I’m so pleased I know more about managing money after getting out of debt. My lack of knowledge was how I got into debt after all. Going through that has been a big learning curve and I really feel more confident about money management. I’m not saying I’ve got it totally sussed but It definitely feels like it is in control now and isn’t so scary. I don’t get overwhelmed when I look at my bank accounts and I don’t panic. Actually – I now check my bank account which is in itself a change!
Here are my top tips for managing your money
- Have all your regular payments (direct debits and standing orders) set up to leave your account straight after pay day. You will then know where you are for the rest of the month.
- If you are ever paid early (for example in December) move your salary to another account and pretend you’ve not been paid yet. It will help you keep on top of your money, and make the following month seem less long.
- If you need to take out a credit card. Look for the best offer appropriate to your circumstances. Ensure you understand the terms and conditions and the end date for any offers. For example – a 0% card will still require you to make the minimum payments each month, and make sure you’ve cleared the balance before they start charging interest at the end of the 0% period.
- Have a budget! Track all income and outgoings. You can see what your disposable income each month is. Plan to set a percentage of that into savings each month (whatever you feel is affordable for your circumstances).
- Plan your transport costs! Do you really need a car? I always said that yes I did. Realistically I don’t but it took my car to break down to realise. I get the bus in the mornings and I’d say 4 out of 5 days I get a lift either the whole way, or part way home, from a colleague. Even if I make a contribution to their petrol from time to time, this still saves me money against the bus fares in the long run. Against having a car – I’m saving a fortune! (I appreciate this might not be an option for some people).