Manage money with minimal effort

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?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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