Are you stressed about your finances now that you’re a new parent and living on one wage?  Here’s 10 steps to a brighter future for new parents.

1.  Be realistic.  Be honest about what you want to achieve and how long it will take to get there.  Getting in shape financially is a long term commitment.  Start by making the decision to adopt healthy financial habits now.

2.  Take control.  The key to having more money is to take control of what you already have.  Set aside some time to rview where you’re at.  Even if all that you accomplish is putting all your super statements together, bills to pay and receipts into different folders, you will have made a start.

3.  Do a cash check up.  Do you want to clear existing debt or save for a holiday?  You need to know how much money you have and how much you spend.  See yourself as a business.  What are your incomings, outgoings and liabilities?  Look back over the past years bank statements to see where your money has gone and where you might need to cut back.

4.   Set a budget.  Having a budget doesn’t mean you have to miss out.  The secret to a good budget is being realistic.  If you buy a coffee every day, cut back to every second day.  If you deprive yourself of all treats, you won’t stick to your budget and you’ll then end up binge spending.

5.  Balance your spending.  prioritise how you use your money depending on your situation.  Income pays the bills, mortgage and funds your retirement.  As your children grown, you can invest more in your future.  Structure your money to work for you now and adjust it as you life changes.

6.  Reassess your debt.  Facing up to mounting debt is the first step to ditching it forever.  If credit card debt is costing you thousands of dollars in interest, then you need to consolidate your cards to reduce the debt.  Cancel all but one credit card.  As you chip away at the balance, keep lowering your credit limit.  Take a look at what products other financial institutions have on offer.  If you find a lower rate, tell your bank and perhaps they might match it.

7.  Start a spending diary.  If your sums are telling you that you should have savings galore after paying your bills and other essentials but you’re still relying on that dreaded credit card, then it’s time to start writing down everything that you are spending.  Face the truth about where your money is going.

8.  Put savings first.  Do you pay your bills before anything else?  Stop!  If you’re not saving, you’ll never get anywhere.  Start saving a percentage of the household income.  Do this every single pay.  It’s amazing how quickly you get used to doing this.  And why shouldn’t you pay yourself first?  Shop around for a hight interest account, alot of online accounts offer bonus interst.  Ten percent of the household income should be put aside every single pay.

9.  Shop smart.  Lay by items whenever you can.  You can pay off the item interest free, so it’s a great way to budget for larger items.

10.  Plan ahead.

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