#AD – this is a collaborative post
Now I work in finance so you would assume that my finances are all in order, however even I sometimes can get a bit slack with how much we are spending.
Over the next few months, I am going to try and get a grip on our finances and start making plans for the future. With the cost of living always rising and our plans to move north when the kids are older, there is never a better time, than now, to get started. I would like to be clearning what we owe over the coming months and start saving as much as possible at the same time as chipping away on the mortgage.
If you are a little overwhelmed with money and find things catch you our by surprise, here are my top tips for getting through the month and planning for the future.
- Write all your income and outgoings down – This can be a little daunting, especially if you have been burying your head in the sand. However, before you can get a grip on anything you need to know the real costs to your family each month.
- Be realistic in your families needs – I know lots of us to have little treats and that is what life is all about, you can get your finances in order without having to cut all of your treats. You do however need to be realistic when doing this. If you are looking to cut spending and save/pay debts etc you are not going to do this whilst have 2 takeaways a week or eating out regularly. It is not about cutting everything though, why not have a monthly meal out instead as a treat?
- Plan ahead – One thing I have found easier when it comes to finances is planning ahead. I have a simple spreadsheet (though it can be a piece of paper!) that has all the months for this year and then what is due to go out that month. I add things such as road tax, insurances, birthdays etc which means at a glance I can see which months are tighter than others. It also allows me to plan a little better for those months by trying to save a bit in the build-up months to put towards it.
- Claim cashback and savings where you can – I’m not sure if it is British culture, but so many people seem to be ashamed at getting cash back or asking for a discount when making purchases. I use Quidco for all my online purchases and it earns me a little each shop (you can read more on this here). Also if I am unable to get cash back I will check around for a discount voucher, 10% saved here and there soon starts to add up!
- Don’t hide from the truth – The one lesson I have learnt from our family finances over the years is not to hide from the truth. Even when it looks awful, it is what it is and you can only improve it when you are honest with yourself on it. If your finances on month are just short, try and find ways around that month by saving a bit off the food budget for example. There are options such as Cash Lady short term loans which may work for you but they are not always ideal for everyone and really are the last resort short term option.
Whatever your current financial situation, the likelihood is there is room for improvement along the way. The only thing you need to do is be open and honest with yourself on your situation, then set a plan to get to where you want to go.