There’s nothing worse than being uncertain about your finances, but at some point in our lives, almost all of us have found ourselves in that situation. Luckily there are a few concrete things that you can do to make your life a little more financially healthy and to make your bank account a lot happier...
Cut Back On Non Essentials
First of all, it’s time to cut back on things that aren’t completely essential to your life. TAke a look at your everyday outgoings and start to figure out what exactly you could live without. First of all, what about those daily Starbucks? Make your own coffee and take it to work everyday instead, and make the Starbucks a weekly treat instead of something that you do all the time. If you belong to a gym, that’s another thing that you could cut out - there are plenty of ways to get fit and healthy that don’t involve paying out a lot of your hard-earned money for extortionately priced membership fees every month. Try starting to run instead, or maybe doing yoga at home. Hiking is also something that a lot of people do to get fit - and this time of year when the weather’s getting better is a particularly enjoyable time to start.
Pay Bills When You Get Them
Leaving all your bills until the end of the month is a surefire way to realise that you’ve almost completely run out of money before your next payday and that you still have to pay your energy, gas, phone and internet bills. To make sure that you don’t have to deal with emptying out your entire account every month, make sure that you pay your bills as soon as they arrive. Not only will this ensure that you don’t forget about them, but it’ll also make it a little less painful to see the money go out of your account.
Change Your Outgoings
Take a long hard look at what exactly your money is being spent on, and start to figure out how you could change that. Speak to your energy company for better deals, talk to your phone company - do you really use all that data and could you switch to a different deal? If you realise that you’re paying out more than you’d like to on your car, then consider using it less so that you don’t have to pay for as much petrol - walking is much cheaper and better for your health and the environment. You could also talk to a company like Money Expert car insurance to figure out a better deal than the one you’re currently paying. Finally, if your mortgage is getting out of control, try talking to your bank manager about whether there’s anything you can do to change that.
Look For Deals
It’s important to make sure that you look for deals when you’re out grocery shopping. Any buy two get one free deals are usually pretty good - but make sure that the product is one that you would have bought anyway! Buying food in bulk is often a good idea but you need to make sure that you have plenty of space to keep all your extra toilet paper and ketchup - spending half your live falling over industrial sized boxes of rice in your living room probably isn’t worth it for a relatively small saving.
Get A New Job
Getting a new job is the best and easiest way to start making more money. A lot of people don’t get paid nearly as much as they should - and many of us are much too afraid to ask for the salary that we deserve. It’s time to stop being shy in the workplace - the next time you have a review, talk to your boss about raising your salary in line with the current industry pay. A lot of companies will be perfectly willing to talk to you about re-negotiating your salary and will respect you even more for asking about it and for realising your own worth. If there’s only so far up the ladder that you can ascend in your current company then it’s a good idea to set aside half an hour each night plus some extra time at weekends to look for a new job. Make a list of everything that you’d like from a career and make sure that you follow it - talk to your potential employer in interviews about salaries, flexibility, and what exactly the role would entail. Being proactive in your career will ensure that you get exactly what you want and deserve.
Start A Strict Household Budget
It’s important to start a household budget if you don’t already have one. A lot of the time, households are haemorrhaging money simply because they haven’t thought carefully enough about what they’re doing with it. Use Microsoft Excel or a simple notebook to list all your incomings and outgoings - and make sure that your outgoings don’t exceed your incomings, of course! Make sure you’re completely honest with yourself about how much you’re spending so that you know where you can make changes and cut back.
Change Your Social Life
It’s time to change your social life a little so that you aren’t spending quite as much money. Of course, you shouldn’t stop seeing your friends or having fun - but there are ways to do it that aren’t quite as financially taxing. First of all, do your best to see your friends during the day instead of going out at night - let’s face it, cocktails can rack up a pretty substantial bill, and lunch can often be a lot more inexpensive. Invite your friends over to your house so you don’t get cajoled into going out for an expensive dinner, and get creative with the things you do during the day - look for museums with free entry and weekend street carnivals and festivals where you can choose exactly how much you spend. As we move into summer, these will get much more common.