Our financial situations can be a real burden on our lives. It is no secret that while money doesn’t make you happy, it makes life easier. We have no choice but to earn some sort of income to pay the bills we need to pay to survive. But, having said that, you could be earning an income and not having much to show, apart from your commitments being met, for the effort you have put into it. Working isn’t always going to be a bed of roses, and not everyone loves the job they do. So could you be helping yourself when it comes to your current financial situation? Could you make things better? I wanted to share with you some of the things that you could consider doing.
Look at how much leaves your account each month
If you are planning on overhauling your finances then the best advice is to get a clearer picture of what is leaving your account each month versus what is coming in. These days because of the ease of card payments and direct debits, we don’t often have a clear grip on how much is being spent. Compared to many years ago where physical payments were made by writing cheques or the use of cash was much more common. Grab you last few months bank statements and start highlighting the debits out. Deducting the total against how much you bring in will give you the disposable income you have left. You may find by doing this exercise that you highlight some of debits that you don’t need anymore. Things that can be cancelled which in turn will go towards extra money to be saved or used for other things in life. Doing this can also help you when it comes to my next suggestion.
Changing providers could save you money
Once you have your debits in mind, now would be the ideal time to start thinking about potential savings that can be made to them. These bills need to be paid, but are you paying the lowest possible price for them? Possibly not. Energy, for example, can be a standard direct debit leaving your account each month, but if you haven’t changed the deal you are on in a while, then the chances are you are paying too much. Switching providers for things like energy may sound hard work, but the companies tend to handle it all for you, which makes it much easier to process. In these cases loyalty doesn’t pay, and these companies save their best deals to attract new customers. The same can be said for other payments and bills such as insurance providers or even a mortgage. Once you are out of your initial deal period, you are best to shop around for the next deal before the price goes up. Doing these checks regularly, every quarter or six months, can make sure that you only pay what is necessary, keeping your outgoings at an all time low.
Look at the spending you make out of choice
There is the type of spending that is necessary, but one that you have complete control over. One big example of that is your food shopping. We need food to survive, but are you spending more than is necessary? Are you wasting money by not eating all of the food that you buy? There are simple changes you can make to your habits to ensure that you only spend what is necessary for these things. Meal planning can be a great way to combat your food bill. It enables you to write a list for the things that you need and therefore only spend what is necessary. There are other methods you can apply to shopping such as using coupons, discount codes and vouchers to help bring the cost down. It can work for other areas of spending too such as clothes shopping, days out or meals in the evening.
Tackle debt and reduce the outgoing
If you look at your monthly outgoings you may find that another big chunk of money is dedicated to paying off debts. This could be credit card debts, loan repayments or store cards and accounts. However, actively taking time to try and reduce the outgoing without necessarily paying off less than what is owed could be a crucial way to help overhaul your budget. Balance transfers of credits cards to accounts with decent rates or even a zero interest offer could be beneficial. Meaning that what you do pay on to that card is reducing the balance, rather than paying towards and interest cost. There are websites online that could help you find that best deal to do these sorts of things. You might also want to look at combining debts into one loan repayment, giving you a fixed payment and a payment plan to have it all paid off for good. There are things you can do to keep the costs down while making it your focus to pay it off once and for all.
Could you be making any extra income?
Finally, could there be anything you could be doing to earn any extra income each month? The extra could be used towards debts or as your savings money to help you pay for vacations or other luxuries in life. There are things you could do in your spare time, if you don’t have the opportunity at work to increase your earnings through sales or commissions. You could look at decluttering your home, and selling unwanted items online on platforms like eBay. Maybe using the spare time you do have to fill out online surveys, perform mystery shops, or take advantage of some of the other online hustles you could do. Sometimes you have to be proactive to try and change your situation for the better and using time in the evenings or the weekends could be the answer.
I hope that these tips help you to overhaul your finances and improve your financial position.