10 Money Saving New Year's Resolutions

Forget a new gym membership – here’s a list of New Year’s Resolutions that will trim the fat from your finances and boost your savings for the new year.    

  1. Audit your personal spending

Yes, it’s a little scary and it may bring to light some bad habits you wanted to keep buried. However, a financial audit is the best way to identify your unnecessary expenses and key ways you can save hundreds of dollars this year.

All you need to do is go through your financial records (bank statements, credit card bills etc.) with a fine-tooth comb and look at the different areas your money is going to, and how you can reduce your spending.

  1. Create a budget

After you’ve finished your audit you should be able to see a bigger picture of which areas you want to give your money to and which you don’t. If you need a helping hand, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) website has a great budget template. 

  1. Pay off your debt

Take the weight of debt off your shoulders this year by using your new financial budget to help pay back your debt. If you have multiple sources of debt, such as a credit card debt and a mortgage, experts recommend paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first. 

  1. Improve your credit score

Your credit score cannot be improved overnight – so make it a long-term goal for your year. You can help to improve your credit score by ensuring there are no errors in your report, paying your bills on time, reducing your debt and the number of loan applications you make. 

  1. Cut up your credit card

Like many Aussies, if your credit card is causing the most damage to your finances through overspending and growing debt, it could be worth cutting up the plastic and starting fresh this year. 

  1. Call your bank and get a lower mortgage rate

Are your mortgage repayments killing your budget? A simple phone call to your lender could save you thousands over the life of your loan. There are dozens of home loan lenders who offer rates under 4 per cent, and most banks will offer new customers lower rates than you’re paying. 

Compare rates from your own lender and others, call your lender and request one of these lower rates. You might be shocked at how much they’re willing to reduce your interest rates by, and how much you’ll save. Customers who ask for these discounts often get them. 

  1. Live below your means

Having champagne taste on a beer budget won’t do much for your savings. Reduce unnecessary expenses by spending less than you earn. Your new budget should come in handy to help this process.  

  1. Invest in your retirement

One of the best New Year’s Resolutions you can make is to invest in your retirement. You can do this through salary sacrificing or by making non-concessional super contributions. 

According to ASIC, if you make less than $51,813 per year (before tax) and make after-tax super contributions, you are eligible for contributions from the government. “If you earn less than $36,813 the maximum co-contribution is $500 based on 50c from the government for every $1 you contribute.” 

  1. Kick brand loyalty to the curb

If you have a love of designer label handbags, or have had an account with the same bank since you were a child, it’s worth researching how your brand loyalty is impacting your budget. 

Make efforts to kick your brand loyalty to the curb this year, whether it’s through buying the cheaper (and still tasty) options in the grocery store or comparing more competitive banking options.

  1. Make your own lunches

RateCity research found that, on average, Aussies who buy their lunch every day were spending around $10 a day or $2,400 a year. Preparing your own lunches at home should cost you around $4 per meal – a saving of $6 a day or $1,400 every year.

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Learn more about bank accounts

Can debt collectors take money out of your bank account?

Many people find themselves struggling to cope with debt at one time or another. In these cases, a debt collector could contact you to demand payment for a debt, to explain the consequences of you failing to pay a debt, or to organise alternative payment arrangements.

If you’re contacted by a debt collector, you may be wondering what their rights are and whether they can take money out of your bank account.

Creditors cannot access money in your bank account unless a court order (also known as a ‘garnishee order’) is made to allow creditors to recover debt by taking money from your bank account or salary.

If this happens, the creditor can take money out of your bank account unless you pay the debt in full or make an alternative payment arrangement such as paying in instalments through the court.

How do you transfer money from PayPal to a bank account?

Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Click ‘Transfer Money’
  • Follow the instructions

The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

Opening a bank account for someone under 18

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

How do you set up a bank account online?

Once you’ve compared bank accounts and found the right one, the process of opening a bank account online is quite simple and can be done in around 10 minutes.

To set up a bank account online, you’ll need to prove your identity and provide an approved form of ID as well as your tax file number (TFN).

If you’re a new customer of the bank, you’ll need to verify your identity and potentially upload documents before you can complete your online application.

Once your ID has been verified and you’ve set up your bank account online, you should receive your bank cards in the mail along with your PIN and any other account details.

How can I close a Commonwealth Bank account?

You can close your Commonwealth Bank account at any branch, provided you have appropriate identification. You can also close your account over the phone, by calling 132 221, 24 hours a day.

Can foreigners open bank account in Australia?

If you’re migrating, studying or working in Australia, you’ll be pleased to know that you can open an Australian bank account. For the most part, opening a bank account in Australia is a simple process which starts by comparing the types of bank accounts foreigners can open in Australia.

Once you’ve found a bank account that suits your needs, you can start the application process.

When you apply for the account, you’ll need to provide proof of ID which may include your passport, overseas ID or credit card. You may also need to provide a copy of your visa and proof of address in Australia.

Depending on the bank and the type of account you choose, you may be able to apply for the account online or over the phone before you arrive in Australia.

How do I close my bank account online?

You can usually easily open a bank account online, but you often can’t close it online.

Many banks and credit unions will only let you close an account if you go into a branch or call them on the phone.

However, some banks will let you request to close the account via your internet banking. Check your financial provider’s website for details.

Just remember: If you still have funds in the bank account, transfer them to another account, or withdraw the cash. Also, if you have any payments like direct debits going in or out of the bank account, these will also stop when you close your account.

What do I need to open bank accounts online?

Opening a bank account online is a simple process and only takes between five to 10 minutes to complete. To get started you will need a computer or smartphone with internet access.

Information to have available when you’re ready to apply is:

  • Identification (such as driver’s licence, birth certificate, passport, proof-of-age card)
  • Tax file number
  • Residential address, email and a contact number

In some cases, you might be asked to provide employment details. If you’re not able to verify your identity online, most financial institutions let you provide this in the branch at a later date.

There are some types of bank account that you can apply for only in a branch. However, most bank accounts can be applied for conveniently online.

How do I overdraw my Commonwealth Bank account?

Overdrawing a bank account can happen by accident. It’s often hard to know what your balance is, particularly with direct debits, scheduled repayments and pending transactions competing for cash.

To avoid being stuck with a bank fee every time your account is overdrawn, you can apply for a personal overdraft. This will enable you to overdraw your account up to an approved amount.

A personal overdraft is connected to your CommBank Everyday Account, so you can enjoy easy access to extra funds once approved – anywhere from $100 up to $20,000.

Your overdraft funds can be accessed via your CommBank keycard or Debit MasterCard, or online through NetBank and the CommBank app.

To apply you can either call the Commonwealth Bank directly or visit your local branch.

How do you deposit change into your bank account?

One way to deposit change into your bank account is to visit a branch. Many lenders will also allow you to deposit your change through one of their ATMs.

Can you open a bank account at 16?

Yes, you can open a bank account at 16, or even younger. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.