Know your budget
It’s virtually impossible to start managing your money if you don’t know how much you have to spend. Making a budget and keeping on top of your incomings and outgoings is a step towards good money management. Start by looking at how much money you earn in a typical month and then how much you usually end up spending. Try not to leave anything out; add up your bills, travel costs, food shopping, cinema trips, Friday night drinks, and more. That'll help you see where your money is going and whether you’re spending more than you can afford.
Ask “Do I really need it?”
When you know how much you’re spending each month, you can start looking at whether you’re spending it on the right things. Of course, some spending is essential, but it’s worth looking at expenses you could get rid of. Start with the small things. Can you cut down to just one takeaway coffee a week? Could you take your lunch instead of buying it at work? Every time you reach for your wallet, ask yourself, do I really need this?
Don’t be afraid to shop around to get the best deal. You might be surprised at the savings that can be made by buying the same items more efficiently. It’s especially important when it comes to large purchases. Would going to an online broker offer you more finance options for your car? Could you switch energy supplier to get a better deal? Is your mobile phone contract the best one for you? Making small savings on all of these essentials can quickly add up.
Ask for help if things get tough
If you’re struggling with money and feel like you could lose track of your debt, don’t suffer in silence. Ignoring bills, feeling overwhelmed, and being afraid to look at your bank account won’t help you start managing your money better. Ask for help. There are lots of organisations out there that can give you free and impartial debt advice to help you get back on track. The sooner you start tackling your debt, the better.
Get friends and family involved
When you’re trying to manage your money and stick to a budget, friends, and family can help or make it harder! It’s all too easy to get swept up in the crowd and end up spending more than you wanted to. Tell the people close to you what you’re doing and get them involved. You could decide to have a girls’ night in once a month instead of a big night out or agree to have a budget for Christmas presents this year. The more people supporting your efforts, the better for your budget.
Set a savings goal
We all know we should be saving money but it’s hard to get started unless you have a goal in mind. Whether you’re saving for your dream holiday or a house deposit, make sure you know what your goal is and how much you need to save to achieve it. Aim to make saving a habit. You could try to save at the start of every month (before other expenses get in the way) or put the money you’d usually spend on your morning coffee or Saturday night takeaway into your savings.
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