The Australian government is urging constituents to learn how to budget. Unemployment is at a 12 year high; interest rates are charging more than ever, while returning less than ever; and the GFC is digging its claws into the economy in ways analysts never predicted. These, coupled with the high numbers of householder experiencing mortgage and debt stress has prompted a nationwide call to educate the public on the benefits of budgeting.

Training Manager at the Financial Counsellors Association of NSW, Jenny Reid, tells a bleak story: People seek the advice of financial counsellors when it’s too late. She recommends regular financial check-ups; much as you would have regular physical check-ups from your General Practitioner. ”A lot of people don’t budget until they need to,” she told reporters, “but it can actually be a very powerful tool to have a budget you stick to.”

She recommended:

  1. You keep track of where your money goes by writing it in a ledger.
  2. Be honest and accurate about what you’re spending.
  3. Fit your budget cycle to coincide with your pay cycle – It makes much more sense tha way.
  4. Avoid credit. Borrowing more to pay back other debts is a vicious cycle. Instead, look to take charge of what you still have, what you still need, and what you can do without.
  5. Get help. The economic hardship of current times has produced a number of high profile budgeting companies. But speaking to financial Counselling Australia is free. They’re happy to share their knowledge to anyone who asks for it, not just to those already in distress.

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