Financial management is not easy if you have a busy lifestyle, and sometimes sitting back in the cold light of day will reveal some depressing figures; ones which show too many outgoings and not enough incomings.
So, how can you stem the tide and wrestle back control of your accounts? Here are four quick ways to re-evaluate your finances for 2016.
You’ll need to devote some time to critically analysing accounts and eliminating wastage. Start with old subscriptions and direct debits, even for a few pounds, that you keep putting off cancelling.
Planning food shopping at the start of the week, taking account of any sales or offers, is a good place to start. Many stores offer discounts on your first shop of £20 or more – here’s a few of the current offers. Don’t be tempted to go for ‘2-for-1’ offers on fruit or veg if you know there’s no chance you’ll eat the food before it rots. If you’re finding it tough spend one morning searching for vouchers and coupons for food and goods that you buy regularly.
Haggle And Look Around
The utility companies are waiting to be taken, and with price comparison websites in abundance just half an hour’s research could save you hundreds of pounds a year. The ‘Big Six’ are not the only providers as years of bad press has pricked the confidence of smaller suppliers to muscle in on the market, and it might be worth contacting them – although the giants’ prices are also falling.
Heating, electricity and (for most people) broadband are essential, but satellite subscriptions are not. A phone call telling your provider that you would like to leave the service might reap attractive dividends as they slice prices to try to keep your custom.
You can’t really haggle with your mortgage provider, but you can leave them. There are a huge range of lenders that might offer lower interest rates. You might have to pay a fee to leave your existing arrangement – do the sums before committing.
Cut Out Luxuries… But Not All Of Them
You must pinpoint all payments, which can prove difficult, especially if you’ve withdrawn cash and then can’t remember where it went. Alleviate that issue by only using your card to make payments for a month, and note where and when they were spent.
Fifteen nights out a month might be regarded as ridiculous, but life shouldn’t be a torture and you need some enjoyment such as the odd cinema visit or takeaway. A one-off indulgence, that isn’t too detrimental, will keep you motivated.
If you’re still in a quandary, investigate the possibility of getting some form of loan that can consolidate debts into one, more manageable outlay. You may wish to avoid the banks but a good financial advisor can often help; approaching early, before you’ve fallen into financial crisis, is preferable to trauma and (brutally put) the bank losing all its money.
In addition, most banks will set up a direct debit so you don’t miss the payments, meaning that you should clear them up without forgetting a payment here and there and damaging your credit rating. If the bank cannot help, consider looking at getting a cheap loan through other lenders or a company such as Car Cash Point.
Borrowing more should only be a last resort – try to reorganise your debt, rather than adding to it.