Saving money is difficult at the best of times but, thanks to the pandemic, the last year has proved especially tough.
And with Christmas having just delivered the annual gut-punch to our bank accounts, it's time we all got on top of our everyday expenses.
Keep scrolling for a handful of ways to stay on top of your finances in 2021.
If you struggle with habitual overspending (and remain stuck in a financial rut because of it), you'll also struggle to go cold turkey if you haven't put the right steps in place.
Many of the boundaries we create in our head (examples include: "I'll stop spending today" or "This will be my last splurge in a while") end up falling flat, simply because we haven't put them in writing.
If you allow a reasonable weekly budget for spending on yourself, you'll be surprised at how much less you'll struggle with simple budgeting tasks. Instead of saying, "I can afford this second coffee or takeaway lunch because I'll just spend less later in the week", you'll have a signifier of when you need to stop. Simple, but effective.
Back in the day, buying insurance or healthcare meant going with any large company, but in 2021, you have a lot more options.
If you're a woman trying to find an insurance policy — whether you're a student, a single mum, or a business professional — there's the option to shop around for a company that tailors its products to suit your lifestyle and needs.
Stella Insurance, for example, is a brand that prides itself on providing more than just car insurance. Both the brand and its products are designed with women in mind using research from their customers (women!) to tailor its policies to suit. That means benefits such as up to $2,000 for baby gear that is damaged in or stolen from your car, and up to $1,000 for certain personal belongings, like a handbag, that are stolen with your car or damaged in an accident.*
Beyond this, Stella has created a community (@stellainsurance) to educate, empower and support women across a range of areas, including financial savviness, to help change the status quo for women in Australia.
Not only does Stella work to find the best deal for you, it hopes to ensure that financial wisdom will be passed down to a new generation of women.
Ever had the realisation you've been overcharged for something for months, or even years, yet slipped up because you didn't keep on top of your bills? It's a situation that pretty much all of us can relate to.
Interestingly, many people avoid going through their bills for this exact reason, and would rather live in blissful ignorance (even as the financial pressure mounts).
Every time you see a bill or statement, go through it thoroughly and see what you're not using, and where you could cut back. Even when you're paying the lowest you can, start to explore other competitive companies. Think of it as you would when browsing the supermarket and analysing the value of sale items.
In a world of eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace, there's been no better (or easier) time to sell items that are no longer of use. And you probably have some hidden gems lying around that could earn you a big chunk of cash, but have just been too busy (or lazy) to sift through.
See what you, or others in your household, are holding onto that they aren't using anymore, and set aside a chunk of time to see how much they go for online. After all, one person's trash is another's treasure.
Meal-prepping not only saves time and energy during the work week, but can also save a tonne of money when done properly.
Everyone knows that it's the little costs that end up stacking on top of each other - and while bulk-buying might be costlier initially, it can end up taking a large chunk off your finances.
While a number of bulk grocery stores exist throughout Australia, the tip is to only spend on items you know you'll need, and not get enticed into good deals just for the sake of it (as we do every time we go to Costco). If you live off what you need and are prepared to endure the initial cost, the purchases will be worth it.
Brought to you by Stella. Car insurance by women, for women.
*Policy terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions apply. Any advice provided is general advice and does not take your personal circumstances into consideration. Please read the Stella product disclosure statement (PDS) available at https://www.stellainsurance.com.au/legal for the terms, conditions, and exclusions before purchasing this insurance. Stella Underwriting (ABN 72 633 811 319) is an Authorised Representative (AR 001282046) of Allstate Insurance Pty Ltd (ABN 82 073 267 053, AFSL 239010) which is acting under its own AFSL on behalf of the product issuer, QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239545).