No matter how good you are with money, there are inevitably times in all our lives when we need to take stock and reassess how we’re managing our finances. There could be any number of reasons why you’ve decided it’s time to take control of your money – but whatever the reason, I’ve put together some top tips for taking control of your finances.
Make sure you have a buffer
In an ideal world, you’ll have some savings behind you. Some people say you should have enough money saved up to last you at least six months should you lose your income. Now, I’m a realist, I get that it’s not always possible to have such a huge amount of money stashed away. Having just a small amount saved up though can make a huge difference.
Think about it, what would you do if your boiler packed up tomorrow? Would you have the funds to pay for a big car repair bill? If the answer is no, then it’s time to do something about it. Having cash saved up means that you’re prepared for financial emergencies.
If you haven’t got any savings, then it’s a good idea to think about setting yourself up with another buffer whilst you start to build up an emergency fund. Many current account providers such as Think Money now offer a credit facility where you can borrow money short-term to fund unexpected expenses.
Evaluate your outgoings
Every few months, it’s a good idea to sit down, open up your online banking and have a look at where your money is actually going.
Are there any expenses you can cut back on? Do you really need that £1.50 cup of coffee on the way to work every day?
As well as the little things you might realise you’re throwing money at, there may also be monthly direct debits there that you just don’t need any more. If you’re really trying to save money, then think about cutting back on subscriptions that you don’t really need. Over the course of a year, you could save yourself a fortune.
Make sure you’re getting the best deals
There are lots of outgoings that we just can’t avoid – gas, electricity, water, council tax, insurances….the list goes on!
Some of these expenses will have fixed rates that you just can’t do a lot about! But there are areas where you can cut back or reduce your bill.
If you’re on a water meter, you need to make sure that the whole family is on board with cutting back on water use. Take showers instead of baths, get a water butt and collect rainwater to water the garden, turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. You’ll be surprised how much water you can save by taking a few simple steps. The same goes for cutting back on your energy bills. Make sure lights are only on when they’re needed (my children have a terrible habit of putting the bathroom light on even on a blazing hot day), unplug things when they’re fully charged and put an extra layer on when it gets a bit chilly.
Always, always shop around when it’s time to renew your insurance. You can save a fortune by switching and it really doesn’t need to be a hassle to do it! Use a comparison site to find the best deal and it’s a really straightforward process. You could save hundreds of pounds by switching.
Take some time to check that you’re on the best deal for your gas & electricity too. Providers have to be much more transparent these days and you can ask that they inform you if there’s a cheaper tariff.
*This is a collaborative post.
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