The start of the year is a tricky time for households and businesses alike. Many of us are still getting over the festive spending of the holiday season, and as a result businesses have to try harder to part consumers with their hard-earned money. If the holidays have left a black hole in your bank account, the good news is that there are lots of ways in which you can right the ship in 2020. No matter your job or circumstances or how many little ones or pets you need to take care of, a little preparation, a little planning and confronting your finances head-on can make a world of difference to your bank balance.
So, let’s look at some proven ways to get your finances back on track after a costly few weeks…
Always be budgeting
Budgeting is the essence of harmonious household finances… yet so few of us actually take the time to do it. We always think we’re in control of our finances, “eyeballing” the income and expenditure that go through the home… and we’re usually met by unpleasant surprises when our bank statements arrive.
This can cause us to bury our heads in the sand and keep using our debit and credit cards with reckless abandon until we propel ourselves to the end of our credit limits or overdrafts. The best way to take control of your finances is to take the bull by the horns and use a household budget template, sticking to it month by month.
It may not be the most glamorous activity, but it’s a great way of accounting for the little expenses that can slip under the radar and add up throughout the month.
Borrow if you have to, but borrow smart!
Even with a carefully managed budget, expenses can escalate and there may be times when borrowing is unavoidable. When this happens, make sure you borrow smart. There are lots of options available, even if your credit is less than stellar. If you’re in need of an instant loan, choose a provider with fixed fees and transparent costs. Make sure you know exactly what your monthly repayments will be and make sure you can factor them into your existing budget.
Don’t let credit card debt stay still
Speaking of borrowing, if you have a lot of credit card debt, the temptation to ignore it and hope that it goes away is completely understandable. But the reality is that this will see you waste a fortune on interest and simply prolong your debt. Ideally, you should keep moving your debts to new balance transfer cards with low-to-no interest. Sure, you’ll incur a fee for doing this, which will be added to the overall debt… but this will pale in comparison to what you can expect to save on interest. Here are some of the best balance transfer cards of 2020.
An ounce of planning is worth a pound of saving
Saving can be hard. But without proper planning, it’s nigh-on impossible. The trouble is that planning is arguably more difficult than ever when we have so much to tempt us, and brands spend a fortune on manipulating our psychology to get us to spend impulsively. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of food. Step into any supermarket and you’ll find a carefully designed sensory experience that’s engineered to separate you from your money. This is one of the main reasons why you should never do your food shopping on an empty stomach, when low blood sugar can lead you to impulse spend on the high carb, high fat, low nutrition baked treats that often great us when we walk into a supermarket.
Meal planning can be your best friend when it comes to managing your budget and keeping essential costs like food spending under control. Which is why I hope you’re checking out Meal Planning Mondays for tips and inspiration. Meal planning can help you to keep your diet healthy and free of impulse-bought treats while also helping you to make substantial savings…
And speaking of savings, it’s time to get your working for you again!
Have you been using the same high street savings account you had since you were a teenager? If so, there’s little chance that your money is working as hard for you as it could. Banks, like pretty much any other service provider, have an unfortunate habit of failing to reward customers for their loyalty. Which is why you should check out these higher interest savings accounts to see if they can make your savings work harder for you in 2020.