Some people never seem to have any trouble at all when it comes to their finances. They can stay organised, they know exactly how much they have in their accounts in all times, and they never seem to have any problems talking about it. But for a lot of people, talking about money can bring them out in a cold sweat. They find that it is an almost insurmountable challenge, and as a result they do their very best not to look at their finances. And we do not need to tell you that when you are not paying attention to what your money is doing and where it is going, then things can start to go wrong quickly without you noticing.
If you are one of those people who would rather do almost anything rather than sit down with their last few months’ bank statements, or if you are anxious about how you are going to keep your finances steady for the first few months of this year, then we have put together some simple tips to help you.
Start With A Plan Here is one of the most important things to remember about getting to grips with your finances: you can’t start taking control of them until you actually sit down with them. With that in mind, if you are finding that first step difficult, sit down and make a plan. If you have a partner, then it makes sense to do this together. Think about what it is that you are worried about, whether it’s the amount of money going in, the amount of money you are spending, or how you are going to afford a big upcoming cost. Once you have answered this question, then it is time to open your bank statement.
Make Sure That You Understand Your Spending When we are doing our best not to think about money, our spending can get out of hand quite quickly. It is not all about big purchases, it is more often those small costs that we tend to ignore. This is especially true right now as the cost of living is currently surging. Going through the last few months of bank statements will show you where your money is going and help you to identify any costs that you can cut. One of the most important things to remember is that you need to be able to identify every transaction on your statement. Look at your standing orders and direct debits. Can you explain each one? Do you remember making that purchase? Is there anything that you don’t recognise? This brings us to our next point.
Security Is A Big Issue Right Now One of the reasons why it is so important that you can account for every transaction is that cybercrime is currently at sky-high levels. You may have read the news stories about Royal Mail scams, or the big businesses being held to ransom by cyberthieves, but this is an issue that has affected a huge number of people over the last couple of years and no one is immune. If there is anything in your bank statement that you don’t recognise, then you need to alert your bank as soon as possible. It is also important that you change your log-in details. For any accounts that are associated with your bank account, you should be using two-factor authentication and a password generator.
Look For Ways That You Can Add A Little Extra We have all been feeling the pinch recently, and with things the way that they are, it seems like we are going to be facing rising costs for a while yet. If you are anxious about making sure that you have enough in your account at the end of the month, then you may want to think about how you could earn money online. There are plenty of options available, including filling out online surveys and testing websites. You could always think about freelancing if you have skills that employers are looking for. Online tutoring is a great way to fit some extra work around your existing schedule, for example.
But you could also think about whether your service providers could be a way for you to add some extra cash. Many energy and broadband suppliers, for example, offer signing up bonuses or incentives to not switch. Others offer incentives for their users to refer a friend to sign up. Lebara offers a SIM-only plan that is a great choice for anyone who is sick of signing up for expensive services that they never use and who do not want any surprises waiting for them in their bill at the end of the month. And with the Lebara refer a friend scheme, you could earn up to £50 for getting a friend to sign up.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Advice When you are feeling like you have lost control of your money, it can feel like this is a problem that you need to deal with alone. There is still a lot of shame around the idea of needing help when it comes to your finances, but the truth is that this is something that we all deal with at one point or another. What’s more, trying to pretend that this is something you can handle by yourself when you know that you can’t, or trying to pretend that there is not a problem at all, is only going to make things worse.
Reach out to the people close to you if you feel like you are starting to struggle. There is a clear link between debt and mental health so make sure that you keep talking. It is so important to communicate with your partner if you are in financial difficulty, and you have a responsibility to make them part of the process. If you are not sure about how you are going to make payments in the next few weeks and months, then get in touch with your bank to talk about your options. Remember that it is always worth seeking advice before taking out a loan, as these short-term loans can often come with tough repayment dates and high interest rates that will make things harder in the long run.
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