I just bagged up a bunch of old clothes to give away and damn does it feel good. I love a good Spring Clean, and I’d say the theme for my 2020 cleanout is ‘acceptance’.
Accepting I am over 40 years old, don’t need to wear crop tops, and can afford to shop at Seed instead of Supre. Amazing.
If you feel excited about the warmer weather, and emerging from whatever stage of lockdown you’ve been in (sorry Victoria), it’s the perfect time to do a spring clean your money situation. Here are some options to make you feel financially fresh!
Check your super to make sure it’s been paid
Just because your super payment is on your payslip, doesn’t mean it’s been sent to your super fund. That’s right, your employer can “put it aside” and then never actually pay it. Or pay it really late, so it’s not growing like an investment should. This is a big issue in Australia: it’s estimated that almost $6 billion has been withheld from workers in this way.
So, check your super statement online, or in that unopened envelope you put aside a while ago. If you get really excited you could do some other super-related tasks too, like reviewing your investment options and insurance levels. I love super so much I have a whole post on it here.
Get a better deal on your boring bills
If you have bills, you can probably do better with them. Health insurance, mobile phone, internet, electricity … there are plenty of providers you can walk away from at any point (if you’re not in a contract). So, you can either press them for a better deal or look around for alternatives. Kinda like dating, to be honest.
I know, it’s a bit of effort calling them up or doing online searches, so maybe just pick one or two areas at a time. Kinda boring, but the feeling of achievement is priceless!
Take advantage of lower interest rates
Interest rates have had downward slide this year. But do your current loan products reflect that?
Credit cards are a big drain, so now is the time to see if you can do better. It’s possible that you could get a lower rate or even a zero-interest balance transfer.
The key here is to transfer the balance, then stop putting new things on it. If you are struggling with debt, there are two steps to taking control: reduce the interest costs, then change your spending to pay it down. Doing the first step is better than doing nothing, but doing both is ideal.
If you have a mortgage, it’s time to drive a hard bargain. First port of call is asking your current lender for a better deal – seriously, they hate to see you leave, so will often give you a discount.
If you don’t get much joy there, then it’s time to speak to a mortgage broker. Of course you can use comparison websites and DIY, but brokers have a huge amount of choices at their fingertips and will help you with the paperwork if you need to refinance. It’s a bit of work refinancing a mortgage, but it can literally save you tens of thousands of dollars over time.
If you’re not sure how to find a broker, ask around. There’s a good chance someone you know has had a good experience. Good brokers can prove their worth by giving you helpful service and the right products; this means your friends and family probably know one they like.
There are nearly always costs you can cut when you put your mind to it. So get going while the sun is shining and you’re feeling motivated!