Many people see the new year as an opportunity to make a fresh start. Fitness and finances are two areas that often feature on people’s New Year’s resolutions lists. If you want to take control of your finances in 2024, here are six smart money moves you can make that could help you save or make money.
1. Review your home loan
Chances are your home loan repayments will be one of your biggest regular expenses, so making sure you’re not paying any more than you have to is definitely a smart money move.
Take a look at what rate you’re paying on your home loan and check how it stacks up compared to other home loans on the market using Canstar’s mortgage comparison tool. If there are better rates on offer, it’s a good idea to talk to your lender first and ask if they can offer you a cheaper rate. This means you can avoid any of the costs associated with refinancing.
If you have no luck with your current lender, then you may consider making the switch to get a better deal.
Related article: Lowest Mortgage Rates in NZ
2. Shop around for better deals on your household bills
From various insurances and power to internet and mobile plans, there are a lot of regular bills that take a big chunk out of our bank accounts each month. You may be able to reduce the amount you’re spending on these bills each month by shopping around for better deals on all your regular expenses. It might seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it all at once. Pick one bill to look at each week, fortnight or even month.
It’s also worth doing a subscription audit. Make a list of all the subscriptions you are paying for whether that be streaming TV or music services, shopping rewards programs or a meal kit delivery service. Work out which ones you can do without and ditch them to save some cash.
3. Revisit your emergency fund
Having a stash of cash set aside for unexpected expenses means you don’t have to worry about how you’re going to pay for a new fridge if yours stops working or where you’ll find the cash to cover the cost of root canal.
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, then now is as good a time as any to start building one. If you do already have an emergency fund ask yourself whether it needs to be topped up.
→Related article: How to Build an Emergency Fund
4. Clear your ‘bad’ debt
Due to the cost of living crisis, many Kiwis have had to resort to using credit cards to cover their everyday expenses. If you’ve credit card debt that you can’t seem to get rid of, it’s a good idea to put a plan in place to clear it as quickly as possible.
When comparing balance transfer offers be sure to find out what the rate reverts to when the introductory period ends, and if you’ll be charged a balance transfer fee.
If you have multiple debts other options you may want to explore are the snowball or avalanche methods or consolidating your debt into a personal loan or your home loan. The snowball method involves paying off the smallest debts first, while the avalanche method focuses on the highest interest rate debts.
→Related article: How to Pay Off a Personal Loan Faster
5. Put your savings on autopilot
One of the simplest ways to grow your savings is to put them on autopilot. Once you have decided how much you want to save from each pay, arrange for that amount to be transferred automatically to a separate savings account. Automating the process means you don’t have to remember to do it yourself each time you’re paid, and you’ll be less tempted to spend it.
6. Give your KiwiSaver a health check
Your KiwiSaver is a very important asset, so it’s vital to give it a bit of attention. Some of the things you should be taking a closer look at include:
- How has your KiwiSaver fund performed over the long term and how do the returns compare to similar funds?
- How is your money being invested and does it still match your needs?
- If you can, it can be worth adding extra money to your KiwiSaver. It doesn’t have to be a large amount. You can contribute 3%, 4%, 6%, 8%, or 10% of your before-tax pay directly to KiwiSaver, or make a one-off contribution at any time.
Related article: KiwiSaver: Which Fund Type Is Right For You?
About the reviewer of this page
This report was reviewed by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.