The Top 10 Budgeting Apps Used In Australia

Over the past few years ꟷ not surprisingly ꟷ electronic transactions have experienced significant growth as society has shifted away from cash.

As reported by the Reserve Bank, in the past decade the average number of electronic transactions made by Australians has surged from 300 to 650 per year . That means most Aussies are tapping away, on average, just under twice a day.

When you have multiple bank accounts, credit cards and Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes, keeping track of transactions can be challenging.

For Australians aiming to maintain a good credit score and adhere to a budget, tracking your spending habits becomes crucial.

A variety of budget and money management apps have emerged in recent years to meet the digital budgeting needs of people.

Here are the top 10 budgeting apps used in Australia

New Year’s Resolutions? Who are we kidding?

As the calendar flips to a new year, many of us embark on the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions. We enthusiastically declare our intentions to:

– lose weight
– try a new gym routine
– eat a different diet
– eat less, move more
– give up smoking, drinking, chocolate
– save more money
– earn more money/find a new job
– repay debt, or even
– revamp the budget.

Each year we set out with good intentions, but how long do these new resolutions last?

As the weeks pass, the initial fervour often dwindles, and by mid February many resolutions are abandoned.

Why does this happen and how can we break free from the cycle of failed resolutions?

So… Why do we think that THIS YEAR will be different?

Navigating the costs of buying and selling property in Australia

Investing in real estate can be a lucrative venture in Australia’s dynamic property market. However, it’s essential to understand the various costs associated with buying and selling property to make informed decisions and maximise your returns.

This range of costs can significantly impact your financial situation. It’s crucial to be aware of these expenses, plan accordingly and, if possible, seek professional advice to make informed decisions.

Whether you’re a first time buyer entering the market or a seasoned investor, understanding the intricacies of property costs is vital for a successful real estate journey. Keep in mind that property costs can vary widely depending on factors such as location, property type and market conditions. Therefore, conducting thorough research and budgeting appropriately is key to achieving your property goals.

Below we delve into the intricacies of these expenses and help you navigate the costs involved in the Australian property landscape.

8 Top Tips To Improve Your Finances

Do you ever find yourself dissatisfied with your current financial situation?

Have you ever stopped to contemplate how you can improve your financial well-being?

If thoughts like this cross your mind…

  • “Am I overspending on bills?”
  • “Why am I struggling to save enough?”
  • “How can I repay more debt?”
  • “Could I negotiate a better rate on my mortgage?”

then it’s time to take action.

Whether you have minor concerns or are facing significant financial challenges, addressing them sooner rather than later is always the best approach. And what better time to start than now?

Regardless of your current situation, most of us can make a fresh start and enhance our money management skills. It may seem daunting at first but breaking it down into manageable steps makes it more achievable and effective. Each task you tick off your financial to-do list is an accomplishment worth celebrating!

If you want to create better financial outcomes, consider taking these 8 actions:

Unlocking the secrets to a Stelar Credit Score

Your credit score is a crucial financial indicator that lenders use to assess your creditworthiness. A healthy credit score can open doors to better loan terms, lower interest rates and increased financial opportunities. To ensure your credit score remains in good shape, consider this checklist for a credit score health check.

1. Review your credit report
2. Pay bills on time
3. Manage credit card balances
4. Limit credit applications
5. Diversify your credit mix
6. Lengthen your credit history
7. Monitor your credit utilisation
8. Utilise credit monitoring services
9. Avoid collections and delinquencies
10. Seek professional guidance

Remember, a healthy credit score is a valuable asset that can positively impact your financial well-being.

Debt Snowballing vs Debt Avalanche

Debt can be a significant burden causing stress and hindering financial progress. Whether it’s credit card balances, student loans or other forms of debt, finding an effective strategy to eliminate it is crucial for achieving financial peace of mind.

One popular method is known as debt snowballing, another is known as the debt avalanche method. Below we will explore what these methods are, how they work and why they can be an effective approach to conquer your debts.

What is debt snowballing?

What is the debt avalanche method?

Are you ready to buy an investment property?

Buying an investment property can be a lucrative venture, however it is a significant decision that demands financial stability, knowledge of the market and a solid strategy.

Below we explore key indicators that can help you determine if you are ready to take the plunge into building your property portfolio.

1. Financial stability

2. Real estate market knowledge

3. Property strategy

4. Property research and due diligence

5. Pest inspections and building reports

How to use the equity in your home to purchase an investment property?

The great Aussie dream of repaying your mortgage and owning your home can sometimes feel like a lifetime away. While outright home ownership might be some time away it is worth acknowledging that each additional loan repayment builds equity in your home. Equity is the difference between the value of your property and the amount you still owe on your mortgage.

One of the most popular ways adopted by many homeowners to make progress financially is to purchase an investment property.

Did you know that you do not necessarily have to wait until you have repaid your home loan before you can start utilising your ‘available’ equity to purchase an investment property?

The good news is you can access the equity without having to sell your home!

How to obtain a Pre-Approval for next loan?

The process of obtaining a pre-approval is an essential step in the home buying journey.

A pre-approval is a conditional commitment from a lender that you qualify for a certain amount of financing, subject to certain conditions being met.

It’s important to understand the pre-approval process so you can prepare ahead of time and set realistic expectations.

Here are the steps to take when obtaining a pre-approval:

Your seven step checklist before fixing your interest rate.

Whenever there is movement with interest rates, mortgage holders start to consider fixing their home loan rate as an insurance policy against future rate rises.

While fixing your home loan rate may feel like the smart thing to do in a rising market, your decision should be based on strategy and forward planning as opposed to market speculation.

Why? Because although fixing may feel safe, it can also have negative consequences!

So how do you decide what’s right for you?  And what do you need to consider to ensure you make an informed decision?

A fixed rate home loan has the advantage of ‘set’ repayments for a predetermined period (ie the fixed term) which is an excellent strategy if you want certainty with your cash flow commitments. However, there are also disadvantages you need to be aware of before you make a fixed rate decision.

Your loan transition action plan

With two thirds of low rate fixed interest rate loans rolling into standard variable interest rates this year it would be wise to start preparing now. Here is your action plan to start preparing for higher home loan repayments when your fixed term ends.

Here is your action plan to start preparing for higher home loan repayments when your fixed term ends.

1.Take action on your loan

The first step to prepare for increased mortgage repayments is to be proactive about your loan WELL BEFORE your fixed term ends.

If you allow your loan to roll into your lender’s standard variable rate, you may not be offered the most competitive deal available. This is because:

Ditch the credit cards and increase your borrowing capacity

You may not realise that every credit card, store card or buy now/pay later account that you hold affects how much a lender will loan you when you are looking to purchase a home.

The impact of credit cards on your borrowing capacity For every $15,000 you have on a credit card, you reduce your borrowing capacity by approximately $75,000*. So if you have 3 credit cards with a total limit of $45,000, you are potentially reducing your borrowing capacity by $225,000

How to protect your loan serviceability 

All lenders have a formula for assessing your capacity to service a loan. Any loan. It is important to lenders that the loan can be repaid over a certain timeframe and that repayments can be ongoing and on a regular basis – especially in the event of a change in personal circumstances.

The criteria may seem similar between lenders, however each lender will look at your financial situation through their own eyes. Basically, your lender will consider all income (or combined incomes for joint applications), then remove your everyday household and other expenses (including those of any dependants), add in the loan repayment to see if you can repay.

Help! Our new home settles before our existing home.

What do we do now?

When our clients (let’s call them David and Trish) were contemplating selling their home, they started looking around at other homes on the market – to understand the market and get an indication of the type of properties available to them once they sold.

“We had planned to sell our home and find a new one during the settlement period. Our back up plan was to move in with Dave’s brother if we didn’t find our dream new home quickly,” Trish said. “But plans kind of changed, as plans tend to do.

“While we were looking (just checking out the market really) we found the most perfect home for us at a really great price. It even had an organic veggie garden, something I had always dreamed of.

12 Step guide to speed up your home loan deposit savings

It has been suggested it could take a person nine years to save for a deposit on a home in capital cities and just over seven years in regional areas1?

But what if there were small incremental actions you could take in your everyday life to speed up this process?

While some of these tips might be fairly basic, we sometimes forget to adopt good savings habits. But by being reminded of where we can save, you could speed up your home loan deposit savings.

Buying off the PLAN - For and Against

Buying off the plan is again becoming increasingly popular.

Are you thinking about paying a deposit now to buy a brand new off the plan apartment sometime in the future?

Before you sign on the dotted line, first consider the pros and cons.

Can YOU break the ‘pay to pay’ cycle?

According to mental health support organisation, Beyond Blue, financial worries impact our physical and mental wellbeing and potentially lead to further financial stress.

An alarming number of Australians are living from pay to pay. It could be you or someone close to you and they may desperately need help.

With this in mind, this article explains how poor money management leads to cashflow issues. We provide guidance and generic case studies on how you (or your adult children) may be able to break the ‘pay to pay’ cycle and take control of their finances.

Is the property market going to crash?

The biggest fear for property owners right now is that the market is going to crash.

Sure, buyer demand is falling across the country, but not in all states and not in all suburbs.

It would be easy to blame interest rate hikes for the reason buyer demand has slowed, however fear and panic about a property market crash, spurred on by the media, could also be a huge contributor.

How to prepare for your interest rate review

When preparing for an interest rate review a little planning and organisation goes a long way to speed up the process.

It may have been a few years since your last loan review so we understand it may be daunting and potentially time consuming.

Good interest rates don’t wait for anyone. So be organised and quick to connect with us to see how we can help with a finance option to suit your current needs.

The tide has turned - renting is now cheaper than 67% of Australian suburbs

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when deciding to purchase your first home and repay your own mortgage rather than continuing to rent and repaying someone else’s mortgage.

With the past few years of increased property values combined with rising interest rates, purchasing property has become less attractive for those wanting to enter the market.

How to plan for interest rate hikes!

If you have read our article on rising interest rates then you would already know that the national median home loan is just under $600k. With a 2% interest rate rise on a mortgage of that size you will need to find a whopping $659.11 per month on top of your existing mortgage repayments to cover this increase.

That’s $152.10 PER WEEK! After tax.

Improving your financial position with Interest-Only loans

Do you have a home loan and looking to invest in property?

Have you considered an Interest Only investment loan? You could then use the money that would otherwise be paying down the principal of the investment loan to pay down the principal on your home loan.

Here is an example of the financial impact of adopting this practice.

Be ahead of the game

79% of Australians save a portion of their net income1, equating to $8542 per household per month. That’s a whopping $10k per year. But, with a little thought and discipline, could you double that? Adopting one or more of these tips below could be the difference to your obtaining that slightly better home – or not!

We have all heard about how eating avocado on toast for breakfast can really smash your homeowner dreams.

But is there some truth to it, hiding amongst the feta and grilled tomatoes? We are not suggesting you give it up completely when there are latte sized strategies to supersize your savings.

9 Steps to successful property investment

Property has long been considered a popular pathway for Australians to achieve their long term financial goals. It has the potential to generate capital growth (an increase in the value of your asset) as well as rental income.

For many first time investors it can be a little overwhelming as to the actions required and determining what makes a good investment. With the formulation of a plan, research and gaining the necessary assistance, the journey can be made a reality.

Choose the right budget strategy for you

Do you wish you had more money? Do you have too many days to wait until pay day? You are not alone! In fact, many Australians run out of money 9.09 days after payday!1

Creating a personal budget may help stretch your money further and save you the worry that comes with living paycheque to paycheque, overspending and debt.

Besides spending less than you earn, there is no one single budgeting approach that works for everyone. So here are five ways to take back control of your money.

12 step guide to speed up your home loan deposit savings

It has been suggested it could take a person nine years to save for a deposit on a home in capital cities and just over seven years in regional areas1? But what if there were small incremental actions you could take in your everyday life to speed up this process?

While some of these tips might be fairly basic, we sometimes forget to adopt good savings habits. But by being reminded of where we can save, you could speed up your home loan deposit savings.

Buying off the the plan - for and against

Buying off the plan is again becoming increasingly popular. Are you thinking about paying a deposit now to buy a brand new off the plan apartment sometime in the future? Before you sign on the dotted line, first consider the pros and cons.

Upside and downside of buying versus renting

To buy or rent? It’s a dilemma many of us have faced at some point or another. Without advice or guidance, we might never dip our toes into the property market. But to help you make that decision, we have weighed up some of the pros and cons of buying versus renting

Is a fixed rate home loan right or you?

Choosing a fixed interest rate home loan does offer comfort and certainty over your loan repayments. But fixing your rate generally comes at the cost of less features and flexibility.

Here is what you need to know about the pros and cons before you fix your home loan.

Should you use an online lender for your home loan?

Convenience and speed are of the essence in our society and securing a mortgage is no exception.

The digital revolution has transformed the banking industry and convenient online-only mortgages are growing in pace in Australia. BUT…

Snagging a mortgage through an online lender or Neobank has its advantages – but it’s not for everyone.

If you are considering an online lender, ask yourself these questions first.

Are you in position to refinance?

Refinancing your home loan to take advantage of low interest rates could save you money, but before you do, let’s find out if you really are in a position to do so.

If you are on a fixed rate loan, you will most likely incur exit and break costs for an early exit on the fixed period. You will also need to check for application, settlement and valuation fees on the new loan. Be aware that lenders’ mortgage insurance costs may apply on the new loan if equity is less than 20%.

Tip: Calculate the interest savings in moving to a new loan and the cost of moving to ensure there is a financial benefit.

How the "best interest duty" can help you find the best home loan

The Best Interest Duty (BID) for mortgage brokers came into effect 1 January 2021.

The Best Interest Duty and related obligations ensure that you receive advice that meets your objectives, financial situation and needs, and that we act in your best interests when providing this advice1.

What does that really mean for you?

In short, it means that your mortgage broker (us!) must legally comply with the BID to ensure that you secure the best home loan product that is most appropriate for your situation.

How healthy are your finances?

Your 5 Step Financial Health Check

Many of us have faced financial challenges over the past year and as a result some may have asked themselves “how could I have better prepared for a financial emergency?”

Here are five easy steps to help take control of your finances and prepare for an emergency:

8 ways to finance your summer holidays

Do you want to take a summer holiday in your new motorhome or caravan or create your own backyard oasis but just can’t figure out how to pay for it?

There are many ways we can finance our dreams – some better than others. Some could end up costing you way more than you might realise.

Here are 8 common ways you can pay for your summer holiday, starting with the most obvious:

Buying or selling is a recession

Thanks to COVID-19, Australia’s economy has entered its first recession since 1991.

Of course, many people have struggled through these unprecedented times, but for others, buying or selling property in this recession may be more achievable than you think.

Here we list some of the potential advantages of buying or selling during this recession:

5 tips to crush bad debt

Chances are that at this time of the year – and particularly during a global pandemic – many of us may face the reality of paying bills, providing for our families and trying to make the most of the festive season.

Let us help you crush bad debt so you can enjoy the yuletide and avoid the Christmas debt hangover.

Keeping your credit score healthy

We have all heard of credit reporting, but have you heard of credit scoring?

Your comprehensive credit report is one of your most important financial assets. Safeguarding the integrity of this report is an important part of the finance application process as it contains information that will affect your ability to obtain credit or a loan.

Claiming interest on investment loans

What you need to know now

The abundance of flexible lending options and packages is good news for property investors by giving more Australians the opportunity to build wealth through property investment.

However, this flexibility can often cause complications with loan interest deductions.

To avoid being one of the 1,000 odd Australian taxpayers lumped with a hefty penalty each year, it’s important to understand the distinctions.

Parenting teenager during the coronavirus quarantine

If the idea of being locked up with your own offspring for more than 3 days is as terrifying to you as it is to me, then this article is for you.

None of us have ever lived through anything like this, so it goes without saying that for our teenagers this whole coronavirus experience is otherworldly new.

So here are some practical things you can do to help your teenager through this time.