Have you been guilty of spending beyond your means since the UK lifted all restrictions? With festivals, holidays and meals out back on the cards, many people are likely to be feeling overstretched right now. Getting your finances under control quickly will help you avoid too much lasting damage.
Here are five practical ways to reign in your spending and get your finances in order.
Make a budget
We’re all told about the importance of budgeting, and it’s the ideal starting point if you feel like you’ve lost control.
Write down all your necessary outgoings like rent or mortgage payments, bills and food, and subtract them from your monthly income. This figure is how much you have left over for everything else and will tell you if you’re living within your means.
There are a wide range of apps you can use to make, tweak and track your budget conveniently.
Look for opportunities to trim your expenses
The process of creating a budget is likely to throw up some areas in which you can afford to cut back.
Perhaps you’re overspending on energy bills and need to switch supplier, or your weekday lunches and coffees are adding up to more than they should. If transport costs are to blame, consider walking, cycling or car sharing where possible.
Cancelling unused subscriptions is another simple way to save. Do you get value out of your gym, music and TV memberships?
Use a prepaid card
Prepaid cards are ideal for budgeting as you can only spend as much money as you load onto them. This is different to credit cards or debit cards with additional credit or overdraft facilities that make it easier to run up debt.
You could set yourself mini budgets for days and nights out and limit your opportunity to overspend by adding only this amount to the card.
Pay off any debts
Being in debt isn’t a nice feeling no matter how much you owe. Try to pay any debts off as quickly as possible to gain a greater sense of control, then work to avoid the triggers that got you there in the first place.
One in ten shoppers who use Buy Now Pay Later services report being pursued by debt collectors, for example. Is online shopping best avoided when you’re feeling bored?
Set financial goals
Having clear financial goals in mind can provide the motivation you need to save. It’s common to include a mix of short-term goals such as new clothes or furniture, and longer-term goals like getting married or moving home.
Your financial goals should have a clear amount and timeframe assigned to them so you can track your progress as you go along.
Taking control of your finances can be an empowering process. Try these tactics to start building a better future for yourself.