When you made your new year’s resolutions, did you resolve to save money? Of course, you did! Most people say that they will change their spending habits, yet few people do it. We are now over a month into 2015, and so it is time to start sorting out your finances. When you don’t have control over your personal budget, it can feel as though every other area of your life is a mess. Here are some tips that will help you stay in the black and out of the red.
Photo by Helga Weber
Write down the essentials
Every month, you have things that you need to spend money on and extra expenses. You might not even know what bills go out of your bank account each month. If you have no idea what your outgoings are, you will never have control of your finances. Spend a couple of hours sifting through your bank statements to see where your money is going. Consider things such as your monthly travel expenses and food costs. Once you have added up all your essential spending, you can see what spare cash you have.
Ask yourself whether you need particular things
If you are buying things that you don’t need, which don’t enhance your life in any way at all, you need to ask yourself why that is. For example, if you spend money on a cleaning person every week, you could clean your home yourself instead. You need to question every outgoing expense so that you know it is necessary. When you are looking through your bills, you should ask yourself whether you need particular things or not. If you don’t need something, you should not waste your cash on it.
Photo by Ken Teegardin
Manage your bank accounts
Many people go for months at a time before they look at their bank accounts. If you don’t manage your accounts, you will find that you feel entirely helpless when it comes to finances. You need to be active when it comes to improving your financial situation. If you don’t already have it, it may be worth getting online banking. If you are not tech-savvy, you can always get printed statements instead. You need to ensure that you check your statements on a regular basis so that you know what money you have.
Allow for unexpected expenses
When you are working out your budget, you need to consider the unexpected expenses. Sometimes, we have no way of knowing that a bill is coming. For example, if you get an emergency tax bill, you will have no prior warning about it. Sometimes, you need to pay for things when they break. If your boiler breaks in an instant, you need to pay someone to fix it before you freeze. These expenses are unforeseeable. You should set some money aside in your budget to ensure that you can cover these things with ease.
Sometimes, a loan can help you out
There are times when a loan can help you fill the gap. For example, if you need to pay for something right now, but don’t get paid for a few weeks, you might want to consider getting a loan. Getting the right loan for you is essential to your finances. You should think about what you can afford and how you will pay it back to the lender. When payday comes around, you should aim to pay off your outstanding balance so that you don’t need to worry about the loan. Many people borrow small amounts of money to help them through tough periods.
Save energy (and money)
Everybody knows that they need to be energy conscious. When you are at home, you should always consider ways in which you can save energy. The price of electricity is soaring at the moment. That means that many people can’t afford the rising cost of their energy bills. The only way you can deal with this issue is to start being careful about the amount of energy you use on a weekly basis. You should be careful, and make sure that you turn everything off in your household before you go to bed. You should also ensure that you leave lights off when you don’t need them and use energy saving light bulbs.
Talk to your bank manager
Most people think that their bank manager is there to help them with getting money out of the bank. While the bank can help you with outgoings, your manager is also there to help you sort out your finances. Most major banks now offer a personal finance coach to help you understand how to manage your money. If you are in debt, you probably have a massive fear of visiting the bank to talk to people. The only thing you need to be afraid of is ignoring your financial problems. When you make positive steps towards improving your finances, you will feel 100% better about them than you do now.
Claim any benefits and extras
If you are on a low income, you might have the right to get some extra benefits from the council. Few people look at their options when it comes to claiming money. If you find it difficult to live on your current income, there may be a scheme out there that can help you. You should make sure that you investigate all the benefits and social schemes, which are available. You could get money every month, which will help to relieve your financial burden.
Get selling your old things
Everyone has things that they no longer need. In your lifetime, you have probably gathered a whole range of stuff. Some of the things you own will be precious and valuable to you. Other things will be useless, and you might wonder why you are holding onto them. There are many places you can sell things online, and so you should consider doing so to make some extra cash. The most obvious place to sell things is eBay, but there are also loads of other apps and sites where you can sell your old stuff.