Seven ways to start the new financial year on a high


The 2024-25 financial year has officially begun, which means that a host of changes in the world of finance and money have already started to take effect.

Chief among these is an adjustment to income tax rates which mean taxpayers will begin to see less tax taken out of their regular pay slips, leaving more disposable income. But there have also been changes to superannuation, energy bills and more.

So with all of these reforms kicking in, the beginning of the new financial year also offers a great opportunity for Australians to check in on their financial lives. Read on for seven ways to kick off the financial year strongly.

Seven ways to start the financial year on a high

1. Get your budget in order

Over the previous two months we've witnessed a flurry of budgets handed down by federal and state governments, so in the same spirit, now could be the time to take a look at your own household budget.

If you already have a budget then it's always worth regularly checking in to see if your spending and income still line up with your existing assumptions and, if there's any discrepancy, updating them.

However, if you don't already have a budget there's no time like the present to create one. ASIC Moneysmart's budget planner could be a handy place to get started, while anyone wanting help keeping track of their new budget may be interested in one of the many budgeting apps available.

2. Set new goals

The start of the financial year could also prove a great time to create some new financial goals, like starting an emergency account, building a home deposit or saving for Christmas. But why is now any different to any other point in the year?

It comes down to a psychological phenomenon called the Fresh Start Effect. This is based on findings that people tend to feel more motivated to change their behaviour and attack a new goal from the start of a week, month or year, or another significant date to them.

Of course, successful goal setting requires more than a meaningful start date though, as narrowing your focus, monitoring your progress and automating parts of the process can also be crucial.

3. Prepare for tax time

The beginning of July means that tax season is upon us. Before rushing to lodge your tax return though, it's worth noting that the Australian Taxation Office recommends that taxpayers take it easy for a few weeks to give their income statements and other information time to be finalised.

In the meantime, organising receipts or proof of any expenses you're planning to claim as deductions might make your life (or your tax agents') easier come lodgement time. That might include work-related expenses, charitable donations, investment property expenses and more.

4. Check in on your super

When was the last time you logged in to your superannuation account to check on your balance and see if your investment allocation and insurance mix is still what you want it to be?

Checking in more regularly could be a habit worth starting in the new financial year to ensure that your employer contributions are going in, especially given that the superannuation guarantee rate increased from 11% to 11.5% on July 1.

Speaking of contributions, with many Australians set to see their disposable incomes rise as the tax cuts take effect, those looking for ways to make use of that extra income could consider an option like salary sacrificing part of their regular wage or salary.

5. Address your debt

With interest rates as high as they are, it's certainly a good time to compare the competitiveness of the interest rate and fees you're paying on your home loan, personal loan or any other loan you may have.

That's particularly true if it's been a while since you last checked in, because there's a chance that you're paying more than you need to - a situation that could be remedied by negotiating a better deal with your current lender or refinancing somewhere else.

The reality is that many Australians are really struggling with their debt though, meaning that negotiating or refinancing may not be an option. In that case, seeking professional help from a free service like Financial Counselling Australia may be an option worth pursuing.

6. Boost your savings

If one of your goals for the new financial year is to save up for a new car, or perhaps a trip overseas, one of the more effective ways to increase the money you're putting towards these goals is obviously finding a new income stream or reducing your spending.

Beyond that, it's important to make sure that whatever money you do have in savings is working as hard as it can. So in order to give your savings a boost, it may be time to see how the interest rate you're earning with your savings account or term deposit stacks up.

While there are plenty of savings options with rates above the 5% mark at present, making sure the account is suited to your needs so you're actually earning the highest rate possible while being able to manage your money in the way that suits you best is also an important point to consider.

7. Revaluate your bills

With the price of NBN and some electricity plans changing from July 1, now could be the time to do conduct a full scale audit of your regular bills and services to work out if you actually still require them, first and foremost, and then whether the deals you're getting are still competitive.

Aside from internet and energy, insurance policies, phone plans, streaming services, subscriptions and any other regular bills can be added to the list. After all, chances are that you could either save money by finding a better deal or entirely cutting out something unnecessary.

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Tom Watson is a senior journalist at Money magazine, and one of the hosts of the Friends With Money podcast. He's previously worked as a journalist covering everything from property and consumer banking to financial technology. Tom has a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism) from the University of Technology, Sydney.