7 steps to achieve your money goals in 2019

It’s not just your health and fitness you need to think about as the new year begins – you also need financial goals.

Financial counsellor Kristen Hartnett says by relieving the stress on your wallet, you’ll feel so good about yourself that the rest will follow.

Kristen, of Salvation Army’s Moneycare, shares her top tips for achieving your money goals in the next 12 months.

Go for a quick win

It’s important to start the year with a winning mindset, says Kristen, so choose a quick win that will be empowering.

“It might be changing your electricity or gas provider or finding a cheaper insurance option or contacting your current credit card provider and negotiating a lower interest rate,” she says.

“Even putting all of your gift vouchers together and buying something you really want or need before they expire. It’s going to give you motivation to do more.”

Express gratitude

It’s maybe not something you’d expect to see among tips to better financial health.

“But it’s really important to acknowledge what you already have in life before you get sorted with your money,” says Kristen.

“It might be just being appreciative of the fact you can read and write and that you’ll have a warm shower sometime today.

“Not everyone in the world is so lucky!”


Start planning your budget

It’s time to get down to business, create a budget and get off the treadmill of living from one pay packet to the next.

But while sorting out our priorities helps us plan better for big bills and save up for a holiday or expensive purchase, preparing a budget can be hard yakka.

“Break it down into achievable chunks,” Kristen advises.

“Use day one to get together your materials – payslips, bank statements, invoices and so on, for the past three months.

“The next day set yourself up on an online system like Moneysmart.com.au and input all of your income and expenses.

“On day three take a good look at everything you’ve got down and work out where you can make changes.”

Check your budget against your personal values

This is one area in which we often fall short, the money expert says.

“If, for example, you value downtime but haven’t allocated expenses for a cleaner to help at home or yoga sessions on the weekend, you’re not going to stick to your plan,” she says.

“Think about your values, priorities and goals and make sure your budget is in line with them.”


Get some systems in place

Now that you have set your budget, it’s time to put in some systems to do the heavy lifting.

“Things like setting up automatic transfers from each pay towards your car registration, insurance and repairs, and having a holiday savings account,” Kristen says.

“Knowing big bills are coming up can cause all sorts of stress whereas having your finances in order brings a feeling of calm.”

Change your language

Kristen says if there’s one thing being a financial counsellor has taught her, it’s the importance of “self-talk”.

“And by that I mean changing the voice inside your head from ‘I never know what’s in my bank account’ to ‘I don’t go shopping without knowing how much I have to spend’.

Or from ‘I never know what I’m going to bring home from the shops’ to ‘I only buy what’s on my shopping list’,” she says.

“Be the boss, be in charge and totally change your language, it’s a really powerful thing.”

Celebrate the wins

Finally, Kristen says, it’s important to reflect on the changes you’ve made, evaluate what’s working and what’s not, and celebrate the wins.

“Even by reading this article you’re acknowledging the desire to be more financially astute, so be kind to yourself and celebrate – every small change is a big win,” she says.

The National Debt Helpline offers free advice for those feeling overwhelmed with debt. Call 1800 007 007.

Written by Liz McGrath