Seven Simple Tips for Keeping on Top of Your Finances

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Seven Simple Tips for Keeping on Top of Your Finances

Keeping on top of your finances isn't always easy, but few simple tips could help to make you more successful at managing your money and maybe even making some savings along the way.

Start with the basics

1. By basics, it means taking a long hard look at your current financial situation. Work out all the money you have been receiving in, as well as all the payments that go out. This exercise will show you the reality of your monthly commitment and perhaps even highlight areas where you can cut back. Do you still use that gym membership or read that monthly magazine? If not, cancel them and save yourself some money. Also check to see if your direct debits leave your account at a convenient time. If money goes out before you get paid - would eventually mean you risk missing payments and incurring charges.

2. Once you are aware of your outgoings, think about planning a monthly budget. Make sure all of your bills are covered first. Think about budgeting on your food shopping, spending a certain amount each week. Be realistic though; there is no point having a budget if you can't stick to it.

3. Try to use cash instead of cards. This tip might sound silly but it's incredibly effective, as watching your money physically leave your wallet, helps you see more clearly how much you're spending. Link this with your budget plan and if you find the amount you allowed yourself for the week is gone in two days, you definitely need to make some changes.

Don't miss out on savings

4. There are simple changes you can make when paying bills that might save you some money each month, such as choosing to pay by direct debit instead of cheque or opting for online billing rather than paper copies. Making these changes can give you discounts on your monthly charges. When it comes to utility bills, always try to read your meters when requested to ensure you're paying the right amount, not an estimated total.

5. Always keep a lookout for the best deals and make sure you aren't paying over the odds. Comparison sites can give you a clear idea of the cheapest providers across a number of areas such as utility providers and insurance companies. You might also consider doing your food shopping online, as there is less temptation to buy items you don't need and you can manage your budget more effectively as your total is always visible.

6. Make money from unwanted items by posting them on an online auction site. Those unused items that are just taking up space in your wardrobe could make you few pounds instead.

7. Try hard to put some money away each month. It might feel tricky at first, but even if you have few pounds left over, from your weekly budget, put it away for a rainy day. Even the smallest amount will build over time and give you an emergency fund that makes a great alternative to borrowing in future.

Author: Francesca
A freelance writer by profession lives in the UK and writes on behalf of IVA Experts

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