With the New Year upon us, now is the perfect time to set some financial goals. Below are our top three tips to help you spend less, save more and manage your money better during 2019.

Review your budget – and ask for help if you need it
If you and your financial goals were miles apart over the past 12 months, set some time aside to review your budget. Budgeting is the best way to make sure you reach your targets and remain consistent with your spending. Start by creating an Excel spreadsheet or use an app to list all of your weekly, fortnightly or monthly expenses (aligned with when you receive your paycheck). Next, work out a savings goal – how much do you realistically want to save in 2019? Then subtract this amount from your net income. What you have left over is what you have available to spend. The next step is to go back through your budget and trim any extra expenses that you don’t need – coffees, takeaway, magazine subscriptions – and look for areas that you might be able to reduce. This could include your utility and phone bills and your entertainment budget.

Start saving for big-ticket items
So the washing machine has been making odd noises for months now. You know it’s on its last legs and will need replacing sooner or later, but you don’t have any spare money for it right now. The best thing to do is set a savings goal to enable you to afford these big-ticket items. The first step is to shop around – find out how much a new washing machine is going to cost - online searches are a great way to compare prices. Next, look at your new budget to work out how much money you can put towards the purchase after each pay. Pop this money into a separate account (online saver accounts work well here) or a money jar in a safe place. Physically and mentally separating this amount from your everyday spending will help you resist the temptation to use it. When you have enough for the item, go ahead and buy that washing machine. These same principles can apply for any kind of savings goal – a holiday, home renovations, further education, or a big event.

Digitise your receipts
Chances are you’ve got some unnecessary paperwork lying around the house, taking up valuable space. One way to reduce this – and help your finances too – is to go through and throw out all the receipts you no longer need. If there are receipts you think may come in handy, take a photo of them, save them on your phone and then email it to yourself. Create a receipts folder on your computer and keep all important receipts here. Go through and do the same thing with your purse, as no doubt that’s overflowing too. Better yet, do it straight after your purchase to avoid a backlog of receipts in the first place. Some stores will also ask if you would like your receipt emailed to you and it’s an offer worth taking up. Digitising your receipts also means that when you do want to return something, you’re not wasting time trying to find your printed proof of purchase.