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When you start to make efforts to monitor our finances, managing your money becomes a little easier. This week’s blog post looks at the methods you can use to keep track of your accounts and how you can control of your spend.
Technology is really useful, and new advancements mean we can now access the information we need instantly and more easily. Online banking apps on your mobile, for example, allow you to check what you have in your account at anytime, anywhere. No longer do you have to go into a bank, search for cash machine or wait until you’re at home to log onto a computer – access from your phone can be instant and this is really useful for checking your account and monitoring your spend. Be careful however if you use contactless spending – this doesn’t show up in your account for a few days so although you can check your balance, it might not be correct.
Start the month by creating a budget, highlighting what you need to pay and when. Do this as close to pay day as possible so you know how much you have left to spend after your expenses. This will deter you from spending more than you can afford.
Set up direct debits
Following on from your budget, set up direct debits for your bills so you know what is going out on what day. This makes sure your payments also go out on time and don’t incur any late fees or charges. Direct debits are a great way of organising your finances and save you the time and effort associated will paying your bills manually.
Keep a spending log
Jot down those extras you’ve purchased this month, and at the start of the next month have a look to see where your money went. We’re all guilty of small spends that seem harmless at the time – for example a midweek meal deal for lunch or a few snacks from the petrol station when we refuel, but it’s these costs that add up and we end up spending more than we had intended. Seeing those expenses written down can be a bit of a reality check and it highlights those areas where we are potentially wasting too much money. This also helps draw attention to ways in which we can make cutbacks.
Take cash out
Plan your weekly spend and draw out cash to cover your needs for the week ahead. When we have cash in our pocket we are more cautious with our spending so leaving your cards at home and relying on cash will help you stick to your budget.
Don’t make spontaneous, instant purchases and think about your needs first
When you’re out shopping it’s easy to lose purpose and get distracted by something else you’ve seen. However instead of going to immediately purchase it, take a few minutes to think is it really necessary and can you afford it? Is it a priority purchase or can it wait until next month?
Review your bills
Log into your household bills account and read your bills. Most providers now have online customer portals or apps that you can take advantage of so you can check your bill easily without having to call an adviser. Have a look through your bill and ask yourself whether you’re paying the right amount or, have charges been added that you weren’t expecting. If you’re not happy with your bills total you can then talk to your provider and look at alternatives – you may be able to opt for a cheaper plan.