Territory Stories

The Northern Territory news Mon 25 Jul 2011



The Northern Territory news Mon 25 Jul 2011

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NT news


The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin

Publisher name

Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited



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www.ntnews.com.au Monday, July 25, 2011. NT NEWS. 33 P U B : N T N E W S D A T E : 2 5 -J U L -2 0 1 1 P A G E : 3 3 C O L O R : C M Y K Monday Money REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS BUSINESS ISSUES with David and Libby Koch FAMILY BUDGET Average patterns AFTER completing a family budget were often left wondering how we compare with other families. Whether we spend more than the average in one area but not as much in others. There is no typical Australian family. We have adult children so our spending will be different to our daughter with two young kids or our single son or our mums as selffunded retirees. But we have trawled the Australian Bureau of Statistics data and information from other independent research to come up with an average expense pattern for a family with two children. See the result in the pie chart, right. Plan for the fun LITTLE TREATS STICKING to a budget doesnt mean you have to deprive yourself of lifes little luxuries, you just have to plan for them and keep impulse buying under control. Make the most of cheap Tuesday. Switch date night from Saturday to Tuesday and pay less for restaurants, cinemas, DVDs, beauticians, car washes and even haircuts. Buy big-ticket items second-hand and save a fortune. Search online marketplace eBay for bargains on everything from strollers to televisions. Check out used car trading websites such as carsales.com.au and drive. com.au for deals. Use coupons. Keep them in your wallet or by the front door so you dont forget to redeem them. Take simple holidays. A cheap way to take the family on holidays is to swap homes with another family for a week. Try websites such as aussiehouseswap.com.au. Tricky balancing act Nations have failed to control their budgets but you dont have to do likewise WHILE global financial markets focus on the turmoil of bankrupt European countries and the huge debt levels in the US, it is a timely reminder the same thing could happen to each of us if we dont live within our means. Greece is in trouble because its budget is short of income as it doesnt enforce its tax rules on everyone and its expenses are high because theyve been paying themselves too much social welfare. Its the same in many other European countries. The US is in trouble as its been borrowing way too much and the repayments have gone out of control. Whens the last time you sat down and put your family budget on paper? Our view is that unless you see it in black and white, you really dont have any understanding of your true financial position. You should work on a family budget every year and then monitor it monthly. We know it sounds boring but it is a critical road map for you to know where the money is coming from and going to. We guarantee you will be stunned at the outcome and how different it is to what you thought. Step 1: Get organised Gather all your bank account and credit card statements, pay slips, big bills and any old budgets. Block out time with your partner, when you wont be interrupted. The easiest way to keep track of your budget and update it is to use a computer. If you want help with formatting, weve created a simple Excel spreadsheet as a start. Go to www.kochie.com.au/ 20100704161/kochieshousehold-budget-template. If you need something more sophisticated, there are budget planners from most bank websites and plenty of software packages and mobile apps for sale. Step 2: Write down all your income This is usually the easy bit. List all the money you receive each month; wages, pensions and Centrelink benefits, child support, investment income such as rent or dividends. Total it up. Step 3: Note expenses List all your essential expenses, the things that are unavoidable. The mortgage repayments, rent, loan and credit card repayments, transport, utilities, phone and internet, car rego, insurance premiums and your basic groceries. Now comes the tricky bit. How much are you spend ing on things that arent actually essential? These expenses are usually harder to estimate as they may be irregular and you dont have official bills filed away. When youre doing your budget, you have to be ruthless and honest with yourself. If you over or underestimate your expenses, youll never be able to stick to your budget. Get exact figures from bills and bank statements. Take a notepad everywhere for a month and list the little things you buy each day. It will be useful and frightening. Total your expenses. Step 4: Do the sums and balance your budget Hopefully, your income covers expenses and youre left with a little bit to save. Some family budgets may end up with a deficit but that doesnt mean putting the shortfall on credit. Work out how to increase your income or decrease your expenses. What things can you live without while getting your finances under control and building some savings? Put off buying clothes, eat in on date night, or go camping for your next holiday. When youre at the supermarket, look for cheaper home-brand products, buy in bulk when you spot a special and plan meals so you dont have to dial home delivery. If you cant balance your budget, earning more income can be just as good as cutting expenses. Volunteer for overtime or extra shifts at work. Does your field allow you to do a bit of freelance work outside your regular job? What about getting a second job in the evenings or on the weekend? Look out for advertisements for everything from bar work to stacking shelves at the local supermarket. Step 5: Set up a savings target and stick with it Decide how much you can afford to save each pay period and treat it like an expense in your budget a bill that has to be paid. For example, we take out a set amount at the start of the month when our wages are paid which goes into a holiday account. Australian stocks tipped to enjoy early resurgence onmarket MELBOURNE: The Australian stock market is expected to open slightly higher today despite a rather mixed performance on United States markets on Friday. On Wall Street on Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 43.25 points, or 0.34 per cent, at 12,681.2 points as earnings reports from General Electric and McDonalds surpassed expectations but US industrial bellwether Caterpillar fell short. CommSec chief economist Craig James said the benchmark US index, the Dow Jones, was dragged back by the Caterpillar result and otherwise may have finished higher. But, overall, I think its going to be a cautious start (on the Australian market), Mr James said. Theres still a degree of uncertainty about the US debt ceiling and negotiations through there. The futures market is pointing towards something like a three-point gain (on the Australian market). US political leaders have been negotiating on raising the countrys debt ceiling before an August 2 deadline so that it can pay its bills and continue operating. Mr James said the Australian market had made some good gains at the end of last week after Greece was bailed out of its debt crisis. On the economic front this week, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens addresses The Anika Foundation tomorrow and the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases consumer price index data for the June quarter on Wednesday.

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