Money is something that will cause most of us to stress at some point in our lives. Some of us are better than others when it comes to managing our money. It may feel as though money is always disappearing through our hands. It comes in, and we barely even get to see it, and it is gone.
Here are a few very simple ways that you can take control of your money. There is no secret sauce when it comes to managing your finances; it just takes a little bit of planning and thought. Once you’ve made a plan and put it into practice, let it become a habit, and you will find that you have fewer money worries and maybe even be able to spend your money on a lifestyle that makes you happy.
Be Mindful About Your Spending
The key here is to know exactly how much money you have coming in. If you earn a salary and it is roughly the same amount every month, then this will be very easy for you. If you are self-employed or have a fluctuating income, look at a period of a few months and take your calculations from the least that you earn. That way, you won’t overstretch yourself, and on some months you might find that you have surplus to your plan.
Make a list of all of your outgoings. Start with your mortgage or rent at the top of the list and work down. Listing all of these things onto a spreadsheet will give you a very clear idea of where your money goes each month. Remember to include things like food and transport costs like fuel. These amounts might vary month-to-month; but, but looking at a few months expenditure, you can start to get a pattern and work out how much you spend on average.
If you find that your fixed outgoings are higher than your income, then you need to look at ways you can make a change either through reducing costs or increasing your income.
Once you know what your fixed outgoings are, you can determine how much you plan to spend on the weekly food shop and then how much money you might have that you can put aside, or spend on treating yourself.
Reevaluate Existing Debt
Go through any debt that you might currently have. If you have had the same credit card for several years and you still have money owing on it; chances are you are never going to pay it all off doing whatever you have been doing. It’s time for some tough love and to make a switch! Go online and compare credit cards. Many offer the ability to transfer the balance of an existing card at 0% interest. This makes it much easier to breakdown that debt as very often, with credit card minimum payments, we only actually cover the interest charges. However, keep in mind that with balance transfers there is usually a 3% fee that gets tacked on to your balance. Be sure to calculate the total before you make the switch.
You might want to look at a bank loan mortgage calculator to make sure that any other loans or mortgages you might have, are at the best rates they can be. If you are able to consolidate debts or move your mortgage, then it might save you a lot of money in the long run.
Set Up Automatic Payments
Using direct debits and standing orders wherever possible can save you the headache of forgetting to pay a bill. It also makes it easier for you to see what money you have going out of your account soon.
If you don’t have online banking, register for it as soon as you can. You can manage regular payments very easily through most banking apps.
You might be paying quite a bit more on bills than you really should. Often internet or cable providers hook us in with these amazing offers to get as customers, then a year or so down the line start increasing the prices when we’re not paying attention. Fast-forward a couple of years and that bargain we had for joining up is suddenly costing us three times the amount.
If you have a monthly payment for a service that you use and want to carry on using; see if there is anywhere else you can get it cheaper. Use price comparison sites and shop for the best deal. Make a note of contract lengths and try to find out what happens after the deal ends.
You have got a couple of options for going ahead and cancelling your old services. Many companies will offer to take this task onboard for you to help you with the switch, which is all very kind of them, however; taking the time to call your old supplier to let them know that they cost too much, and your leaving might be of benefit to you. A lot of companies have retention teams who have all the best deals up their sleeves. They are the extra persuasive members of the sales team, whose sole job is to keep customers. If they can offer you a better deal that you have found elsewhere, take the deal and negotiate with them to lock in that price for next year!
Cancel Subscriptions You Don’t Use
Remember that time you joined the gym? You probably went a handful of times, but life got in the way. Well, you’ve been paying for it for a long time and not using it at all. You can promise yourself you are going to make the effort and use it, but if you didn’t use it in all that time, you need to be honest with yourself; you are probably not going to use it now!
There are lots of subscriptions and memberships that we accumulate. There may have been a charity that you were persuaded to set up a monthly payment. It might sound harsh; but if it isn’t a charity that is close to your heart, you should not feel bad about cancelling that payment. By all means, though, do seek out a charity you care about, or that has a personal relevance to you and give to them instead.
Do you have any tips for getting your finances in shape? Let me know below!
About Money & Mimosas: Money & Mimosas was started as a passion project by Danetha, a former NFL cheerleader and CFO. After a brunch conversation with girlfriends, Danetha was inspired to launch a resource to learn how they could all enjoy life while being smart with their money. Because who doesn’t want to have their money and mimosas, too?