Renovating can help your budget

Whilst we continually hear that the property market is big business across Australia, would it surprise you to know how many people are getting stuck into renovating?

One in four Aussies are planning to renovate their home in the next year according to a new survey by ServiceSeeking.com.au. That’s a lot of plumbers, painters and carpenters needed across Australia so it’s a great sign for the buoyant renovation trade sector.

And more than half of all homeowners (54 per cent) have renovated in the past.  So are we really are a nation in love with the idea of renovating, or are we taking a more cost effective approach to improving the space in which we live?

With a plethora of renovation television programs such as House Rules, The Block and Selling Houses Australia, more homeowners are inspired to take the plunge in redesigning and improving their own homes. And let’s face it – that has to be more affordable than buying bigger and better than what you already have.

“Renovating is big business at the moment. Homeowners love to update, experiment and change their surroundings so there is always plenty of work around for tradies,” says ServiceSeeking.com.au CEO Jeremy Levitt.

He also said, “…the rewards will be in not only the satisfaction a newly renovated space brings, but in the (possible) monetary rewards should they be renovating to sell.”

Whether it’s one room or a whole house renovation, there are many considerations to make before donning the tool belt or placing a job listing for a carpenter. For help with where to start, see: www.serviceseeking.com.au/blog/

Statistics are from a recent survey of nearly 800 ServiceSeeking.com.au customers. (September 2016)

Whether you decide to do it yourself or get some professional help, don’t forget to budget for your renovation before you start. Always make sure that you have allowed a little extra for hiccups along the way.

 

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

 

The value of getting help

Scott and Annalise are just like most people they know – married, in their mid-30s’, with a young family who are all at primary school. They both have great jobs and enjoy a full and active social life as well as holiday weekends every month. A holiday weekend consists of a short stay on the coast or in the mountains.

Their combined income is $150,000 and the only debt that they consider to be large is their mortgage. They also have a car loan which they say is “nothing to worry about”. With no savings in the bank, they haven’t even started to consider putting some money away for the future yet.

Like many people – every week, the first thing they do with their income is to pay the mortgage and make a car loan payment.  After that; whatever bills that are hanging on the fridge are paid and then they spend the rest. ‘The rest’ is food, fuel, entertainment and whatever else they want.

If you asked them, Scott and Annalise would say they are living the dream. They have everything they want and can afford to participate in what they know others would see as an enviable lifestyle.

Within a year or two, their children will be ready for high school. Scott and Annalise would like them to attend a private school that is not too far away from their home. They think the school fees are manageable, but they’re not sure what impact it will make on their lifestyle.

They decided to book an appointment with a Budget Bitch consultant to ensure they could afford their education choice without too many sacrifices. They also wanted to set up a plan to put some money aside as savings. They had no idea how to do this, and could see the value of getting help from somebody who was impartial about the way they spent their money.

If you are in a similar position and would like to improve your financial future, please give me a call.

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Another type of saving

One of the best parts of this time of year is the start of ‘daylight saving’.

Being a nation where we have so much daylight it makes sense to make the most of it.

Let’s face it – there are so many advantages. You can do more of the things you love after work and on the weekends because of the extra daylight; you can spend more daylight time with family and friends. And have you ever noticed how most people seem happier because of all this?

But isn’t it funny that while we love this sort of saving – we’re not so keen when it comes to other types of saving?

What if we exchanged the word daylight for ‘money’? Go on – re–read the last few sentences but put the word money in where you see the word daylight.

Did you see it? The benefits are the same!

So why don’t we embrace the habit of saving money with the same spirit that we approach daylight saving? Who knows – we just might love it also.

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

It’s all in the planning

With all the ‘finance’ information that has come across my desk this year there are two things that have stood out thus far –

  • Australians who are unprepared for retirement, risk a significant change in their lifestyle
  • As life expectancy increases and the population ages, planning for retirement continues to be ignored

These issues will become quite significant for many people in the very near future.

Because life expectancy is now over 80 for both men and women, the way people plan for their retirement needs to change. This is even more critical as the first wave of Baby Boomers is aged between 50 and 69 years old and many are starting to think about retiring from the workforce.

Obviously financial security is a key factor in making decisions about when to retire. For many people it’s important to be able to maintain the same lifestyle that they have become accustomed to before retirement.

Because interest rates are so low, it is now quite difficult to live from savings alone. That is of course, if you have a considerable amount of money put aside which can be invested to create a steady stream of income.

Some Australians have sought to invest in bricks & mortar via residential property to fund their future.  If you’re retired and own the property outright, this can help to provide a monthly income, tax breaks and perhaps some potential for capital gains.

You can also find information about how commercial real estate is becoming accessible as an investment through unlisted property funds.  And of course, there is information available about shares and the stock market and various other income making schemes.

When you are no longer in the workforce and receiving a regular pay-packet, you will need some form of regular income.

Regardless of all the information that you hear and read about, the one thing that won’t change into the future is the need to adjust your lifestyle to suit the retirement income that you have. And the first way to do this is by careful consideration of how you will spend your money.

Today, you can easily address those two retirement concerns that I mentioned earlier –

  • A simple household budget now (before you retire) can put some money into a savings account. That will help in the future.
  • And for those who have already retired? A simple household budget will help take the ‘struggle’ out of meeting basic expenses and managing your money on a daily basis.

Regardless of how much money you have now and or will have into the future – the easiest financial plan is a budget.

But you knew I would say that, didn’t you!

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

 

Christmas is coming

Christmas is Coming

How many times do you think you’ll hear that between now and December?

Well whether we like it or not, Christmas is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to start planning and get ready.

No matter whether you have a whopping big family get-together or just a small one, it’s wise to do some pre-planning for the big day (or days if it extends into Boxing Day).

Prepare a menu and if your whole family is coming – split it into manageable bits to share the workload around. If everyone helps, it’s going to be a whole lot easier; particularly on your wallet. Start stocking up now and look out for those specials at the supermarket, liquor shop or wherever. There are heaps of opportunities now to buy the things you need, at the price you want.

When it comes to gifts – start with a list of everybody that you have to buy for and then keep it handy every time you go shopping. Look out for bargains, cross them off the list and put them away for Christmas. It makes heaps of sense to do this gradually now rather than running around like a head-less chook a few days before Christmas.

It’s even better if you can spread the shopping over the next 2 months– that way you can pay for it more easily rather than leaving it to the last minute. Nobody likes getting that terrible credit card bill in January; it certainly takes the gloss off a wonderful event.

So get on your skates, get your list out and go for it. 

And by the way – it’s less than 90 days to Christmas.

 

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

You can come out now

Have I told you how much I dislike the winter? I hate the cold and I can’t always get warm enough. My joints ache, and I often feel sleepy.

Did you know that your finances can also suffer a bit during winter? Many times during the cold months I hear complaints about “being broke” and “finding it hard to pay the bills”.

When it’s cold and there’s not much sun we can become a little depressed. And of course, the greatest used anti-depressant is shopping. Unfortunately it’s not the cheapest.

But now that it is the first day of September, we can say that spring is here. It’s time to pack away our winter blues and come out of hibernation. The best part of September is the end of the wintery weather.

As the temperature warms up, we can get ‘out and about’. Some of us will spend time getting our gardens back into shape. It’s the best time of year for getting things done.

Like our gardens, our budgets might need some attention. Sure, a bit of weeding and pruning might be required but with a little bit of extra care we can soon have them blossoming again.

Spring is here. The winter is over!

You can come out now and get things back where they should be.

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Employment stakes – who is more clever?

In 1988, Bob Hawke the then Prime Minister stated that Australia needed to become ‘the clever country’. That statement became part of the 1990 election campaign.

Since that time there’s been huge encouragement for kids to stay at school and then progress to university before commencing their chosen career.

So with an abundance of highly educated young people competing for salaried positions it’s no wonder that there appears to be a shortage of suitable positions for these ‘clever ‘people.

And because there is a continued growth of white-collar workers available, there now seems to be a diminishing list of tradespeople available.

What many people fail to realise is that many of these tradespeople are earning great incomes in industries where there is now little competition.

The ServiceSeeking  Tradie Rich List is a list of Australia’s richest tradesmen by hourly rates and location. In 2016, the entry mark into the Tradie Rich List was $68.58/hour

WA Plumbers make the most money, charging an average of $87.67 per hour with WA Electricians running a close second place, earning $87.33 per hour.

NSW Builders occupy third spot and are the biggest movers in 2016, earning $77.85 per hour, up 27.7% on last year.

NSW has the wealthiest builders, while QLD has the richest landscape gardeners.

Across all industries, the average tradesman earns $60.88 per hour.

“Like many industries it’s all about how complex the work is and where you work. Get a licence or learn a complex trade and you’ll be paid more.” said Jeremy Levitt, CEO of ServiceSeeking.com.au

These report figures are based on 52,000 quotes submitted through their website ServiceSeeking.com.au.

Tradie Rich List 2016

  • WA Plumbers make $87.67 per hour
  • WA Electricians earn $87.33 per hour
  • NSW Builders average $77.85 per hour
  • NSW Plumbers bring in $77.42 per hour
  • VIC Plumbers make $77.03 per hour
  • QLD Electricians earn $75.23 per hour
  • WA Builders make $71.52 per hour
  • QLD Landscapers make $70.57 per hour
  • VIC Electricians make $68.68 per hour
  • QLD Plumbers make $68.58 per hour

If that well-known saying – “work to live, don’t live to work” is true, then it’s important to be earning enough money to ensure that you can have a balanced life.

Having a working budget is a part of a well-balanced life, because it’s not the money that you earn that’s important; it’s what you do with it that counts.

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

How to remove at least one financial worry

In April 2016, I was sent some information that told me that Queensland has the highest number of “financial worriers” in the country.

According to the findings from the 2016 Money Survey, 49.8% of Queenslanders said they worry about their finances on a daily or weekly basis. By comparison, 42.9% of Australians said they worry about their finances regularly. 

The data showed that more than one third of Queenslanders are also “uncomfortable” with their current financial situation. Apart from job security, they all cited rising power costs to be their main anxiety.

These are interesting statistics. I’ve found that no matter where people live, or what jobs they have, there are not too many that don’t worry about the state of their finances. It seems that lots of people all over the country are most concerned with the fact that they have very little money put aside for a rainy day. They also have debt levels that they can’t seem to reduce significantly.

I’m always hearing that rising utility bills is one of the major financial worries. This is one area where you can alleviate the worry by simply setting up an easy-pay agreement with your utility company.

I would love to have a dollar for every time that somebody has said “why would I give them my money in advance, so that they can invest it and get richer”.

Have you ever heard of ‘user pays’? What that means is that you pay for the energy you use, as you use it. If you use electricity or gas for two weeks, then you pay for it. This is common sense. It’s the same as when you have used all the fuel in your car, you go to the service station and put fuel in. Then you pay for it. Simple – user pays.

I always feel a little smug when my electricity account arrives and I don’t have to pay.

There’s only one obvious reason for this and it’s not because the power company is being nice. It’s because every fortnight I pay $70 into that account. It equates to $5 per day.

Now, this $5 per day is not an imagined figure – it’s the real cost for the amount of electricity that I use every day. (actually it’s $4.87 but I’m not going to split hairs over 13 cents)

If you knew that it cost just $5 per day for the power that you’ve used, could you put that money aside?  Of course you could.  I can almost hear your response. But would you? Would you put that money aside every day/week/fortnight?

This would have to be the biggest way to remove bill-shock. If you set up an easy-pay system or put the money aside to cover your usage, then when your utility bill arrives there will be no nasty surprises.

There are 2 ways to calculate the daily or weekly cost of your electricity. You can work it out for yourself, or you can contact your supplier for the information.

Of course if you need any help in getting started; please don’t hesitate to call.

 

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

 

The 10 Hurdles of the Budget Race

  1. Doing an honest appraisal of your finances

  2. Admitting that things are not as good as they could be

  3. Making an appointment with somebody to get some help

  4. Setting a suitable budget

  5. Following the plan

  6. Cutting back on non-essential purchases

  7. Visiting the shops only once a week

  8. Setting up a savings account

  9. Resisting the urge to spend your savings on unnecessary items

  10. Having regular financial check-ups

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

Overcoming the budget hurdles

It’s August and if you hadn’t noticed –  Olympic Games fever is now upon us.

Many of us will spend hours watching the games – cheering or jeering, clapping or slapping. For most of us the closest we’ll ever get is by watching it on TV. We’ll never know the thrill of competing and winning an event of such magnitude.

We’ve decided to hold our own event – “Budget Hurdles”. If you’re not sure what this event entails, here’s the definition of the hurdles race from Wikipedia-

‘Ten hurdles are placed evenly spaced along a straight course of 110 meters. They are positioned so that they will fall over if bumped into by the runner. Fallen hurdles don’t count against runners, yet they have a significant pull-over weight which slows down the run.’

Sounds just like a budget, doesn’t it? But our course is longer than that – it goes for life.

There are many hurdles along the way, and there always seems to be something that might stop us from running the course of a budget, and being on track.

How many of us are aware that the hurdles we face will fall over if bumped against? How many of us get to a hurdle and just stop?

Beginning today, we challenge you to start this event. It may feel like it’s of Olympic proportions, but if you overcome all the hurdles you will definitely be a winner.

The money in your savings account will tell the story – Gold, Silver or Bronze. Only you can determine the outcome for certain!

 

 

©   Carmel McCartin – Budget Bitch

And don’t forget – (The views expressed in this blog are the personal opinions of the author. Don’t rely on them to make financial decisions; you have to make up your own mind. If you don’t like the content – then either stop reading or send me an email)

 

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