Once you’ve made sure you’re claiming all the help available to you, it’s time to get your money organised. Start by collecting up all the important documents you’ll need. We’re talking about bills, statements, receipts, payslips and so on – anything that’ll help you pinpoint exactly where your money’s coming from and where it’s going. Keep an eye on your bank balance throughout the month so you’re never caught by surprise by an automatic payment that leaves you shorter than you’d realised.
It’s worth being systematic about this. For instance, you might find it helpful to set some time aside each week to look through your finances, pay any outstanding bills and check how you stand. You’ve already noted down any particular times when you’re likely to overspend, so this is where you start using that information to make your financial planning easier and more effective.
Before you know it, you’ve already made your first real budget. Now it’s time to get into the real details. Look at your regular costs, and sort out the essential ones from the ones you can actually control. Essential costs would include things like your rent or mortgage payments, energy and phone bills and your Council Tax. If you’ve got debts racking up interest, remember that they’ll almost always mount up faster than the interest on any savings, so it’s a smart move to pay them down first before you start socking extra cash away.
If you need to get a tighter grip on your spending, ditch the plastic and try going cash-only for a while. We overspend so often because it’s being made easier to splash out all the time. At the start of the week, take out the amount of money you can afford to spend in cash, and stick to the limit. At any time, a quick glance through your wallet will give you an instant running total of what you have left to spend. For your essential costs, setting up Direct Debit payments will help make sure they don’t stack up. If you’re still struggling, get some of the debt advice we suggested earlier – and take a look at the government’s Breathing Space service to see if it can help. Speaking of breathing space, while you’re doing all this, make sure to give yourself a moment to take stock of how you’re feeling. Track how your mood changes as your finances improve. You might be surprised how much tackling one can improve the other.
Keep checking back here for more money tips and updates. We’re experts at saving you cash and we’re always here to help. That’s the reason why you’re better off with RIFT.