It’s January, and after all that spending in December you’ve decided to take control of your finances for 2017. Taking time to think about how you spend your money and budgeting as effectively as possible will really help you reduce your debts and keep up with bill payments. We’ve listed some tips below which will help you to improve your finance management throughout the coming year.
Are You Budgeting Carefully?
You should start by adding up your net monthly income – this is your monthly income after tax, plus anything else you receive, such as working tax credits. You should then note down all your outgoings:
- Priority bills – mortgage/rent and council tax
- Monthly direct debits
- Other monthly expenses, such as gas/electricity, food, fuel, transport etc
Looking at all of these necessary outgoings tells you how much you need to be putting aside for them each month. You can minus these outgoings from your total monthly income to see how much disposable income you have left to work with too.
Are You Writing Shopping Lists?
Shopping lists don’t just apply to food shopping, you should set out with what you need to buy, and resist impulse purchases. This also enables you to estimate how much you’re going to be spending before you’ve spent it – and whether or not you can afford it.
Are You Budgeting With Others?
If you live with other people or have a family, ensure that you are all budgeting together as much as possible. As well as money, also plan meals together to save on your food shop. Budgeting becomes easier if you are doing it with the support of others.
Are There Any Memberships/Online Services You Can Live Without?
Have you got a gym membership that you’re not really using? A movie channel that you never watch? Or a subscription to a TV/music streaming app that you could live without? All of these add up, and cutting them out of your spending could make a big difference, particularly if you’re getting into debt.
Have You Set Up Direct Debits For Regular Payments?
You can usually get a cheaper tariff if you pay by direct debit. It also means that you don’t forget to make payments and get charged more for them being late – added stress you can do without. Direct debits also help you plan your outgoings more strictly and with greater ease as you know exactly how much and when your money is going out.
Have You Had A Sort-Out Recently?
A lot of us have clutter taking up space in our homes. And some of that clutter can sometimes be worth something. Whether it’s selling it online or taking it to a car boot sale, it’s worth trying to sell your unwanted possessions. Anything extra can contribute to paying off bills or debts. You can also find out more about debt-forming habits from our infographic.
What Can You Do If You’re In Debt?
These tips we’ve discussed will certainly help you to better manage your finances, but sometimes if you’re struggling, you will need some extra help. Trust Deed Scotland provide free advice and a supportive solution to your debt problems. To see if you qualify for a trust deed, visit our Trust Deed Wizard, and see how you can become debt-free.