As we settle into a new year it’s very easy to forget our good intentions and get bogged-down in everyday life. But for those of us who commit to getting our personal finances in order, it’s vitally important we don’t let our resolutions slip. If you’re planning a holiday this summer, it’s especially key to get your spending under control. Below are five simple ways to get your money situation in order, from filing and creating a housekeeping checklist to making debt disappear.
1. File everything
Make sure to keep all your paperwork safe and in good order – if you can’t find it you might as well not have it. Use ring binders, plastic wallets and labelled dividers to separate out documents from different bank accounts, pensions, personal credit cards and insurance providers. Spend some time putting it in chronological order so that the most recent items are easy to find and you know where to look for older information.
2. Budget carefully with a housekeeping checklist
Go through your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly expenses with a fine-toothed comb and work out how much you’re actually spending and receiving. To do this, you could try keeping a housekeeping checklist to have a better understanding of what’s actually happening at home. Once you’ve got a list of outgoings look through it and distinguish between needs and wants, prioritising the needs. Remember to try and have at least 6 months of your monthly outgoings covered in your housekeeping checklist in case anything unexpected happens.
3. Pay promptly
Once you know what you need to pay, make sure you identify when everything needs doing. Banks can charge large sums in overdraft charges and late payment fees so get on top of your deadlines to avoid the costs. Make a calendar of outgoings and work out any savings needed in advance. Online banking can be a helpful way of making payments without spending valuable time on the phone or going into the banks.
4. Get a good credit report
You never know when you might need a bit of extra cash, so make sure to keep your credit ratings high. There are a few simple ways of doing this, such as getting on the electoral register and using a ‘rebuild’ credit card to up your scores. Be careful of these, though, as they charge major interest rates – so only use them if you’re 100% sure you can make the repayments on time.
5. Prioritise debts and savings
It’s easy to be tempted by more immediate issues, but debts won’t go away, and savings are crucial – you never know what’s round the corner. Be sure to categorise these outgoings as needs rather than wants and if necessary, sacrifice on some day-to-day luxuries until your financial position is more stable.