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Tips for smarter spending habits

Ever look at your bank account and have absolutely no idea where the money went? You're not alone. We know it can be hard but keeping on top of how and where you're spending money pays off. Here's how to become a savvy spender and get ahead of your finances.

What are good spending habits?

Good spending habits will look different to everyone. So it's easier to keep an eye out for the not-so-good ones. These show up in two ways:

Uncontrolled spending

You'll know this as 'impulse buying'. It looks like grabbing that extra item at checkout that's not on your shopping list.

Habitual spending

This is spending that adds up over time, like regular takeaways or meals out.

Keeping on top of spending

Making small changes to the way you spend money can make a big difference in your daily life and over the long term. Stay in control with these three easy steps:

Step 1: Investigate

Dive in and see how and where you're spending money. Try using ASB's budget calculator to work out your daily, weekly and monthly spending. Then, make a note of your money coming in, all your expenses and how much money you're paying into your savings account. If you can find any triggers that cause you to spend money unnecessarily, you can form new habits.

Step 2: Categorise your spending

This helps you identify what you can tweak, change or maybe stop spending money on. To get started, try our Track My Spending tool if you're with ASB. Then, total how much money you spend in each category. Most people find this eye-opening and can quickly see where they could cut back. It can also help you budget and prioritise where you're spending money.

Category ideas: Food, Entertainment/Going out, Fitness, Bills, Kids, Travel, Transport 

Step 3: Make a game plan

By knowing what's happening with your money, you can start making the best decisions for you.

Quick tips

Review your essential spending

Have a look through bills like your power, phone, and internet - and see if you're getting the best deals that work for you. You might be able to switch to save.

Cut back on non-essentials

These are things like memberships and subscriptions you don't use often - anything from the gym, to magazines and online services. 

Separate your accounts

Stick to your budget by having different accounts for specific purposes (like bills, everyday expenses and savings). Some accounts might have fees, so it's handy to keep an eye on this. 

Take control of your debt

If you're managing multiple interest rates, payment times and amounts on your debts, it could be a good idea to make a plan for your debt. Try these tips

Get your bills sorted

If you're with ASB, set up bill payees to regularly pay a person or company, at different times, and for varying amounts. Setting payments up in advance using the ASB Mobile Banking app, or using Bill Payments on FastNet Classic, means you're less likely to forget later and incur penalties.

Pay your savings account like you pay your bills

Setting up automatic payments to your own savings accounts is a good way to ensure you're actively saving. The best time to do this is straight after pay day. See our how-to guide to get this set up now.

Regularly check your balance

Create a regular habit of checking your balance and you're more likely to spend within your means. Download the ASB Mobile Banking app and check your balance daily and on the go.

Stay informed with alerts

By setting up alerts you can keep track of things like your bank balance, when your credit card payment is due or when a payment fails.

Set a spending limit

Set a limit for each transaction and turn off online purchases to help reduce the chance of any unplanned shopping sprees. You can do this with ASB Card Control.

You've got this

It can be easy to lose sight of what you're putting all your hard work towards. Keeping handy visual reminders of what you're saving for, like a photo of your next holiday spot on your phone, will help you stay on track. 

The information and tools suggested are intended to provide general information only. It is not financial advice and does not take into consideration your personal needs and financial circumstances. You should consider seeking financial advice before making any decision based on this information.

Financial WellbeingSpending Money - How To Build Smarter Spending Habits | ASB