Where does all my money go?

Answer

It’s estimated that the average household in Australia spends about $1,425 a week on general household costs1, but it’s not just big-ticket items, like rent (or mortgage), groceries and transport that eat into our bank balances. It’s the little items that can really add up.

Most of us have every-day ‘leaks’ from our wallets that we rarely budget for—coffees, magazines, takeaway food, unnecessary fees and charges or ‘set and forget debits’—which can all take a toll on where our money goes.

If you want to be able to better answer the question ‘where does my money go?’ here are some tips that might help.

1. Keep track of every dollar you spend

You can keep receipts for every purchase you make and then add the details to an app, spreadsheet or notebook, but if you find this tedious and time consuming, once set-up the AMP money manager tool automatically combines and categorises your transactions across multiple financial institutions, making tracking your incomings and outgoings easy.

If you’re an AMP customer, you can log into My AMP, select the 'Manage non-AMP accounts' tab and then add your account login credentials from over 200 other financial institutions to our secure online site. If you’re not a customer, you can access the My AMP money manager tool here.

Once you’ve got visibility of your spending, you can identify where you’re paying unnecessary fees and charges, such as for a home phone line or gym membership that you might only use rarely, or where you’re paying too much. It can often pay to shop around, so contact your energy, mobile, internet, car and credit card providers for a better deal. 

2. Change your spending habits 

Once you’ve identified where your money goes, particularly unnecessarily, you can start taking action:

  • Work out exactly how much you’re spending on the little things. Set yourself a daily limit as to what you’d like to spend and make sure you don’t go over it.
  • Only buy what you need at the supermarket, so you don’t waste food and money.
  • Check the back of your shopping list for discounts at local stores or cinemas.
  • Try a new recipe at home rather than order takeaway.
  • Read a book or go for a walk rather than go shopping if you’re feeling bored.
  • Borrow books, DVDs and games from the library instead of buying them.

By being aware and mindful of how much you spend on impromptu purchases, you’re more likely to keep track of where your money ends up.

3. Create a budget 

Having an annual budget can be very useful if you want to plan where your money will go and understand how much you can afford to save for things like holidays, renovations or even school fees.

Check out our budget planner calculator if you want help getting started or if you’re an AMP customer, you can also use money manager to automatically create a personalised budget based on your transaction history.

4. Have an emergency savings plan

Putting aside some money for emergencies or unexpected events is often a good idea, and it may be easier to do when you know where your money is going and can cut back on unnecessary spending.

An emergency fund can give peace of mind and it reduces the need to rely on high-interest borrowing options, such as credit cards or applying for payday loans, which can often be an expensive form of finance and create unwanted debt. 

Need more help?

If you’re looking for a little extra assistance in managing your money, check out the award winning AMP Bett3r Account. It may make managing your money easier, as it allows you to divide your money into pay, save and spend sub-accounts.

If you need further assistance, speak to your financial adviser. And, if you don’t have one, you can call us on 131 267 or use our find an adviser tool.

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics, Household Expenditure Survey, Australia: Summary of Results, 2015-16

Important information

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Any advice in this page is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters. AMP Bett3r Account is issued by AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, AFSL 234517. Consider the terms and conditions available on request by calling 13 30 30 or at amp.com.au/bett3r and whether this product is appropriate for you. Fees and charges apply.

Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP does not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek qualified advice before making any decision. Except where liability cannot be excluded, AMP does not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage.