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Money habits that will change your life 

By David Koch

21 May 2024

Building strong financial habits into daily behaviour is the most powerful way to boost wealth.

So often we talk about setting financial goals, having a household budget, updating your will and a myriad of other financial tasks. Whilst all these tasks are essential financial housekeeping; behavioural change is the most potent influencer.

Here are 10 financial-oriented behaviours which will change your life:



1) Be a year-round discount shopper/negotiator

Ask for a discount on every purchase. Australians have become enormous 'sales’ shoppers and that’s a great behaviour to have. But when an item isn’t on sale, ask for a discount anyway. It should be part of your behaviour to ask for a better deal on everything. Don’t be embarrassed, the supplier can only say ‘no’, while a ‘yes’ makes it all worthwhile.

2) Have a plan for credit card rewards

Credit card reward schemes are usually not worth what they’re cracked up to be because the program is not generous, or we don’t maximise the program. Make sure you have the best credit card with the best rewards program for your spending pattern. Then build a habit of thinking about how each purchase can maximise points and have a plan for how you want to use the points for purchases.


3) Be more demanding on your bank

Question your bank on everything. The interest rate on your home loan, discounts if insurance is part of the bundle, slashing/abolishing account keeping fees...the lot. But don’t do it once, keep the pressure up all year round. If a penalty fee comes in, ask to have it removed. If interest rates change, use it as an excuse to try and squeeze a better deal on the new rate. Be relentless.

4) Question every insurance premium renewal

Never, ever, automatically pay an insurance premium renewal. Always compare the market for alternatives. Contact at least one other insurance company for a quote to provide a benchmark, then ring your insurer and query any increase.

5) Opportunities to earn money with a side hustle

Whether it is a second job, a garage sale, starting a market stall or turning a hobby into a money spinner, there is a myriad of ways to earn extra cash. But you have to constantly keep it top of mind to identify opportunities. You’ll be surprised how easy it is if you’re aware. 

6) Manage your time better...don't waste...earn or learn

Analyse your day, your week, your year. We all need downtime but there is a difference between leisure time and waste time. Identify the wasted time and turn it into earning or learning time with specific projects.

7) Energy-saving improvements to your home

From light bulbs to appliances and renovations, think about energy efficiency when choosing a replacement. Energy bills are skyrocketing, and this is where big savings can be made. 

From solar hot water to simple door snakes to stop drafts, energy efficiency should be the first criteria behind selecting anything to do with the home. And, again, compare the market to see whether there is a better deal from another energy provider. Check your last statement because your energy retailer must show whether they have a cheaper plan for your usage.

8) Constantly ask ‘Do I need?’

Rather than looking at something and thinking ‘I’d like’ or ‘I want’, train your first thought to be ‘Do I need?’ I’m not saying don’t spoil yourself on occasion. Life’s too short but asking ‘Do I need?’ before any purchase will cause you to pause, think, and avoid those impulse buys that waste so much money.

9) Check you’re getting all your government entitlements

The facts are a lot of people simply don’t apply for the government benefits they’re entitled to. Make sure you’re not one of them. Make a habit of checking for eligibility and benefits available.

10) Organise your financial paperwork

The Tax Office wins most disputes because of the poor record-keeping of taxpayers. Spending a little bit of time regularly will keep the paperwork under control.