With the excitement of a new paycheck comes the challenge of knowing how to spend or save it. For many, it’s easy to get swept up by “payphoria”, spending in simple pleasures like eating out or watching a movie, or indulging in greater expenses such as booking a trip or event. For others, it can be easy to miss on important bills, making payday a potentially more stressful, rather than exciting, occasion.
Building healthy money habits today could help you better organise your paychecks, ensuring all important expenses are covered, while setting aside enough money for your personal wants and goals.
Plan your budget before the paycheck arrives
To successfully manage your income, it pays to have a solid plan before the money comes around. Set yourself a sustainable budget that accounts for all your areas of spending – these including critical areas such as house bills, rent, debt, and groceries; as well as “nice-to-have” expenses such as weekend outings and the occasional shopping splurge. Doing so could provide you with a clear “roadmap” of your finances, ensuring you’re living within your means and saving enough for both your long and short-term financial goals.
If your earnings vary by the paycheck, you could alternatively plan for the least amount of income you could receive. This helps ensure that you’ll always have enough to meet important expenses, even on a tight budget.
Make sure your paycheck is accurate
Once your income rolls around, ensure you’re being paid the right amount. Inaccuracies could take place on occasion, with over 1 in 4 Australian workers reporting incorrect paychecks back in 2019, as found by payroll provider Ascender. It could thus be worth taking the time to briefly review your paycheck for any errors, raising these with your accounting department immediately when found. The longer you wait, the more difficult it may be to chase up inaccurate payments.
This practice could be especially critical among freelancers who juggle multiple streams of income at a time. Those working on a freelance basis could consider making a habit of matching each payment back to its invoice, which may help them stay on top of accounting and ensuring all paychecks are error-free.
Consider automating your bill payments
Automating your bill payments involves having your finances instantly sent to the appropriate billers come payday. This method makes use of electronic fund transfers (EFTs), in which money is sent to others’ accounts through an online system. You can typically do this through your bank’s mobile application or website.
Having automated bill payments could help streamline your financial management as it ensures that all important areas are paid off instantly. This could potentially help you save money as they’re effective for avoiding late payments – which may sometimes result in late fees or penalties (i.e. electrical bills, mobile plans, internet bills, etc.).
Additionally, automated bill payments could help relieve the stress of having to remember specific payment amounts and who (or where) they’re sent to. This way, you could maintain your financial budget for the long-term, as well as ensure continuous progress for your savings goals.
Track your expenses
As you carry out your financial plans, it helps to stay on top of where your money is headed. Consider regularly reviewing your expenses to ensure the appropriate payments are sent to the right recipients and that you aren’t spending beyond your set budget. This could also help you pinpoint any unexpected charges or unnecessary recurring payments, such as a membership you no longer use or a free subscription trial that has expired. Additionally, this practice could help you identify and protect yourself against fraudulent charges.
Setting up an automated payment system could help make expense tracking a more convenient task, as it executes all your necessary payments on a consistent schedule. Having knowledge of their exact payment date may make it easier to review your weekly or monthly spending.
Maintain an emergency savings fund
Alongside your regular expenses and savings goals, consider setting funds set aside for unexpected emergencies. It could be worth taking the time to pre-determine these situations, such as house equipment that may need repairing, a possible car breakdown, or medical expenses in the case of serious injuries. Having these possible circumstances in mind could help you figure out the amount you need to put towards your “emergency” savings.
Better yet, you could even consider setting up a dedicated account for such funds. Our Bonus Saver account, for example, may offer a convenient way to save up for these money buffers. Interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last day of the calendar month. You’ll earn a 0.05% p.a. base rate on all balances, plus if you make no withdrawals in any calendar month you'll receive an additional 3.00% p.a. on your savings.
To top this off, the service requires $0 account keeping fees and no minimum balance to set up – helping you start up that emergency fund as early as now.
A better way to save
The right financial management could ensure progress for your savings goals with each pay cycle.
Consider opening a dedicated savings account to manage and grow your funds, helping you meet your money goals earlier.
Get in touch with one of our experts today to discover the options best suited to your needs.
As the information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.
Before opening an account with us, you should read our Terms and Conditions for Savings Accounts and Payment Services and Financial Services Guide. Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305.
Rates as at 20 October 2022
1. Alex Brewster. 2019. “Aussies feel the pinch before payday”. https://www.savings.com.au/news/aussies-feel-the-pinch-before-payday
2. Ascender. 2019. “Getting Pay Right Still Going Wrong”. https://www.ascenderhcm.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Getting-Pay-Right-Still-Going-Wrong.pdf
3.Savings.com.au. “What are the pros and cons of automatic bill payments?” https://www.savings.com.au/credit-cards/pros-cons-automatic-bill-payments
Published November 2022