While managing money shouldn’t be a battle of the sexes, we’ve taken a look at some of the strategies that Australian money-savvy women are using to keep in control of their finances. We’ve also pointed out some of the ways that we could all improve on managing our funds.

Using your tax return to manage your finances


While it’s tempting to use your tax return to splurge on end of financial year sales or a holiday, recent finder.com.au research found that many Australian women use theirs to help get their finances in order. For example, women (8%) are twice as likely as men (4%) to use their tax return to help pay off their credit card debt. Women (24%) are also marginally more likely than men (21%) to use their return to pay for household bills. When it comes those that like to save their tax return, men and women are fairly equal at 31% and 32% respectively.

While it’s fine to treat yo’ self at tax time, using your return to help pay down your existing debts or cover necessary costs can help free up your cash flow in the long run. The average Aussie has a tax return of $2,112. Check out how we’re most likely to spend our returns here.

Making regular credit card repayments


Making regular card repayments and paying off your balance in full every month is crucial to keeping your credit card account in good standing and it looks like Aussie women have quite the knack for it. According to a survey conducted by finder.com.au in November 2016, women are better at managing their credit card repayments than men. The research revealed that 19.9% of Australian women have never had credit card debt compared to 11.8% of men. The same research also found that 15.7% of men had missed a personal loan repayment compared to 12.6% of women.

Making timely credit card repayments is important for three main reasons. Firstly, if you don’t make the minimum repayment on time, you’ll be charged a late payment fee. Secondly, credit bureaus can view your payment history and regular, timely repayments are a positive reflection of your ability to handle debt. So, timely repayments can improve your credit history and increase your chances of approval for future loans. Thirdly, making regular repayments will help you chip away at your balance. While you’re regularly only required to make a minimum repayment of 2-10%, it’s wise to pay off your balance in full (or at least pay as much as you can) to clear your debt faster and to reduce the amount of interest you have to pay. See our guide on making credit card repayments for tips on paying your plastic bill on time.

Chasing up expensive bills


If you receive an unexpectedly high phone or insurance bill, are you more likely to chase it up or let it slide? According to research conducted by finder.com.au in May 2017, both women and men in Australia show initiative if they receive an unusually expensive bill (whether it be for their phone, energy or insurance account). 58% of women and 57% of men agreed that they would contact their provider directly to query the high bill.

It may be time consuming, but chasing up unexpectedly high bills can help you save. The issuer may have incorrectly charged you and you can bet that they won’t correct their mistake unless you chase it up. On the other hand, you may find that you weren’t aware of some “hidden fees” that you are being charged and you may want to think about comparing your options and finding a better deal.

How can Aussie women improve?


While Australian women are employing plenty of useful money-management tactics, there are a few areas where we could pick up our game to further improve how we’re handling our finances.

Save your pennies


According to a recent finder.com.au survey, 55% of Australians wouldn’t last three months without an income if they were to lose their job. However, men (52%) are more likely to survive for more than three months without a source of income than women (38%). This suggests that women tend to have less money saved in case of an emergency. As well as putting away money each week or month, income protection insurance is another way that women can increase their financial security.

Haggle for a better deal


When investigating whether Australians use their credit history to haggle for a better interest rate on their home loan, finder.com.au found that men were more likely to actually do so. 50% of men have used their credit score to get a more competitive rate and 46% have leveraged their healthy credit history to get a better deal. On the other hand, 51% of women admitted that they didn’t even know that these haggling tactics existed compared to 41% of men. If you want to use your credit history to get yourself a better deal, start by requesting a copy of your credit score for free via finder.com.au.

It’s no surprise that Australian women are smart when it comes to money, but if you’re struggling to get your finances under control, using the tactics we’ve mentioned above can help get you back on track. There are always ways that we can improve on how we manage our money. Check out this article on the unique financial challenges facing women for more ideas on how you can tackle some of the money issues that you might be facing.

Sally McMullen

Journalist at Finder.com
Sally McMullen is a journalist at finder.com.au who is a credit cards, frequent flyer and travel money expert by day and music maven by night.
Sally McMullen
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