Is cashless spending leading to a permanent state of ‘Tap & Gone’?

The recent research from the Reserve Bank Australia, which found the declining use of cash is negatively impacting our savings, is no surprise to Michael Christofides, Director of Retail Solutions, AMP Bank.

Michael believes, although cashless spending can negatively impact your savings, by splitting your finances into three buckets, you can ensure you’re budgeting correctly. He also provides some top tips on how to get on top of your finances.

“It’s no surprise Aussies prefer to spend using their tap and go cards over cash. It’s convenient, quick and easy, particularly when compared to rummaging around in your pockets for the right cash,” he said.

“But, paying on card can create a disconnect between the consumer and the amount they are spending. With cash, you know exactly what you are spending and when. You can see your money depleting. With card, you only notice what you are spending when you check your account online or your mobile app.

“The financial hangover from the clothes, taxi fares, eating out and luxury items you bought over the weekend might hit hardest on Monday, but the long-term effects could be even more damaging, particularly among young Aussies, who are already battling with HECS debt, as well as personal debt.

“It doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. We just need to be better at managing our now virtual currency.

“The best way to ensure you don’t tuck into your savings is to split your account into three, setting aside money for bills, savings and spending money.

“There are accounts, such as the AMP Bett3r account, that automatically allocate funds to different buckets, enabling consumers closer control over how they spend their money.

“So while technology may have made it easier to spend, there are new technologies coming to market helping consumers save.”

Here are six expert tips for getting on top of your finances.

  1. Set some goals

Think about what you want to achieve. Is it to save for something special, to curb your spending or to reduce your debts? Once you know what you’re aiming for you can set and achieve your goals.

  1. Understand where your money goes

If you’re running out of money before payday, or you’d just like to get a better understanding of where your money goes, it’s probably a good idea to start tracking your spending. There are lots of good tools and apps to do this.

  1. Set a budget

Get serious about managing your budget. If you don’t already have a budget, now’s a good time to set one. Use a budget calculator to work out your expenditure and find out how much you could put aside each payday.

  1. Consolidate your debt

Now might be the time to get rid of extra credit cards and opt for a single card with a lower interest rate and less fees. See Canstar for a comparison of credit cards.

If you have a home loan, consider increasing your loan amount and using the extra money to pay off your other debts. A home loan usually has a lower interest rate than debts such as credit cards, so this will help you to avoid paying higher interest rates.

  1. See where you can make saving

Make sure you get the best rates available on your frequent bills such as insurance and energy. Use comparison websites, such as comparethemarket.com.au to compare product benefits and costs and check Canstar to see how your interest rates and financial products stack up.

  1. Leverage technology for better saving habits

While technology may have made it easier to spend, there are new technologies coming to market helping consumers save. An example is the new AMP Bett3r account, which has three linked accounts to help you separate your bills, savings and spending money more easily.