Do you get the feeling that you’re just treading water financially?

Don’t think you’re alone.

In a February, an ME Bank household financial comfort report suggested that 25% of Australians have less than $1000 in available savings to draw upon in the event of emergency.

Here are some tips to help you get off the “money-go-round”.

With stagnant wages growth, rising housing and health costs and utility prices going through the roof, we seem to be spending more on essential household items and less on discretionary goods.

Savings continue to be under pressure and the fact is that many Australians will be underprepared in the event of an emergency.

So how can you possibly get ahead in such circumstances?

Do a budget
In my book, The One-Page Financial Plan, I made some suggestions that may help you.

The first and most important is the simple process of awareness through a budget.

By creating a budget, as mind-numbing as that can appear, it can literally change your life because you become more aware of what you’re spending your money on, and what your partner is spending on.

Get on the same page

It’s very difficult to maintain your budget if you have a partner, potentially a non-Money magazine reader, who isn’t on the same financial page as you.

I’ve seen figures indicating that around 60% of couples argue over money, so expressing yourself in a constructive and respectful manner can literally pay dividends. We spend so much time finding partners who share our values, and financial values are just as important when it comes to maintaining a comfortable and stress-free lifestyle.

Ask for a pay rise
Another simple money hack is to ask for a pay rise.

While many people in government jobs or regulated environments won’t have the freedom to do this, in private enterprise you can often turn on the charm and learn to express your value to your beloved employer with a little kicker if things go well.

A small pay rise or a series of progressive pay rises can allow you to forward-plan your financial life with some clarity and confidence.

Educate to elevate
Education can elevate you to different pay levels, provide career opportunities or even allow you to bridge your knowledge and start your own business.

Education has long been a catalyst to achieve a better life and millions of people have invested in themselves to elevate their opportunities through greater education.

Look for a new job
With low unemployment in Australia at the moment, there are always plenty of employers looking for good staff.

If your current boss won’t pay you well, then there’s a strong chance someone else will pay a premium for a good employee just like you!

Don’t get stuck in a rut and accept the same job conditions; do something about it and change your life at the same time. There are plenty of opportunities out there just waiting for you!

Invest in yourself
If you’re still struggling to see the trees through the forest, then hire a life coach or a financial planner to help you navigate the big issues.

An investment in yourself in the best investment you can ever make because it can pay a lifetime of dividends and give you the best returns. Never underestimate your value and potential.

Start your own business
While we’re told many businesses fail in their first few years, many go on to flourish and create a lifetime of wealth for their owners.

Many of my best and wealthiest clients are business owners who have created a flow of income from making the most of an opportunity in business. Sure, there are risks and I’d expect you to do your homework but the returns from successful small and medium businesses far exceed those of employees many times over.

Break the inertia
The money-go-round is not a nice place to be.

By taking action and pursuing an opportunity you can write your own financial and life story.

Don’t just accept the status quo or get caught in a state of inertia; there’s always something you can do to improve your situation and there are plenty of people to help you if you’re struggling to do it alone.

Good luck and grab the bull by the horns!


By Sam Henderson for Money Magazine