Do you know where your money is going?
I stumbled upon a post from Millennial Money Diaries with an awesome map of the journey her money takes from the moment she gets it until it filters down to investments or out into the world again. I was intrigued and inspired to create my own money map. Though I have far fewer technical and design skills so my map is nowhere near as pretty or functional (or possible even flowchart accurate).
After thinking Jing’s map was cool, I found the list of links to other personal finance bloggers maps at the bottom of the post (psst it is at the bottom of this post too!). I love seeing how everyone organises their money – you can learn so much from understanding how other people do things and why. Reviewing each of the different money maps and systems also proved that there are so any ways to manage your finances and there is no one right answer.
Without further ado here is my very basic money map;
As I said, my design skills are so basic it doesn’t even begin to describe how I manage my money and has nothing on the amazingness of the other bloggers, one of my favourites being this one from The Lady in the Black.
So here it is instead in written form – I’m much more easily able to express myself with words.
I have two main sources of income – my main gig (aka desk job) and my side hustles (babysitting and disability support). But before I get my hands on those funds a few other people want their piece – the government in the form of taxes and a repayment for my HECS debt (student loans) and also HostPlus, my Superannuation (retirement fund) provider. It is currently compulsory in Australia that your employer pays 9.5% of your income to your superannuation account for you. I also top this up by 5.5% to have a total of 15% of my pre-tax dollars filtered out. Some bloggers will say this is crazy because you never know when the government might change the rules on how that money is managed and they want to be able to get their hands on it before 65 (or whatever arbitrary date the government sets in future). These are reasonable concerns, however, for now, it is a nice tax haven for me as it is taxed at only 15% and my regular pay often falls into the 37% tax bracket. I could write so much more on this but that can wait for another post. After everyone takes their piece I’m left with my Net Pay deposited into my Everyday Account.
I like to think I keep my accounts fairly simple, though trying to map how I use them and when I transfer money in and out was more difficult than I first thought. It makes sense in my head 😉
None of my bank accounts have any fees associated with them. In this day and age, there is absolutely no reason why the banks should be charging fees. If your accounts are currently charging fees I highly recommend you research into the many, many accounts that you can get for free.
My main everyday account, as well as Bills and CDIA are all with Commonwealth Bank (CBA). Yes, I was a dollarmites baby and never bothered to switch. Despite how bad their school banking program may have been, I have never paid a fee for any of my accounts and they have some of the best technology for online and mobile banking, including a handy net worth calculator and some cool daily/monthly/yearly graphing features. Not it isn’t perfect, but the ease of use, good customer service and again, no fees means I don’t see a reason to switch.
Everyday Account – CBA
This is the main control centre of all my money. All income makes its way into this account and is then transferred out accordingly. There is no reason to have any money sitting in here long term, especially since it accrues no interest, however, I am yet to break through that mental barrier of having instant access to money (despite having 3 credit cards) so the balance usually hovers between $200-$400 at any one time.
Bills – CBA
Pretty self-explanatory. This account is linked to my everyday account and I transfer 8.8% of my main gig $$ into this account so when a bill comes through I can pay them without wondering where the money will come from. This account earns a small 1% interest per annum but the ease of having a separate account so I don’t have to keep track of regular bills is worth the loss of possible interest earned.
CDIA – CBA
I actually have no idea what CDIA stands for – I’m sure it is ‘bank speak’ for an extra useless account that you must have. This account is where I transfer money to buy shares and also where I receive my dividends. This account does not have any fees, but also doesn’t accrue any interest so depending on where my portfolio is at the time I will either top up and buy more shares, or transfer the dividends back out into my ING savings account so it is earning 2.8% interest while I decide what to buy next.
Travel Fund – Ubank
I originally opened this account a few years ago because at the time it was offering the highest interest rate on the market. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. I have been considering closing the account and combining the funds with my Future account. This would require me to keep a spreadsheet tracking money spent on travel to make sure I don’t go over my yearly allocation and I’m not spending before it is accrued. I haven’t decided yet if the effort is worth the potential 0.49% interest per annum (approx. $24.50 per annum). This account currently earns 2.31% and gets approximately 8% of my main gig funds transferred each payday.
Future – ING
Before I knew about FI or investing even, I knew I had to set some money aside for my future, even if I didn’t really know what that looked like. Now, this account has a minimum balance of 12 months living expenses and then anything on top of that amount is allocated to either long-term goals (renovations, other house stuff) and investing (mostly shares right now but might diversify soon). This account is my highest interest-bearing account at 2.8% so it makes sense that my emergency fund sits here so it is easily accessible to be used for its purpose as well as earning some interest (at this stage keeping up with inflation which keeping it in cash wouldn’t do) with no risk. Currently, this account gets approximately 48.6% of my main gig money, as well as random extra pieces of side hustle money thrown in.
As with bank accounts, I refuse to pay annual fees on credit cards just for the privilege of having one. I might seem self-entitled saying that, but there are again so many free options out there that I don’t see the necessity to pay a fee. I generally have 2 main cards I keep open all the time, and then will swap out extra cards to receive sign up bonuses and points to pay for travel and other extras.
Main Credit Card – Coles
In my opinion, Coles everyday credit card has the best everyday rewards point system for the way I manage my money. There are definitely cards that let you accrue more points, however, my spending in relatively low and I’d need to spend so much more to make the annual fee worthwhile that I don’t bother. I get 2 points per $1 on spending in Coles and 1 point per $1 for spending everywhere else. This card gets me around $60 per annum in vouchers for use on groceries/petrol/wine etc. It doesn’t sound like much but it is money for jam, especially when most of my spending will often be filtered through other cards to get aforementioned bonuses.
Points Bonus Credit Card – currently ANZ
My current points sign up bonus card is an ANZ card. I’ve previously used St George and CBA and also have my eye on Westpac deals at the moment. I’m not loyal to a provider and will go with whoever is offering the best deal at the time under my preferred conditions. These conditions being; zero annual fee (at least for the first year) and a spending limit/target I am comfortable with and a decent amount of points for my effort. The spending limit/target is what you need to spend on the card to qualify for the bonus points. It used to be quite a low threshold, say $500 to trigger the bonus, now banks are catching on that people are cycling through cards and they have made it harder. My current card had a $5000 spend target within the first 3 months. Normally I wouldn’t spend that much money on everyday spending so I strategically paid upfront on bills, insurances and gift cards I can use later to hit the limit.
With the bonus points earned and some ongoing spending, I should earn around $500+ in vouchers, which will most likely be used to pay for flights for a trip in April next year. There are so many better credit card hackers out there than me, but I’m happy with how this currently works for me.
Travel Credit Card – GE Money
Lastly, I have a 28 Degrees Mastercard. This card used to allow you to load cash onto the card and then spend your own money overseas fee free, either as a credit card or cash withdrawn from ATMs. They no longer allow free withdrawals from ATMs which is a shame as that was a good little saver, however, they still do offer no international transaction fees and no currency exchange fees on purchases which makes this a good little card to keep around. I use it mostly when travelling, though also for online purchases in another currency.
1 Everyday Transaction Account
3 Savings Accounts
1 Brokerage Account
3 Credit Cards
Total = 8
A word on simplicity
How many is too many? With 8 accounts currently, I find them easy to manage and quite enjoy regularly monitoring them.
Once I get my sign up bonus from the credit card and max out the first year of points, I will close that account too. This will make my base between 6-7 accounts to manage.
I could also consolidate my travel account with my other future savings, having 1 less account and some more offline/excel management. I’m not sure if this would make things more or less complicated as I’m much less likely to monitor it.
I could further maximise my returns with extra credit cards, or searching for the next best high-interest account that only lasts 3 months, but I’m comfortable where I am. For some, it may be worth chasing the small amounts, but for me I’d prefer to look out for the occasional big bonus and only take action then, balancing my effort and return.
Lessons learned by mapping my money
Before I began I thought that this would be an easy task and I had a good grasp of where my money was going. I have one regular and consistent salary from my full-time job and some side hustle income. I keep my finances separate from Mr. B and we don’t have children as yet.
I didn’t think this exercise would be overly valuable because I had a simple system, but I was wrong. I did learn quite a bit, especially around how I handle the irregular and unpredictable side hustle income.
Join The Chain
Here is the complete list of everyone who has participated so far! If you’d like to join in, just post your map and include the list at the bottom of the post to keep the chain going.
Special thanks to the Anchors: Apathy Ends, Budget on a Stick who started this awesome trend.
Link 1: The Luxe Strategist
Link 2: Adventure Rich
Link 3: MinaFi
Link 4: Othalafehu
Link 5: The Frugal Gene
Link 6: Work Optional
Link 7: Our Financial Path
Link 8: Eccentric Rich Uncle
Link 9: Atypical Life
Link 10: Cantankerous Life
Link 11: Retirement Manifesto
Link 12: Debts to Riches
Link 13: Need2Save
Link 14: Money Metagame
Link 15: CYinnovations
Link 16: I Dream of FIRE
Link 17: Stupid Debt
Link 18: Spills Spot
Link 19: Making Your Money Matter
Link 20: Life Zemplified
Link 21: Trail to FI
Link 22: The Lady in the Black
Link 23: Smile & Conquer
Link 24: Her Money Moves
Link 25: Full Time Finance
Link 26: Abandoned Cubicle
Link 27: Freedom is Groovy
Link 28: Millennial Money Diaries
Link 29: A Journey to FI
Link 30: Trail to FI