Money makes the world go round, but if you never seem to have enough of it you can feel like everything is spinning out of control. Are your friends buying houses, upgrading their cars, and jetting off on expensive summer breaks, while you’re left renting a house share, catching the bus, and camping in the rain?
Feeling like you don’t have enough money can have major negative effects on your health and happiness. An unexpected bill can throw everything out of balance, debts can quickly build up and feel insurmountable, and you can be left wondering where it all went wrong.
There are plenty of reasons why your finances might need a swift tune-up, and it doesn’t have to be an impossible task. Here are some of the common reasons why people struggle with their finances, and some top tips on how to improve the situation.
This is probably the cause of 99% of financial problems, and it often also seems like the hardest to fix. You can’t just go and ask your employer for a raise whenever you want, but what you can do is cut down on your out goings with some simple changes:
- Switch your usual supermarket for a discount option, or swap branded items for supermarket own label. You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to your total, and unless you have the tastebuds of a top food critic, you probably won’t notice the difference.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it. If you plan the meals you’re going to make before you go, and buy only the necessary ingredients, you won’t end up putting impulse purchases into your basket. This is a simple way to start a household budget and it will pay off in the long run.
- Switch your utilities supplier. If you’re on a standard tariff, you’re definitely paying too much. Do a quick online comparison to find a cheaper provider for gas, electric, broadband, tv, and phone bills and you could make some huge savings on your next bills.
- Cut back on unnecessary purchases and avoid replacing anything that isn’t broken unless you have already saved up the money to do so. Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you need it, and it is never worth getting into debt over.
Debt, especially long-term debt, can cast a depressing shadow over your affairs if not properly managed. It’s worth taking the time to pay off debt quickly, because you can then start to save extra money. Remember, the interest rates on savings are always much lower than those on loans and credit cards, which means there’s no point saving instead of paying off debt, you’ll just be losing money.
Start setting aside a set amount each month to pay off your cards. Make sure it’s more than the minimum payment or you won’t be making a dent in the balance.
If you’re self-employed, remember that you also must calculate your own taxes and make regular payments to the IRS. You can use pre-printed smart tax forms to keep on top of your taxes and make filing them one less thing to worry about.
Saving isn’t just important for helping with large purchases like a car or a house, but it gives you an emergency fund for anything that goes wrong. If your car breaks down, your dog needs an operation, or you suddenly lose your job, you’ll need that emergency fund to cover associated costs. Without it, repairs are coming out of your monthly wages, which can leave you without enough money for essentials – and that is how debt is born.
A positive attitude and a budget will go a long way towards fixing financial problems. Be savvy, look for savings, and cut out anything you’re paying for that you don’t need.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.