Spend carefully

Plan your way out of a financial curveball

Life throws financial curve balls. If one comes your way, take a deep breath, then create a plan to navigate your way through.

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Pivot when the unexpected happens

Do you regularly use a budget? That’s great. But chances are that during tough times, you’re going to need to create an emergency version.

Whether it’s a personal crisis, a financial speed bump or global recession, getting through financial hardship requires careful planning. For some, crisis planning is all about stripping your budget down to just the essentials. For others, it’s more about prioritising where your dollars go.

Whatever circumstance you may be facing, your budget is likely made up of three components: expenses, savings and money left over. In dire times, there may be little or no left over cash, so focus in reducing expenses where you can.

For example:

  • Manage your debt – how’s that mortgage rate looking? Is it possible to move to a lower rate? Can you consolidate high interest rate debt into a loan with a lower rate?
  • Prioritise your wants and needs 
  • Look for ways to save – when did you last compare energy or phone providers?

Here’s some more savings hacks to help keep expenses low and those emergency funds steady and ready for tougher times.

How to rev up your money plan

Recycle, reduce, re-use

When hard times hit, find ways to get inventive with what you’ve got. Get digging into the back of the cupboard for new outfit combos, swap items with family and friends and try online buy, swap and sell sites to keep your wants alive at second-hand prices.

Get crafty

DIY is having a moment and it makes sense if your cash flow is low. From turning the recycling into toys for the kids, to baking bread and growing your own veggies, we could all use a bit more homemade in our lives. It can help keep our savings up and our expenses down.

Give yourself a goal

Restricting your spending may feel like you’re missing out. So make a habit of focusing on the future and the good that comes out of proactively sticking with your spending plan. 

Having a plan and a goal can make all the difference to your mood and motivation. Example goals include:

  • Maintaining good credit by keeping up debt repayments
  • Streamlining your budget so you can get back to having excess money
  • Regularly saving. 

Don’t look at this period as a setback, but as a chance to deepen your financial resilience.

Can I still save money?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question ‘how much should I have in savings?’. For some, you may need to spend all that’s coming in during a crisis. But experts agree that if you can keep saving, you should – even if it’s a small amount.

Even during challenging times, we can all use something to look forward to. So, if it feels good to plan for a summer holiday in the future, then get your dream board out. It’s OK to start putting a few dollars aside as soon as the cash flow allows. It’ll feel good to have a head start when your life feels more settled.

Steps to financial wellbeing

Our financial wellbeing programme can help. Try one step or two, or work through the programme's six steps in any order.

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Important information

This material is for information purposes only. Please talk to us if you need financial advice about your situation and goals or about our products and services. See our financial advice provider disclosure (PDF 39.9KB).

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