Managing your money can be overwhelming, but with the right knowledge, it can become a more manageable task. We’ve put together some tips to help you deal with difficult periods and regain control of your finances.
Creating a budget
Creating a budget can help you take control of your finances and start working towards your financial goals. Your budget should be a personalised, itemised summary of your expected income and expenses for a specific period, typically one month. Rather than being restrictive, think of your budget as a tool to help you achieve your financial goals.
Here are six simple steps to help you create a budget:
Before you embark on setting a budget, find a good template you can use to fill in spending and income data. It’s easy and efficient to create or download a basic monthly budget spreadsheet.
- Gather all your financial statements.
- Record all sources of income.
- Create a list of monthly expenses.
- Categorise expenses into fixed and variable expenses -Fixed expenses are those that stay relatively the same each month. They included mortgage or rent, car payments, internet service, credit card payments, and so on.
Variable expenses are the type that will change from month to month. They include groceries, petrol/travel, entertainment, eating out and gifts.
- Total your monthly income and monthly expenses – This is where the spreadsheet really comes into its own.
- Adjust your expenses – Be realistic when making adjustments, and don’t be afraid to cut back where possible.
- Track your expenses – After you have set up your budget, it’s imperative that you monitor and record your expenses each month and make adjustments to your spending as needed to keep you on track and within your plan.
Additional tips to save money:
- Shop smart – look for sales, use coupons and compare prices before making purchases.
- Cut back on unnecessary expenses – assess which expenses can be reduced or eliminated.
- Plan meals ahead of time and cook at home instead of eating out.
- Look for free activities for entertainment – museums, parks, and community events are often free.
- Use public transportation, bike, or walk instead of driving to save money on petrol and transportation costs.
- Cashback apps and websites can help you save money on everyday purchases. Some examples are TopCashback, Quidco, and Honey.
If you can’t pay your bills
There are things you can do if you’re struggling to pay your bills.
It’s important you don’t ignore your bills. Speak to the organisation you owe money to – they might be able to help by letting you pay smaller amounts or take a break.
It’s also worth telling your bank or building society if you’re struggling. If you don’t normally have an overdraft, they might agree to let you have one.
Finally, it’s important to take care of your mental health during difficult financial periods. Stress and anxiety can make it difficult to manage your finances effectively. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your financial health. Take time to practice self-care activities like meditation, exercise, and spending time with loved ones. Consider seeking professional help if you’re struggling to cope.
Don’t let your financial problems overwhelm you. Take small steps towards improving your situation, such as creating a budget, exploring new job opportunities or seeking advice from a financial advisor.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Reach out to family, friends, or community organisations for support.