Luckily, there’s a simple way to make sure you are you doing everything you can to build your savings.
After years of working in the finance industry, expert Vanessa Stoykov says there are five simple questions that can save you thousands of dollars.
Five questions to ask yourself that will save you money
Is this the best deal I can get?
If you honestly don’t know the answer to this question, it’s time to shop around. “The first suspects are your health insurance, utilities, and super fund. It’s important to find out what fees you are paying, and ask the question,” says Vanessa.
How much can I invest in myself?
When it comes to your monthly budget, most people pay all of their bills and whatever is leftover becomes their monthly spend. “This is ineffective,” says Vanessa, “because we are putting ourselves LAST - and to get ahead, you need to put yourself first.”
“Some have a rule of 10 per cent of their earnings they put away before anything else gets paid,” she adds. “They key is to ask yourself - what are you worth and how can you invest in yourself more?”
Do I really need this now?
Before buying anything, determine if it’s something you need or want. If it isn’t a necessity and you don’t have the money, it might be a good idea to rethink your purchase.
"If you don’t have the cash to pay for it, and it’s not a burning, critical, must have item, really question whether you need it. Because putting things on credit is just increasing the burden on you to keep working just to pay it back," said Vanessa.
Can I get this cheaper buying online or in bulk?
Forward planning can save you money in the long run. "Too often we pay up for items because we do need them now," says Vanessa. "Google is the first port of call, and with online selling sites, and cheap bulk discount places like Aldi or Costco, thinking ahead, and shopping around can save you a lot. Even buying in bulk and storing it can really work to get down your day to day shopping bills."
What do I really want for my life?
A great way to motivate yourself to take control of your money is to have a goal.
"If you don’t have a goal, then all the questions in the world won’t motivate you," says Vanessa. "By spending some time thinking about what you really want your life to be like, not just next week or month, but next year, 5 years and 10 years, you can start making some strategic decisions about life."
"If you want to be a traveller, can you lower your overheads and save more, so you can go away regularly? If you want to save for a house, how can you figure out ways to live cheaply now, or can you move to where it’s more affordable?"
Having a long-term goal will change how you think and act financially short-term.
This article originally appeared on Better Homes and Gardens.