Think about the future for a second. What do you envision? Do you dream of being debt-free, are you keen to move house, or do you long to have a nest-egg or a rainy day fund? If you’re hoping to brighten your financial future, here are some useful money mantras to adopt today.
Always Check Your Accounts
How many bank accounts do you have? How often do you take a look at statements or check your balances? If you have multiple accounts, you have credit cards or savings funds, it’s important to keep on top of what’s going on with your finances. If you’re prone to ignoring mail from the bank or you never look at your balance when you take cash out of an ATM, it can be difficult to keep track.
The first thing to do if you’re keen to take control of your finances is to pay more attention to your money. Thanks to Internet banking, it’s easier than ever to monitor spending, and it takes a matter of seconds to browse a statement. If you tend to avoid checking your balances, doing this on a regular basis could make a huge difference to your financial situation.
Work On Improving Your Credit Score
Do you know what your credit score is? If you don’t, it’s useful to have this information to hand. Your credit rating is a number used by banks and other financial organizations to determine the level of risk you pose. A high score indicates low risk, and this means that you should find it easy to borrow money if you’re looking to take out a personal loan or a mortgage.
If you have a low score, you’ll find it more difficult to borrow. Often, a low score is associated with a history of debt or past failures to repay loans or cover bills on time, but this isn’t always a case. If you’ve never borrowed money before, you don’t have any credit cards, and you don’t use your account frequently, you may also find that your rating is low, even if your balance is in the black. Improving your credit score is always beneficial. To do this, keep up with repayments, make sure you pay bills on time, and use your account more frequently. You can also increase your score by paying off credit and store cards.
Pay Down Your Debts
If you have debts and they don’t include a mortgage or a loan, it’s a good idea to try and reduce the amount you owe. If you’re paying off a mortgage or a loan, and you’re keeping up with the repayment schedule, this is absolutely fine. If you’ve got credit cards, store cards, or you owe money to an insurance provider or an energy company because you’ve fallen behind with bills, tackle these debts as a priority. Try and pay off cards on a monthly basis, and look into ways you could potentially reduce interest fees.
You may be able to switch to a different bank that offers 0% on balance transfers, for example. If you’ve got bills to pay, cover these expenses as soon as possible, as you may be liable for fees and charges for late payment. If you’re struggling, seek advice from a financial expert. There are ways of getting out of debt, and it’s always best to act before the situation starts to spiral.
Make Time For Budgeting
Do you tend to guess how much you can afford to spend when you go to the grocery shop, or you take the kids to the mall? If so, it’s time to embrace the art of budgeting. Budgeting enables you to track what you spend and to work out exactly how much disposable income you have. If you have a figure in mind, you can prioritize essentials, and hopefully, ensure you have a little left over for luxury items.
Budgeting is straightforward, and it really doesn’t take much time. Grab a notepad, open up a new spreadsheet or download an app. Write down or type in every incoming payment and every outgoing payment. It’s a good idea to make one column for regular payments, for example, your mortgage, your electricity bill, and your car insurance, and another for one-off costs, for example, Christmas gifts, a vacation, or a birthday party for your child. Once you’ve done your sums, you’ll be able to see how your financial situation is looking that month.
Get More For Less
Have you ever thought that you could be getting more for less? In an age when it’s possible to compare prices within seconds, you could be missing out if you’re still shopping in the same way as you were five or ten years ago.
If you’ve been with the same insurance or energy providers for years, you haven’t switched your phone or broadband contract for as long as you can remember, or you always go to the same store for your groceries, you could be missing out on substantial savings. You can often get more bang for your buck by shopping around and comparing prices online.
Take advantage of sites that do all the hard work for you. You may be surprised at the difference between companies, and you could pocket hundreds, even thousands, of dollars over the course of a year. Register with discount sites that will help you save on everything from clothing and kids’ shoes to pet food, restaurant meals, and movie tickets, and shop around before you renew insurance policies.
Is your financial situation is a little less rosy than you would like, or do you have grand plans for the future? If you’re keen to save more, reduce spending or get out of debt, there are steps you can take to improve the prognosis. Check your accounts on a regular basis, make a monthly budget, and take a look at your credit score. Shop around for the best deals, and aim to reduce debts as quickly as you can. If you’re in a sticky situation, seek advice. Financial advisers (LIKE ME!) can help to explain your options and ensure you’re on the right track.