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10 Action Steps To Start The Year

You don't need to wait until January 1 to start setting some "new you" resolutions. In fact, there's never a bad time to hoist the sails and start steering your ship in a new direction. Let these ten action steps become your compass, guiding you toward financial success.

1. Audit your bank accounts

You might have a general idea of how much you're spending each month, but until you run through your transactions line by line, you can never know for sure. It might sound like a daunting or downright boring task, but it will arm you with the knowledge of knowing exactly where your hard-earned cash is going.


Print out three months worth of bank statements if you have multiple bank accounts, print out three months for each.

Grab two different coloured highlighters. Use one colour to highlight the essentials – groceries, petrol, bills, etc. Then use the other to identify all of the extras – pizza delivery, eyelash extensions, that $75 bottle of wine you ordered because you didn't want to look like a cheapskate in front of your new work friends. 

Add up the totals for each month and average out both. This will tell you exactly where your money is going and allow you to identify where you can cut back without sacrificing what truly matters, i.e. good wine.

2. Cancel unused subscriptions

As someone who combs through my bank transactions fairly meticulously, I can't fathom the idea of paying hundreds of dollars for a subscription without even realising it. But it is shockingly common. For example, my partner spent more than $200 last year on a fitness app he didn't even have downloaded on his phone anymore, and my dad realised he was still paying for a streaming service he trialled but forgot to cancel.


Don't throw out those bank statements just yet. Scan through to find any subscriptions or services you're not using and cancel them. It's also an excellent opportunity to consider if you really need them all.

3. Check your credit scores

It's not the sexiest part of sorting out your finances, but it's an essential step to ensure everything is in order. We've heard some horror stories over the years of people having credit cards and personal loans taken out in their name. They would never have realised if they hadn't checked their scores.


Create a profile with Wisr if you haven't already and find out where your credit scores are sitting. We provide two credit reports from Australia's major credit bureaus – Equifax and Experian.

If you spot something that doesn't look quite right, nip it in the bud ASAP. Here are the most common credit report errors to look out for.

4. Purge your newsfeed

On average, Australians spend one hour and 46 minutes on social media every day. We won't tell you to curb your usage – we love a doom scroll as much as the next person. But there are ways to make your screen time less of a drain. This is especially important if you’re susceptible to instagram ads and social media-driven purchases!


Every time you see a post from an account that makes you feel crappy about yourself, unfollow them. See something that doesn't align with your values? Unfollow. Got a friend who posts about their MLM multi-level marketing multiple times a day? Mute them we're not trying to ruin friendships here.

5. Now, enrich your newsfeed

To a certain extent, you can curate a feed that enriches your soul, teaches you new things, inspires and challenges you… with a few cute panda videos peppered in for good measure. Thanks to targeted marketing and rogue viral posts, you can't control everything that ends up in your feed, but you can saturate it with content that will do you good.


Find and follow five accounts that will either teach you something new, fill your feed with good vibes, make you laugh or inspire you to try something different. You can start with @wisraustralia – we share loads of money tips, fun finance-y facts and the occasional meme.

6. Commit to learning something new

We all learn in different ways. Books are a crowd favourite, but podcasts, audiobooks and documentaries are all great ways to expand your mind. It's vital to make time for learning as you get older to maintain neuroplasticity – a fancy word for 'keeping your brain young.' 

Luckily, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to money material. Personal finance books have blown up in recent years we made a list of our favourite books that will make you smarter, and we’re also seeing a huge uptick in online content creators who share their own money hacks, habits and tips. Keep in mind, everyone’s personal situation is different and advice from anyone who isn’t a licensed financial advisor should be taken with a grain of salt.


Every day, read at least ten pages of a book, listen to 20 minutes of an audiobook, listen to an educational podcast, or watch at least 20 minutes of a documentary. You'll be throwing out random facts left, right and centre. Everyone will want you on their trivia team. If you stick to the finance stuff, you’ll be nailing your money goals in no time.

7. Unsubscribe from annoying marketing emails

Just because you bought a hoodie from a brand six years ago does not mean you need to be notified every time they're having a sale. You'll only be tempted to spend money on something you don't really need. 


Unsubscribe from five emails every day. It should be as easy as clicking a few buttons – if it's not, they're probably in breach of the Spam Act 2003.

8. Write down your goals and what you need to do to achieve them

Sadly, it's not enough to just want to achieve your goal. You can't will it into existence. You need to take action. Start by figuring out what you want to achieve and work back from there. As James Clear tells us in Atomic Habits, lasting positive change comes from compounding small habits.


Type it, write it or 3D print it – put your goals into words. Then, break down the steps that it will take to get there. Want to run a marathon? Figure out how far you need to run every day and over what period of time to reach that 42km mark. Want to write a book? Make sure you're writing a certain number of words every single day. It's the everyday actions that create the most impact.

9. Make a plan to get on top of debt

If you're blissfully debt-free, lucky you – you can skip this one. For the rest of us, it's time to get that debt under control. Usually, high-interest debt – credit cards and payday loans – requires a more aggressive debt-reduction approach. You might think about cutting something from your budget or dipping into your savings to get back in the black. If it's something like a HECS/HELP debt or mortgage, you can take a slow-and-steady approach.


Find an extra $10 in your budget – weekly, fortnightly or monthly – and put it towards your debt. Trust us when we tell you it all adds up.

If you'd prefer an automated option, start using round ups with Wisr App to transfer your digital spare change to your debt automatically.

10. Get a better deal on your bills

Ever noticed that your bills and premiums increase each year? Usually, you can thank inflation for the price jump. But if you notice a significant price increase for the exact same service, you may be falling victim to the dreaded ‘loyalty tax.’ 

You don’t need to be an expert negotiator to get a better deal. It just takes a bit of research, patience and a kill them with kindness attitude – trust us, it yields far better results than going in guns blazing.


Action: Pull out your car, home and/or health insurance documents for the last three years. Check for significant price increases. Was your insurance premium way cheaper last year?

Next time you’re up for renewal, jump on the phone and ask why your premium has increased.

Do a quick search for comparable premiums – if you find a better deal, ask them to match it or make the switch! 

You might do the same with your phone bill – see another provider offering more data for a better price? Ask your provider to match it or bounce.

We recently shared a few great examples of how to ask for a better deal.

Got some big goals to tick off this year?

A Wisr Loan might help you get there sooner. Find out what we can do for you.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.



James is a marketing and communications professional with a passion for leading high-performance teams. He likes what he does… a lot.

James, Chief Growth Officer

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