I don’t know about you, but in our house, it’s me that manages the finances. That’s the way it’s always been and although I’m generally ok with that, sometimes I do wish someone else would just come in and sort out all the money for me. We had a few tricky times with money over the years, most notably when both myself and my husband were both made redundant within weeks of each other and I was pregnant. That was a tough time! But it did force me to learn to manage money better and I developed a few things that helped us to keep our heads above water. If you’re trying to manage your money better, then I hope these tips will help.
Know your budget
The very first step for anyone trying to get a better handle on their finances is to know exactly how much money you have coming into your bank account and going back out. Without knowing that, you can’t possibly take control of your finances.
It might seem like a scary thing to do, but sit down with your bank statements and add up all of your incoming and outgoings for the last month. If your finances change from month to month due to changes in your work patterns for example, then you’ll want to look back over the last six months or so to get a clear picture.
You can set up a spreadsheet if you like, or even just use a pen and paper to track everything.
Make cutbacks where necessary
If you’ve got more money going out than coming in, then it’s time to make some cutbacks. Check your direct debits to see what you can get rid of. Many of us have monthly subscriptions that we can cut out such as Netflix, Disney Plus or even mobile phone contracts. These are luxuries – they’re nice to have but they’re not worth getting yourself into debt for!
If the figures just aren’t adding up and you’re overpaying things like your mortgage or loans, then it’s time to drop these back down to the minimum payments whilst you get back on your feet.
Review your credit cards & loans
These days, many of us have credit card and loan payments coming out of our accounts each month. If you can, then it’s a good idea to keep paying at least the minimum payments each month. However, if your budget just isn’t allowing you to meet the minimum payments and you have multiple debts to manage, then it’s time to think about other ways to manage your debt such as consolidating your debt into one payment. Find out more about debt consolidation here.
As women, it can be so easy to go into a panic about money when we’re so busy juggling work and our family lives. But panicking really won’t help. Just sit down, go through your figures and take it from there. Things WILL get better and just by knowing your monthly budget you’ll prevent yourself from getting into financial difficulty again in the future.