Wednesday, February 26, 2020

swiming

As parents, we know the value and importance of extracurricular activities. Sports, music, art and swimming classes not only expand our children's knowledge and experiences, but they also help our children grow their social circles and gain self-confidence. 

But, most of these activities and lessons do not come cheap. In fact, many hourly activities can cost upwards of $60 per hour. On researching friends, we found they were paying $80 to $90 per hour for piano, guitar, singing lessons and pretty much the same for Maths and English tutoring.

So, how can you make sure your children are still enjoying fun extracurricular activities that promote their growth and wellbeing without breaking the bank in the process?

Taking a less expensive approach to children's activities

Fortunately, thanks to ongoing advances in technology and the internet, we have never been more connected.

That means that whatever activity or hobby your child is interested in, you may be able to access a wealth of information, tutorials and lesson materials online to help them grow and develop their skills and passions. These include... 

Music Lessons
Just because you don't want to hand over $60 per week for a half hour piano lesson, that does not mean your child can't still learn how to play. 

Online tutorials in music are a great way for children to experiment with a new instrument. Whether they want to learn the guitar, drums, piano or violin - this will depend on your access to instruments - you will be able to find lessons online. If your child wants to learn music all you need is to provide them with an instrument of their choice and they will be on their way to becoming your mini-Maestro in no time at all. 

Best place to start? YouTube is a great place to start for free videos, but there are also a number of affordable paid online music schools. These do involve a small cost, but they can be much cheaper than face-to-face music lessons. 

Language Lessons
Learning a foreign language can do amazing things to your child's growing brain. Studies have indicated that those who are bilingual are able to perform better with things like multitasking and focusing their attention on subjects for longer periods of time. Further, people who know two languages have additional grey matter in their brain which aids in their executive functioning. 

Learning a language is exciting, challenging and an amazing feeling when you get the hang of it. And the best part is that you don't have to be a language teacher yourself in order to teach your little ones. 

There are many free resources online that can assist you in teaching your children. First, you need to choose a language. French or Spanish are definately up there with the easiest (plus they are two of the most spoken languages around the world). But you can choose any language you like. 

Best place to start? DuoLingo; it is free, easy to navigate and offers access to just about every foreign language in the world. 

Coding Lessons
Coding is a fascinating skill to learn and know, and in this day and age, having knowledge of coding can be extremely valuable, especially for children, who will likely need at least some knowledge of it in their careers. 

Through coding, they develop cognitive functioning, problem-solving skills and patience. Coding can be fiddly and being able to sit still and work through until you find a solution is a key skill for children to learn for their later years. What's more, it also increases your child's career opportunities for the future. And while you may think it is too early to be thinking about their careers, the truth is that any additional skills they can learn in their early years will expand their skill set and broaden their horizons. 

Best place to start? Tynker; with programs for kids aged five and older, it is the ideal platform to introduce your children to the world of coding. 

The biggest benefit from conducting these activities from home is the financial freedom you will be able to enjoy, without your children having to do without. 

And these savings can be substantial. As an example, let's consider someone with a $500,000 mortgage at 3.5% interest. Using a calculator such as this one, we see that an extra $200 per month paid into the mortgage instead of spent on activities and hobbies would shave 3 years and 10 months off their loan term AND save over $43,310 in repayments. 

Pretty incredible right? But let's kick it up a notch... what if you made an additional $400 in repayments each month? Then you would reduce your loan term by 6 years and 9 months and save a total of $75,080 in repayments. Astounding!

Moral of the story? Don't feel as though you cannot provide these sorts of educational activities for your children because you are so focused on paying off your mortgage. You absolutely can do both just by utilising the available technology in this amazing world we live in.

 

This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation or needs before making any decisions based on this information. 

Money

You have had well over a month to get settled into the new year - but the timing is still ideal to get on top of your budget, if you have not done so already, so you can smash your financial goals. 

Did you know that simply by checking in and reviewing your finances, debts and insurances you could put yourself on the path to financial security? If that sounds like too much hard work, don't fret! With an experienced mortgage broker on your side, you won't have to chase all of this up by yourself, as they can take care of some of the research and admin for you. 

By just spending just a few hours engaging in your own finances, however, you could save thousands, even tens of thousands, each year. Here is how to get on top of your money so you can make it work hard for you:

1. Consolidate your debt

If you have credit cards, personal loans or car finance, you could save a tonne of cash by consolidating this into your mortgage. 

Some credit cards and unsecured loan products attract interest rates upwards of 20 per cent. Why pay these exorbitant rates when you could combine it all onto your home loan and pay just 3 per cent or even less?

Don't forget that by adding this debt to your mortgage, you are extending the time period over which you will be paying it off and dragging this out will see the interest mount up. To really make the most of this strategy, aim to make extra payments wherever you can to get the amount you have consolidated paid down ASAP. Even small contributions, like paying an extra $100 per fortnight, selling some clutter from around the house and putting the proceeds towards your mortgage or saving all your $5 notes and depositing them into your loan each month will make a big difference over the life of the loan. 

2. Review home, contents and car insurance

If you have not reviewed your insurances in a while, it is likely you are paying too much. We have a dedicated insurance broker who has a wealth of experience in securing great value policies for our clients, with affordable premiums and excellent inclusions. They will do the hard work and research to make sure you have the coverage you need and present you with quotes that work within your budget. 

3. Buy a new car

With access to more than 30 fantastic car finance options, we can get you into a new vehicle with a loan that suits your budget. Whether it is downsizing the 4WD to save on petrol costs, trading up from the old bomb that is costing you more in repairs than it is worth or using your new car purchase as a tax minimisation strategy, we can help. 

4. Analyse business accounts and business debt

Running your own business is stressful enough, without the added worry of managing all your financials and shopping around for the right bank. Let us find you the best commercial banker for your business, so you can spend time more productively serving clients, upskilling or training that new staff member. 

5. Suss out your superannuation

Australians are absolutely terrible at keeping track of their superannuation - the ATO reports that, as of June 2019, there was more than $20 billion in lost and unclaimed super languishing in forgotten accounts around the country! 

Tracking down your lost super and consolidating it into a high-performing fund will help you minimise fees and maximise your retirement savings. While you are at it, be sure to check how much life, Total and Permanent Disability and income protection insurance you have within your super. This way you can be assured to have enough cover if anything unfortunate occurs and that you are not doubling up on premiums or fees across several super accounts. 

6. Buy that investment property!

With the current record-low interest rates and strong competition for rental properties in our major cities, it is a great time to think about fulfilling that dream of becoming an investment property owner. It is not just an option for the rich with strong cashflow to bankroll them; the majority of Aussie landlords are everyday income earners who are trying to get ahead. You may even be able to use the equity in your current home or an existing investment property to start building your portfolio today. 

7. Make much-needed improvements to your home

If you are sick of staring at those out-of-fashion kitchen tiles or the kids are complaining about sharing a bedroom or bathroom, it could be time to renovate. Even a small extension or minor renovations could completely transform how you function in your home as a family, resulting in fewer arguments, better organisation and that zen-like calm we all crave when we escape back to our sanctuary at the end of a hard day at work or school. 

Importantly, it could also add value to your asset and you might not even need to save a cent to fund your project, if we can help you access the equity in your home to cover the costs. 

Getting on top of your finances is not that hard after all! After a quick conversation with one of our brokers, you will be on your way to your most prosperous year yet, so contact us today. 

 

This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation or needs before making any decisions based on this information. 

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Contact Details

Zippy Finance 

PO Box 3078
North Turramurra
NSW 2074

T 1300 855 022 

Louisa Sanghera is a credit representative (437236) of BLSSA Pty Ltd ACN 117 651 760.  Australian Credit Licence 391237. ABN 85 168 278 975.

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