You work hard all month, but it’s only been three days since payday, and you are already out of money. Does this sound familiar? If yes, you are far from alone.
The number of families having to rely on their overdrafts as well as credit cards and short-term loans has increased dramatically in the last 12 months, with many struggling to keep their heads above board. Fortunately, if this is the case for you, there are steps that you can take to make your financial situation more manageable. Keep reading to discover five simple steps that you can take right now to manage your money better.
1. Stop burying your head in the sand
Money worries are the worst, with debt having the ability to negatively impact both your mental and physical health. However, the worst thing you can do if you are in debt, or it appears as though you will soon get into debt, is to pretend that nothing is happening.
Debt will not simply disappear if you ignore it. Demands for money will continue to come in the post, and your situation will quickly spiral. Instead, monitor your finances regularly and cancel any services you no longer use. If you have credit card debt, make sure that you switch to a 0% credit card if you can. If you have any loans, try and pay more than the monthly minimum each month so that you can pay off your debt quicker.
If you feel in over your head when it comes to your debt and it is impacting upon your health, get in touch with a debt charity who will be able to offer you free advice and support.
2. Create a plan for your money
If you are barely making ends meet, it may seem like there is little point in creating a long-term financial plan, but that is simply not the case. Even if you are unable to save at the moment, you can still plan ahead and take control of your money for the future.
For example, by considering the time value of money concept, which works on the premise that the money you hold now in the present is worth more than the same amount of money to be received in the future, you can see how timely investments can improve your financial situation in the long-term.
3. Review your budget
Although most people know the importance of setting a budget, not many take the time to review theirs. However, this is crucial as the price of products and services do change (mostly for the worse), and therefore, you need to adjust your budget accordingly.
Reviewing your budget can also help you to determine areas where you are spending too much and areas in which you can make savings. If you struggle to make a budget and stick to it, there are so many useful budgeting and saving apps available that will do all the hard work for you.
4. Save rather than splurge
Today’s consumer culture is very much geared towards spend, spend, spend. In fact, with the ability to buy nearly everything, from cars to white goods, clothes to home décor items, on hire purchase, very few people actually know how to save up for a big purchase rather than just buy it immediately.
However, the danger with hire purchases is that your monthly payments can soon add up, and before you know it, you are not earning enough to cover your monthly expenses. Avoid this by setting up a savings account that is specifically for big purchases such as a new car, furniture, and holidays abroad.
5. Be consistent in your effort
Many households fall into the trap of being really good with money for a month or so and then reverting back to bad spending habits. If this is the case for your family, there are ways to overcome this challenge:
- Firstly, do not create a budget that is too restrictive as you will just be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, be realistic when it comes to cuts and make sure you leave some money, however small, for life’s little luxuries.
- Secondly, set yourself both short and long-term goals as this will help you to stay motivated and on the right track month in and month out.
- Finally, make sure that you get the whole family involved in your money-saving efforts, as this will give you the best chance of success. Plus, it is always a good idea to instill the importance of managing money in your kids, whatever their age.