Friday, October 12, 2012

3 Ways To Be More Financially Fit

A Guest Post from Jake Saunders..

As a parent, it always seems like there is an endless list of things to pay for: groceries, bills, school fees, and kids toys all add up and before you know it, you can end up in a bit of a financial pickle. However, there are ways to juggle your finances and keep everyone in the family happy.

You don't need to learn the ins and outs of dividend yields, investment banking, and stock broking to be more financially fit- all it takes is a bit of planning and you too can be (almost) as money savvy as Warren Buffet  Take a look at these three ways to manage your money in a family-friendly way and before you know it, you'll be able to save up for that new car or boat that you've always wanted.

Grab a bargain

Bargains are everywhere - you just need to know where to look. If you're planning a family meal over the weekend, don't spend copious amounts of money to keep everybody's tummy happy. Instead, plan a restaurant that works for your budget. Many restaurants offer "kids eat for free" deals or package deals on certain days, and if you visit during lunch then meals are often cheaper. For fun activities over the weekend, choose a free venue like the park or the art gallery (many of these offer events for kids over the weekend as well), or take advantage of websites like Groupon to pick up a deal for your family. Don't forget to check your local council's listing for events - many states have festivals running monthly, such as Sydney's Aroma Festival or Canberra's Floriade Nightfest.

Make home loans work for you

One of the biggest money-drainers is your home. Regardless of whether you're renting or buying, living costs eat a significant chunk from your income every week. However, there are opportunities to be smart with your money when it comes to property as well. If you are looking to buy your first home, remember that Australia has the First Home Owner's Grant, where the government will give you a grant to help offset the effect of GST on home ownership. The amount given depends on which state, so make sure to do your research for the state where you want to buy property. When it comes to your actual mortgage, choose a home loan with mixed floating and fixed repayments - this way, you can take advantage of low-interest periods but you still have the security of a fixed rate as well.

Find alternative avenues of income

While a full-time job definitely pays the bills, it's always nice to have a little extra cash to spend on your family or to save for the next trip overseas. Alternative avenues of income are a great way to earn some more money so you can have some stashed away for a rainy day. If you have a particular skill set, then try freelancing or finding some private clients. You can also keep your eye out for any odd jobs on Seek or Gumtree - many of these pay well and only require a short term commitment, which is perfect for anyone with a family.

Jake Saunders is a writer who is currently saving for a new car. To help his savings grow, he's taken up a casual job as a fruitpicker - it helps save money on the grocery bills as well! In partnership with Clime