Spring clean your finances

broom sweeping money

Replenish and revitalize your money

Nothing about money is set and forget. Whether your finances include a budget, savings, loans, insurance, super or more, it's a good idea to dust them off from time to time, and see if they need a freshen up. Here are our tips on how to rejuvenate your financial affairs this spring.

Freshen up your mortgage

Compare your home loan with other loans on the market to see if you can get a better deal.  Find out what your current interest rate is and which loan features you want to keep, such as an offset or redraw facility. 

Smart tip

If you switch to a cheaper loan, stick with your current repayments to save interest and pay off your loan sooner.

Approach your current lender and tell them you are considering switching your mortgage. They may offer you a better deal to keep your business. If not, use the mortgage switching calculator to see how much better off you could be switching loans.

Work out whether you will save money by switching to another loan.

Mortgage switching calculator

Put a spring into your savings

Check the return you are getting on your savings and see if there are other financial institutions offering better rates.

Also reconsider the type of savings product you have. For example, if you have a term deposit that's about to mature and you find an at-call savings account that pays higher interest, ask yourself whether a term deposit is the right account for you.

On the other hand, if your money is in an ordinary savings account but term deposits are paying higher interest, see if you can lock some savings away to get a better return on your money.

Your choice of investment needs to fit in with your investment goals but there's no harm in shopping around to get a better deal for your cash.

Reassess your home and contents insurance

We all buy items for our homes from time to time, like appliances, furniture, TVs and electronic equipment. How long since you estimated the cost of replacing the entire contents of your home? Is your current contents insurance enough to cover what you have?

If you are a homeowner, you should also re-evaluate the cost of rebuilding your home. This is especially important if you have completed any extensions or renovations since taking out your home insurance policy.

Whip your personal insurance into shape

If you couldn't work for a long period of time due to illness or injury, would you still be able to cover all of your living expenses? If not, income protection insurance may help. Check if you already have income protection cover through your super fund or another insurer and see if it is enough.

Pay increases

We all love to get a pay increase, but is your income protection insurance keeping up with your pay? Most income protection policies are based on a fixed income amount. Cover won't automatically increase when your pay does. If you want your income protection insurance to reflect your actual pay, contact your insurer to find out your options.

Blow the cobwebs off your super

You might not see super as 'your' money because you can't access it until you retire. But the reality is that it is very much your money and it's going to come in pretty handy when you retire.

To get to know your super better, find your latest super statement (it could be hiding in your email inbox or filing cabinet) and have a good hard look at it. Here are some things to check:

  • Multiple super accounts - If you have more than one super account, consolidating your accounts will save you fees and make it easier to keep track.
  • Investment options - Think about the best investment option for your stage of life when choosing your super investments. If retirement is more than 10 years away, a more aggressive investment strategy is likely to deliver higher returns. If you are closer to retirement, think about more conservative options to protect your capital.
  • Contributions - The sooner you start contributing extra to super, the less you'll have to give up each week to make a difference down the track. If you're a lower income earner, you may be entitled to a government co-contribution. Mid to higher income earners may be able to save tax.
  • Personal details - If you've moved house or changed your phone number or email address, your super fund may not know how to contact you. Keeping your personal details up to date will make sure your money doesn't end up in lost super.

Rejuvenate your budget

When you've spring cleaned the rest of your finances, it's a good idea to update your budget. Your income and expenses change over time, so having an updated budget will help you track what you're spending and calculate how much you can save towards your goals. Use the budget planner to start creating your budget.

Work out where you money is going and how to make it stretch further.

Budget planner

You work hard for your money, so make it work hard for you. Look for low interest rates on your mortgage and high interest rates for your savings. Keep on top of your insurances and know where your money's going so you stay in control.

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Last updated: 19 Dec 2018