For couples, money is one of the most consistently argued-about subjects. It’s not hard to see why – everyone has a different way in which they would ideally spend and earn their money, and it’s here that many disagreements can occur. Even if you’re living alone, money management is incredibly important for your day-to-day existence. If you’re finding it difficult, don’t worry: you’re not alone.
There are plenty of ways to be smart with money management, and the good news is they’re mostly not too difficult and don’t require too much self-sacrifice. Obviously, you will need to give up some of the stuff you’re doing or buying if it’s too expensive, but for the most part you can make small changes to your life that will help you save money far more effectively. Here are 6 tips to help you be smart with money management.
Take out a loan
“But surely,” think you, “taking out a loan is counterintuitive if I want to save money?” Well, not necessarily. There are plenty of circumstances in which taking out a loan could be advantageous to you and your money management. If your debt is coming from multiple sources, then consolidating your debt is a pretty solid idea; you’ll only have to pay one loan back rather than several, so you’ll always know when payments are going out and you’ll be ready for them. If you’re looking for a reputable, fair loan company, you could consider using Fair Finance, as their rates are competitive, their staff are friendly and they’re knowledgeable.
Budget at the start of each month
Creating a realistic and detailed budget at the start of each month can be the difference between being in the red and the black at the end of it. If you know exactly what you’re going to spend your money on and when, then you can always keep track of your finances and where they’re going. Make sure that you allocate a little extra for unexpected expenses, because budgeting right down to the letter will inevitably bite you when you’re looking for extra money for vehicle repairs or family matters. You could use one of the many excellent smartphone apps available for budgeting, especially if you’re as glued to your phone as we are.
Ditch unneeded possessions
As Marie Kondo says, if it’s not bringing you joy, get rid of it. Unfortunately, those of us who are a little more stretched for cash might not be able to afford the luxury of joy, so you’ll need to recalibrate your thinking a little here. If you’re not using something, and if you think it could fetch a decent price if you sold it, then it’s basically untapped money. Prime examples here are still-functional appliances, entertainment items (like games, DVDs and hardware), and furniture. If you think you’ve got some of these things going spare and you need some extra cash, get them sold now.
Understand why you’re struggling
This one’s quite closely linked to budgeting. If you’re struggling with money each month, then ask yourself why that might be. Are you the kind of person who can’t quite say no every time one of your colleagues suggests a costly lunch? Maybe you’re just not good at keeping track of how many drinks you’re having on Friday nights, or perhaps you have expensive tastes when it comes to clothing. Whatever it might be, locate the personality-related source of your money worries and try to work on that aspect of yourself. We’re not saying become Scrooge overnight, but try to second-guess yourself when you’re about to spend.
There are plenty of ways you can cut small corners to save big. Many businesspeople, for example, like to carry top-of-the-range smartphones. The marketing campaigns for these things are pretty well-thought-out, but the truth is that smartphones are one of the many items for which there exist incredible lower-budget alternatives. Trading in your phone for a less powerful model could be a great way to be smart with your money. Similarly, look at your food shopping choices. Could you swap to own-brand on some of them? Purchasing decisions are often at the root of bad money management, so if you want to be smarter with your finances, start with where you’re shopping.
Try to save
We know that this one can be difficult if every single penny feels like it’s already been allocated to something, but if you can, try to set aside some money each time you’re paid. In no time at all, you’ll realise you’ve actually accrued quite a bit of cash, which you can then use for a rainy day. You won’t feel like you’re saving if you only stash a little away each month, and if that’s all you can afford, don’t worry – it’ll still add up in no time. Either way, savings are an extremely useful thing to have when the odds are against you.