Explained: How to manage your money with minimal effort

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Retirement should mean relaxing and relishing the prospect of days out in the garden, or heading off on holiday, or just enjoying the notion of no work.

It’s also a time when being financially responsible is paramount.

But who wants to spend valuable time worrying about paying bills and balancing the budget?

Luckily, these days, there are ways you can set yourself up to allow automation to take over.

Here are a few tips to manage your money with minimal effort.

Set up automated bill payments
Most banks and financial institutions have online payment systems, such as BPAY, that allow you to set up automatic bill payments.

All you have to do is select the recurring monthly bills and organise a monthly payment.

Because you’re doing it through your bank, it’s safe and secure, but if you’re worried about your accounts being vulnerable, ask your bank for a security token. This is a small device linked to your account that generates the random security codes you’ll need to enter each time you access online banking. Some banks even have an app for this purpose.

You’ll need a BPAY Biller Code, which you’ll find on the back of your bill, as well as your account number for each utility or service. Enter these and let your bank take care of the rest. You can call your bank and ask them for help setting it up, too.

Automatic savings
You can set up a direct deposit in the same way you set up automatic bill payments. Simply set a date after your payments come in and organise a transfer to your savings account. It’s a nice way to save without ‘missing’ the money. If it’s done for you, you’ll find it easier to adapt to not having that $100 a fortnight. But once you set it up, you can watch your savings grow without any effort.

Set up an automated budget
MoneySmart has a great budgeting tool that you can use once and set up a budget for the foreseeable future. Applications such as TrackMySPEND and Mint can link to your bank accounts and manage your money for you. They’ll also create monthly reports that categorise your spending and expenses, so you can finetune them to better suit your needs.

Bundle services
Bundling your services cuts account fees and often offers you a better deal on the service you package. For example, if you have your internet with Telstra, add your mobile phone bill, landline and television service and you’ll save money and time when it comes to payment.

Some banks, insurance and financial institutions also offer the same set up. You could bundle your car, life and health insurance with the same company and get discounts on all of them.

Consolidate your cards
Got multiple credit cards? You’re most likely paying separate fees for each of them. Sometimes it’s best to consolidate them and save on annual fees, as well as minimise the likelihood that you’ll miss repayment dates (unless you have set up automated payments!), and the time you need to manage multiple accounts.

Save on groceries
You may have a favourite brand of pasta sauce, but often, the private brand – or ‘store’ brand – is just as good and a lot cheaper. Maybe you have to add a bit of salt or an extra ingredient here or there to spice it up, but buying generic is a lazy way to save that will also spice up your bank account.

Join an online coupon site
Websites such as Scoopon and Deals.com.au are always putting out great deals on goods and services. Simply subscribe and watch out for the savings.

Buy in bulk
Speak to your neighbours, friends and family and see which of the same sort of food and products you all buy. Then head to Costco or Campbells, buy them in bulk, split your spoils and watch your savings grow.

Do you have any tips for ‘lazy’ money management? Why not share them with our members?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?

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40 Comments

Total Comments: 40
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    In the article it talks about “TrackMySPEND” and “Mint” being linked to our bank account. I thought it was supposed to be unsafe linking an app to a bank account which then needs the password of the bank account to be able to work??

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    Stock up on half price specials. Allocate set amounts to gifts, holidays, etc. Know how much each of your bills costs and allocate weekly amounts. Keep seeking better deals with insurances and internet etc.

  3. 0
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    There is no automated way to manage your money
    If you haven’t got common sense and know how to live within you means , no tool or gadget can help

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      olbaid – absolutely correct. I used to be a member of a Facebook page – was supposed to give tips and hints on how to manage on Centrelink and low income. But the only tips people were interested in was how to get on DSP and what other benefits/payments/bonus they could get. 9 times out of 10 it was due to people not managing their money – perhaps if they spent less on smokes, booze and tats, they could learn to manage their money.
      I was forced to live on Newstart for 5 months, in between having to leave a job (thus having some paid out annual leave) and going on the Aged Pension. I have always been frugal, but it wasn’t a drama and I still managed to save some. You can tell/teach/show people a hundred ways to manage and save, but if they haven’t got common sense and the desire to make it work, agree – NO tool, app or gadget will ever work.

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      There is another FB page about saving money where people buy bargains that they simply don’t need. I got kicked off because I dared ask them to leave some for someone instead of buying things they didn’t need. Got told they give them to charity and I laughed as it’s simply madness buying things you don’t need to give away to charity. That’s not saving money to me at all.

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      “Got told they give them to charity and I laughed as it’s simply madness buying things you don’t need to give away to charity.”

      It’s called “generosity”, but you wouldn’t know anything about that, would you OG.

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      I’d call it stupidity myself.

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      OG wouldn’t know what ”charity” meant, Knows-a-lot. Nor what it is to genuinely need it. Not surprised he’d call it ”stupidity”. Selfish people always think that way.

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      OnlyGenuineRainey – why do you feel the need to denigrate someone just because they have different perspective from you.
      I happen to think Old Geezer makes a lot of sense and appreciate his honesty

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      olbaid that is al you can expect of this ogr e, the person has a bee in his bonnet and will attempt to denigrate o.g regardless of what ever the topic of these columns are!

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      Read again, olbaid and heemskerk99. OG was the denigrator, calling generosity ”stupidity”. Maybe if you two weren’t so blinded by bigotry you would see the conversation for what it is – an attack by OG on someone who was suggesting charity was a virtue.

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      OnlyGenuineRainey – yes Old Geezer did say that and it is quite stupid to buy things to give to charity
      You are showing your bias against the views of others. Old Geezer may think it stupid to buy things on discount to give to charity and it is better to give cash or items that people actually need

      Please stop with your denigrating comments. It only makes you look bad

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    I track my spending, Buy discounted specials such as shampoo when they are cheaper than the normal price Do not have credit cards. Looked for better deal such as on health insurance .AS A result have a better policy and cheaper insurance which means being $6.00 a fortnight better Allocate money for different expenses per fortnight for lawnmowing entertainment Christmas and Transport. Bear in mind that when you set up automation that banks can change the amount you set so always read your email via the bank Do most of the above,

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    I know that for some people with chronic illnesses etc, the pension cannot be enough to manage on but for the vast majority of people (especially couples) it is enough. admitted there are a lot of things you have to do without. The way I look at our pension is simple. Don’t spend more than we get and we can’t go too far wrong.

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      Ken, i would love to know HOW you make do with the pension? Do you live ipyn a shoe bo or under a rock?
      I’m earning good money working & live from pay to pay (still have a mortgage) & keeping cars on the road (rego/insurance, breakdowns, parts wearing, etc) & house maintenance & household items wearing out etc keep me poor! I cut everything i can to the bone to try to save, but no sooner i get $500 in the bank & boom-car needs $1000 worth of repairs/breaks down or needs new tyres. Or a lawn mower or such needs fixing (can’t afford new one). Not to mention the household bills (which are cheaper than most people i know)
      I believe i do not live extravagantly by any means, hair cut once every months (do my own $8 hair colour), groc shop fortnightly &rarely take a holiday (& if i do it’s cheap-arse budget one), do not smoke or drink & def don’t gamble. Do seem to be buying the odd birthday gift or going out for friends/family birthdays & this adds up over the course of a year i guess but seem to do without a lot compared to most people i know!
      Looking forward to retirement in 3 or 4yrs time as struggling (mentally & physically), but honestly have no idea how I’m gonna get by on Newstart/minimal super as I’m 10yrs away from OAP (if they don’t move the goal posts again!

      Any tips would be welcomed!

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      Apologies for the errors, damn phone! Can’t edit here after posting!
      *Do you live in a *shoe box?

      *Hair cuts 6 monthly i meant

  6. 0
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    Most of this is good advice!

  7. 0
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    Any thing 1/2 price I buy two, check Coles every Wednesday you soon stock up

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      Better yet, shop at Aldi.

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      Just buy half as much as you need and then you wont throw half it out in the bin.

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      I am old fashioned and prefer to shop with cash. Pull out a certain amount each fortnight and invariably I have money left over. I have been putting half of what I save into a jar and kept the other half for when something comes on special and I want to stock up. Last year I ended up with quite a sizeable amount from my h/k money due to the fact that I was buying when things came on special at half price.

      Just use, as someone else said, your commonsense and dont’t buy unnecessaryt stuff just because it is on special. Toilet paper, detergents etc are all good things to stock up on as they have no used by date.

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      OG you may be stupid enough to have to throw away items but we buy plenty of half price groceries as long as they have long use by dates – we never throw away grocery items.

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      I don’t throw anything away either but I do eat less so it not only saves me money but my waistline as well.

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    I am lucky to live near the 3 super markets, Coles, Woolies and Aldi. So I check the catalogues every week and pick what I like and but more than what I need if half price. Aldi is always the same and sometimes you are lucky to find what you liked last week still around this week. IGA is not too far away either but I would have to use transport. Always have spare money to use in my favorite water holes.

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      The catalogues do not contain all the specials. Go online and check them out. There are hundreds more.

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      I have all four supermarkets within walking distance of each other in town too. Usually only use Woolies and Aldi unless there is something cheap at the other two.

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      OG – tonic water half price this week at Coles did it for me. Schweppes is my favorite in my gin. You are lucky to have all 4 supers within walking distance, does save you quite a bit.

  9. 0
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    A big secret to saving is doing it first automatically. Surprising how there is never any left at the end but if you save it first you don’t miss it after a while. Much easier to tell the kids no sorry no money left too.Or to avoid splurging the money you could save to make life easier later on or afford that trip of a lifetime, mortgage pay off or any bucket list ideas.

  10. 0
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    It is just about cheaper to eat prawns than steak.


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