Life is busy and for many it can be a real challenge to juggle work, see friends and family, exercise, eat right, get enough sleep and keep on top of finances. Unfortunately, it can often be this last thing that gets ignored, which then causes stress.
Rather than worry or bury your head in the sand, we think it’s best to break things down into manageable chunks when it comes to your money. To help with this we’ve pulled together 10 simple steps you could take each month to help you take control of your finances and stress less about money.
- Set up a direct debit to put money directly into an account which is just for bills
If you get paid on a set day each month, set up a direct debit for the day after to move the amount for your monthly bills to another account. This will mean you’re organised and the money’s there ready to be taken. Also, a good trick is to round up the amounts so you’re putting a little bit more in each month. You’ll then have a buffer building up, so it’ll be less of a blow if a bill happens to be more than usual one month.
- Wait 24 hours before buying things
If you’re out shopping and see something you like, try the 24 hour rule. Instead of buying it there and then, walk away and think about it for the next 24 hours. If, after waiting a day you still really want the item and you can afford it, then go back to buy it. It’s the waiting period which should help you stop making impulse purchases.
- Save a little each month and set up a goal
A little bit here and there can add up to a lot over a year. Even if it’s just £25 a month, by the end of 12 months you’d have saved £300, so always try to put away any spare cash you have. Also, have a think about a goal to be saving towards, as this will help you stay focused.
- Put your change in a glass jar
Another great way to save is by having a glass jar at home where you and your family can put any loose change. Over time this will build up and then if you have a holiday or trip away planned, you could use the money towards your spending fund.
- Check your credit report
We recommend you take a look at your credit report and score every month. By doing so, you’ll be able to see a snapshot of your finances and see any changes month-on-month. Your credit report will show you any outstanding credit you have on mobile phone and utility bills, as well as a record of your mortgage payments, rent payments and any credit cards or loans you have.
- Ditch the cards
At the start of every month, have a think about what you’ve got coming up socially. Then, consider how much you can afford to spend after looking at what essential outgoings you have to pay for that month. When it comes to the day or evening out, take out the amount you want to spend in cash and leave your cards at home.
- Don’t go food shopping when you’re hungry
This might sound obvious, but it can be really easy to spend much more than planned if you go food shopping when you’re hungry. To avoid this, set aside a couple of hours a week or month to do an online food shop. This way you can set yourself a budget and will be less likely to get tempted by things when walking around the supermarket.
- Consider ways you could make small cutbacks
If you’re wanting to save a bit more money, take a look at your normal monthly spends and then think whether there’s any room to cut back slightly. For example, if you buy your lunch every day or a takeaway coffee, you could try and cut back to doing this a couple of days a week instead. It’s surprising how much the savings could add up.
- Put in a budget/financial planning hour
At the start of every month get the family together for an hour to plan out your spends for the month ahead. You can think about what you’ve got coming up and how much you’re likely to spend so you’re organised and on top of things. If you’ve got kids, it will help them realise the value of money from a young age.
- Talk about money
Often money worries come about when we keep things to ourselves and get overwhelmed or bury our heads in the sand instead of asking for help. If you have any concerns about your finances, it’s always good to talk things through. Try talking to someone you trust, or remember there are lots of organisations out there who can give advice. If it’s debt that you’re worried about, these may be able to help: http://www.stepchange.org/, https://www.nationaldebtline.org/ and http://www.rethink.org/
We hope you find these tips helpful and that you can use them to help you worry less about money. If you have something you do to keep on top of your finances, we’d love to hear from you. Tweet us @useyournoddle