in one place and automating payments. 

Discover how you can see, keep track and pay your bills automatically in the CommBank app and NetBank. You can also automatically pay your credit card too. Having a handle on bills, like utilities and credit cards, can save you time, energy and money.

4. Paying for something you don’t use? Cancel.

Regularly paying for things, like gym membership, that you never use is probably one of your costlier habits. Take stock of your spending. Where is your money actually going? Look at creating a budget, then divert any extra cash automatically into a savings account with every pay.

5. Savings stagnating? Lock-in a higher interest rate. 

Talking of savings… if you have money set aside, take a close look at how your savings are working for you. Consider locking your money into a term deposit (out of temptation’s way). You may find you’re getting a higher interest rate that way. If you choose to do this, make sure you’ve also set aside enough in a rainy day or emergency fund. It’s important to have money you can get at quickly. 

Another well-known saving strategy is to split your post-tax monthly income using the “50-30-20” guide. Your income is distributed into 50% for needs, 30% for wants and 20% for savings.

6. Only think about tax in July? Explore more

This one usually gets overlooked until the end of the financial year, often when it’s too late to capitalise on. From private health care to salary sacrifice into your super to vehicle expenses for work, the

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) offers a list of deductions you can claim. It’s worth taking a look at these. Not taking advantage of these can be a missed opportunity.

Check out Interest & tax summary in NetBank before you file your tax return. It shows you a summary of the interest you've earned on accounts, and paid on loans.  

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It doesn’t have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. Taxation considerations are general and based on present taxation laws and may be subject to change. You should seek independent, professional tax advice before making any decision based on this information. Commonwealth Bank is also not a registered tax (financial) adviser under the Tax Agent Services Act 2009 and you should seek tax advice from a registered tax agent or a registered tax (financial) adviser if you intend to rely on this information to satisfy the liabilities or obligations or claim entitlements that arise, or could arise, under a taxation law.