Are you terrible with money? You probably just accept it as a part of your personality, like always being late or not being a morning person. We can’t all be good with money, just like we can’t all be good at everything, right?
But being good with money is something that everyone should strive for, it’s important for your future. Learning how to handle your finances can make you more responsible, and makes those big life moments like buying a house that much easier.
Think it’s too late to start being good with money? Think again. Take a look at the following tips to help turn your finances around for good.
Draw a line
If you’re living each month from paycheck to paycheck, you need to come to a point where enough is enough. A casual ‘I’ll do better next month’ won’t do, you need to be ready to take some serious action. Draw a line under your current habits and make a permanent vow to do better. Just like giving up smoking or deciding to lose weight, you need to take action now.
One of the best ways to start this is to work out what your financial situation is. That means working out all of your outgoings by going through your statements and making a note of all of your debts. When you know how much you owe and where your money goes each month, you can start making some big changes.
Clear your debts
Clearing your debts is an important step towards being better with money. Not only will this help your credit score, but the money spent on repayments each month can soon end up back in your pocket, and not the lenders.
There are a lot of ways to help get yourself out of debt. By clearing the minimums and making sure you pay off the highest interest rates first, you can start tackling your debts and start improving your finances.
Try to put as much money towards clearing your debts as possible. The quicker you pay, the less interest you’ll pay overall, meaning you’ll pay back less than if you only paid off the minimum payments each month.
Discover the benefits of budgeting
Budgeting is the simple approach to managing your money better each month. By setting yourself a budget, you will know exactly how much money is going on your bills and other outgoings, your savings, and how much is left for you to spend that month. Your budget can fluctuate according to whether or not you’ve been given any bonuses, or other income that adds to your earnings.
Creating a budget is simple, and if you abide by the 50/20/30 budget in which 50% of your earnings goes towards your needs such as your mortgage/rent, bills, etc. 30% goes towards your wants such as dining out, socializing, etc. and then 20% goes into your savings or towards paying of your debts. There are some great tools out there to help you manage your budget and stay on track.
When creating your budget, don’t forget about things like Christmas, birthdays and weddings. These can feel like unexpected expenses, and leave you struggling during the months you need to pay for them. By spreading out the cost over the year, you can make special occasions much more affordable.
Change your attitude to saving
How are your savings looking at the moment? If you tend to dip into your savings each month to help make it through to payday, it’s likely that the pot is almost empty. But you can change that easily.
Start by putting your money into savings on payday. If you try to do it at the end of the month, you’ll likely end up spending the money before you get a chance. Put your money into a savings account you can’t access easily – this is ideal for your long-term savings goals. You can also create an emergency savings fund you can dip into in emergencies, but keep this small to help you put more money aside into your larger savings account.
Use money-saving tips and tricks to help you save a little more each month. From cutting back on groceries to using discount codes to help you shop, it all adds up and make a difference. You should also do regular comparisons on your utility and insurance providers – there could be some easy ways of lowering your payments to help you save more.
Any money you save off something you would have been paying for, such as an item of clothing or a meal in a restaurant, put the difference aside. It could leave you with a nice amount to treat yourself in the future.
Read personal finance tips
One of the best ways to stay on top of your finances is to read personal finance news and blogs. You can get some great tips to help you get the best rates on mortgages, insurance, savings, etc. as well as pick up some great money-saving tips.
Read Fiscal Responsibility: It Could Improve Your Financial Present And Future, it’s a great article for helping you think about your financial future. Most of us aren’t thinking about our retirement or pensions, but by making a start on improving your finances now, you’ll be able to plan much better for the future.
Use an app that does it all for you
Think managing your money sounds like too much hard work? Let an app do it for you! There are some great money management apps designed to help keep your spending under control. They can help you stick to your budget, make you work out whether or not purchases are affordable and help you put aside a little more money each month.
With all of your money information available at the touch of a button, you can have greater control of your finances and not face any surprises mid-way through the month. Being able to see how you’re spending and sticking to a weekly budget will give you more money confidence and teach you some good habits going forward.
Change your spending habits
If you’re always quick to buy something you don’t necessarily ‘need’, why not change your approach? Instead of buying it there and then, take some time to think about it. By sleeping on a purchase overnight, you’ll likely find that by the morning, you’ve changed your mind – saving you money in the process!
As well as saying ‘no’ to more spending, think about changing the way you buy things. There’s a big focus on living sustainably at the moment, and you can get on board by buying second-hand and making more of an effort to invest in items that will last, as opposed to those that will soon end up in a landfill. From clothing to furniture, you can change your attitude towards shopping to help you waste less and contribute to a better environment.
Always have a savings goal
Getting serious about your finances is easier when you’ve got a goal in mind. Setting a savings goal, such as a house deposit or money for traveling, will drive you towards saving more, and giving you a fantastic reward at the end of it. Make sure you’ve always got a savings goal, or multiple goals, to help you plan for your future.
Whatever your current financial situation, you can turn things around to make some positive changes. From clearing your debts to changing your monthly money habits, there are ways to become better with money and improve things for your future. It’s never too late to start being good with money, so start now.