The summer is over and we’re all fully back at work. Now is the time that lots of people take a good hard look at how they manage their personal finances. To help you do so, we’ve set out 6 ideas that if you can turn them into habits, will transform your every day relationship with money for the better!
Set yourself financial goals
Don’t just drift along spending money in an ad-hoc fashion as the need or desire arises! Instead set yourself some financial goals. Yes some might be big important goals such as retiring early or buying a second property. But they don’t all have to be long-term, big financial goals! Give yourself rewards along the way, if your goals result in better financial practices. If you achieve your objective of saving an additional amount ever month, treat yourself to a night out or a weekend away. This will help to keep you motivated to continue the new better practices!
Record your spending for a few months
This one probably sounds the easiest but actually is one of the most difficult to implement. If you want to gain a clear picture of your spending habits, you need to record your spending over a few months. However the key to success here is to record every euro, not just approximate amounts. If you keep just a rough record, you’ll inevitably leave out some items or giving yourself the benefit of some big “rounding differences”! Instead if you diligently record every amount you spend, you’ll soon get a clear picture of where you’re possibly wasting money and will quickly identify where easy savings can be made.
Spend less than you earn
Sounds obvious but how many of us are living from month to month, dipping into the credit card to get us to payday? While it’s often not easy, we’ve all got to live within our means, keeping our expenses below the level of our income. While this mightn’t result in the luxurious lifestyle we all yearn, living beyond our means is only going to store up a whole host of trouble for the future!
Pay yourself first
With the economy back on track, hopefully everyone is starting to see an increase in his or her income again. This just might be the opportunity to start saving for the future by saving your increase in take-home pay. To make this happen though, you need to set up a direct debit / standing order for this money to leave your current account immediately after payday. Otherwise, the increased amount will start disappearing as you loosen your purse strings a bit!
Use your credit card! But pay it off every month!
This one requires financial discipline, so proceed with caution! This idea will only work if you pay off your credit card in full every single month. But your credit card can actually help you save money in this new era where free banking is harder to find. Because every time you go to the ATM, use your debit card or write a cheque, you may be racking up bank fees. However if instead you use your credit card and pay off your bill in full and on time each month, you avoid bank fees. However, this one is only for very disciplined people, as any slippage will result in extremely high interest charges that will quickly dwarf any savings you might have made.
Protect your income
We’ve kept the most important one until last! All your financial goals and plans will go up in smoke if you lose your income as your income enable you to keep the show on the road from month to month. So make sure that if you are unable to work due to illness or an accident that you won’t be left high and dry. You can protect your income in these circumstances. Taking out an income protection policy will provide you with a replacement income in the event o you being unable to work because of illness or an accident. So at least you can rest easy that if something happens to your health that results in you being unable to work, this is not the end of your financial hopes and dreams. And will allow you focus on getting back on your feet again.
So these are a few thoughts that hopefully will help you to eke out the best results from your hard earned cash. Please feel free to give us a call if you want to discuss any of these habits with us or indeed to ask us to take a look at your personal finances and help you to manage them better.