Right now, we are seeing a lot of worrying news about price increases across the board. We have seen stories about how energy prices are going up, the cost of food at the supermarkets is going up, and we will have to pay more taxes on top of that. We are all thinking about reducing our spending, making smarter choices with our spending, and starting saving for the future. But it has not been easy over the last couple of years. So many of us have been worried about our employment since March 2020, and a lot of us have been forced to find new jobs.
However, the good news is that there are always better habits that you can get into with preparation and care. If you are one of those people who finds dealing with their budgets to be extremely stressful and if you avoid looking at your bank statement if you can possibly avoid it, then it is time to start getting a lot more proactive. It is no secret that there are going to be tough times ahead, but here are some financial habits that will make life easier for all of us.
Stop Being Afraid Of Your Bank Statement
If you find it tough to look at how much money you are spending every month, and if you would struggle to answer questions in depth about where your paycheque goes, then it really is time to sit down with your bank statement. We understand that it can be a little nerve-wracking, particularly if you are worried that you are going to have a lot less money to spare than you think you do.
But it is so important to understand precisely where every penny is going as we head into less certain financial times. So, make some time to go through your statements from the last few months. You can start by making a spreadsheet of all your main monthly expenses. We are talking about your mortgage repayments or rent, your energy bills, and any direct debits (insurance bills, for example). Work your way down to looking at how much you are spending on your weekly food shops and travel expenses. Get all the way down to the small incidental costs where you can identify a pattern, such as buying lunch out on days that you are at work.
Make Sensible Cuts
When you start to worry about your finances, there is a big temptation to start cutting indiscriminately. We know that we need to make cuts, so why not start with the biggest expenses? The answer is simple: there are some expenses that you cannot afford to cut. Take insurance, for example. Insurance costs can really start to stack up when you look at everything you are covering home, car, pet, life, and even employment insurance. But the costs that you could be facing if you decide that you want to stop paying for insurance could be far, far bigger.
Instead, think about what cuts you can make that will not significantly impact your life. For example, many of us are subscribed to a number of different movie and TV streaming services and gaming memberships, but how often are we actually using them? If you signed up to a meal delivery service but you keep finding the boxes at the back of the fridge, then it is time to cancel that direct debit.
Do Your Research
One of the best financial habits that we can get into is doing more research before committing to anything. It is a cliché that things are so easily accessible online now that we sign up to things before, we have had time to think, but it is a fact of life. If you are thinking about investing in an asset or taking out a loan to cover a big cost, then it is so important that you do your research to understand exactly what you are getting into. For example, if you are moving home and you need to sign up with new providers for everything from energy to broadband, then take the time to compare the costs and contract terms before you do so.
Do not be afraid to dangle the possibility that you might be switching providers in front of your current suppliers as it may encourage them to offer you a better deal. If you find yourself in a situation where you need a pay day loan, it is absolutely crucial that you take the time to see what is out there and to make sure that you understand the terms and conditions. A great offer upfront may be hiding something a lot worse when it comes to the interest rates and repayment dates. The best way to avoid getting a payday loan that you are going to struggle with is to use a comparison site. Payday UK is a credit broker that will show you what lenders are available for your needs, and you can find a loan that is tailored to you with no obligation to accept.
Start Saving For Your Future
Ask any financial expert when you should start saving for your retirement and they will tell you that you should have started saving years ago. We know that it has been very difficult to find a way to put money away over the last couple of years, but now that things are looking a little steadier on the job market, it is high time that you started thinking about creating a stable financial future for you and your family. Find out what kind of pension plan your job offers and make sure that you are contributing to it. Some employers offer additional incentives such as contribution matching, which should be an absolute no-brainer.
You should also think about getting more proactive with your investments. If you have a chunk of money sitting in a savings account, then it really is not doing as much as it could be. If you are investing in the stock market, then research is absolutely crucial. Don’t put your money into anything that you don’t understand and get advice from experts before you take a flutter on anything that seems volatile. Remember that the best approach is to spread your investment over a number of different options instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. A diversified portfolio is much more likely to weather any market storms that may happen in the future. Above all, don’t make any sudden decisions. Listening to your gut is important but you need to use your head too.
When it comes to investing in property, getting on the property ladder has not exactly been easy over the last year or so as the market has absolutely skyrocketed. But experts are predicting that we should expect to see things cool down in the not-too-distant future. If you are thinking about buying property as an investment, it is important to remember that it is not guaranteed to increase in value. Do your research on the location and make sure that you inspect the property thoroughly before you commit to anything.