A 10-step financial detox to get fit for Christmas

So, one of your New Year's resolutions was to sort out your finances, only it's now October and you've realised there are only 12 short weeks to make that happen? Throw in some silly season spending and you figure you might as well throw in the towel and cross your fingers that 2018 is a better year.

Well pick up that towel and dust yourself off. That's because sure, you might not have time to achieve all the financial goals you set for yourself in January 2017. However, there is still time to make sure you finish the year well and are on a better financial footing to launch into 2018.

Here are 10 ideas to help you financially sort yourself out before the end of the year.

Start passive investing: It's a myth that you need to have a large chunk of cash to start investing. You can invest with as little as $500 with most online share brokers or even less with the many fintech solutions available. For example, Acorns will invest your spare change in the share market or BrickX will let you buy bricks for as little as $100. Which means you really have no excuse to stop you getting started.

Stop passive spending: Often it's the small things that all add up to large things that can derail you financially. Take a weekend and start to cancel subscriptions that you have the best intentions of using but really are a giant waste of cash. Plus start to get organised and spend your weekends preparing for your week so the excuse of "I'm too tired to sort my lunch out tomorrow" doesn't happen.

Track spending: I'm not a fan of budgets in the same way that I'm not a fan of diets. I am a fan, however, of being conscious around what you are spending. With so many free, online solutions available you can easily track what you're spending each week. Which means you might be horrified to learn you're spending $500 a month on entertainment but you can now do something about that.

Financial detox: October is the perfect time to detox. Many of you are busily sorting yourself out physically with detoxing and gym sessions so why not sort yourself out financially as well. A financial detox is a great way to stop yourself from mindless consumption. It's simply 30 days without buying anything new. If your head is spinning and you're thinking you couldn't possibly - then it's probably exactly what you need.

Shop your credit card around: With most credit card interest rates more than 20 per cent and many of us not paying our cards off each month, it's time to shop that credit card around. You might opt for a low interest rate with an interest-free period, a lower interest rate and no points, or switching to an interest-free transfer balance card.

Shop your home loan around: Sure, you might think this one is a lot of work but it's really not and it could save you thousands (or even tens of thousands) every year. Contact a broker, let them know your interest rate and find out if you can get a better deal. Or head to a comparison site, such as finder.com, and do it yourself.

One goal: Your new year goals might have been to buy an investment property, pay down your mortgage, pay off your credit cards and organise a take-off fund. When one didn't happen you simply gave up. Instead, pick one that you know you can achieve before the end of the year and concentrate on achieving that one financial goal. Then next year choose another one.

Set up a direct debit: Stop being the saboteur to your finances by making sure your money is hidden before you can access it. Set up direct debits so your pay is whisked away to mortgages, savings accounts, credit cards and more before you can get your grimy hands on it. It's all about saving you from yourself.

Do your recon: We tend to buy and do what we know because it's easy. So, when people buy investment properties they look in the area where they live. Instead, talk to a property researcher, read books, go to seminars and start to become educated around what you could be doing with your finances. It's much better than taking financial advice from your physio, your dentist or your best mate's caddy.

Spring clean sale: Declutter your house, your kid's rooms, your wardrobe and your shed and then sell the proceeds on gumtree, ebay or a similar site. Then with the money you make, invest in shares or fintech, pay down credit card debt or pop a buffer on your mortgage. It's about turning your trash into much needed cash.

Sure, you might have missed the mark on some of your financial goals this year but there is still time to make a difference. Just pop your head out of the sand, pick at least one thing from this list and in the words of a modern day philosopher, just do it.

Melissa Browne is CEO of accounting firm A&TA and financial planning firm The Money Barre and author of Fabulous but Broke.

This story A 10-step financial detox to get fit for Christmas first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.