We all overspend at times. Here are 10 tips for getting control of your money and living within your means:
- Make a personal budget and stick to it. Track your spending for at least two weeks to find out your true outgoings. Note your daily and weekly spending, like food and transportation, as well as less frequent expenses, like car servicing. Keep track of everything you spend by saving receipts and using a notebook or a money-management app.
- Think about your financial goals. Do you want to save for a child’s university education? Buy a home? Pay off student loans or pay down debt? Would you like to decrease your debt? Increase your savings? Pay into a pension? Identify your top short- and long-term financial goals and create a realistic plan to reach them.
- Look for ways to overcome bad financial habits. Do you buy yourself treats when you’re feeling low? Spend money to reward yourself? If you don’t know how to overcome these habits on your own, seek support groups or counselling for help.
- Cut back to no more than three major credit cards. Cancel accounts that don’t offer competitive interest rates or that offer perks you don’t really need. Shop around for the best interest rates but be sure to check the small print, as low rates are often only for a short period of time. Better yet, operate on a cash-only basis. Buy only what you can pay for with a debit card.
- Call your credit card companies and ask for a lower interest rate. Many companies will lower rates to keep your business.
- Pay your credit card bills on time. Try to pay more than the minimum required.
- Shop around for the best TV, internet, and phone rates. Use a comparison website like uSwitch to get started. Call and ask if current providers can give you lower rates.
- Cut back on how often you eat out each week. Bring your lunch to work. Brew coffee at home or at work.
- Avoid impulse buys. For an item you “must have,” wait 24 hours before buying it. You may find that you don’t really have to have it after all. Find other activities that you enjoy, and avoid shopping as a form of entertainment.
- Talk openly about finances with your family. Talk about your financial goals, and come up with ideas together to reduce expenses and increase savings.
If you need some extra help or have concerns about your finances, please contact your Colleague Engagement Manager who can direct you to some further help and resources in complete confidence.
Contact The Money Charity for advice and guidance about debt and other money management issues. Click: The Money Charity.