Sticking to a budget is difficult. If you’ve ever had to cut back to save for a holiday, buying a house or a car, then you’ll know how difficult it can be. There’s always something you’d rather spend your money on!
But when you’ve got family and responsibilities, it’s even more important to manage your money well. Having financial worries leads to stress and anxiety, but you can get on top of things for better management.
Ready to nail your family’s finances once and for all? Here are some tips to help you become a master of your money.
Accept that enough is enough
Whether you’ve got debts, are trying to save, or you’re fed up with just ‘getting by,’ you have to want to take care of your finances to break your existing habits. Facing up to the situation by looking at your statements, how much you owe, how much you’re bringing in, etc. will help you get a clearer picture of what you’re dealing with. Much like making the decision to lose weight, you need to want to change your ways to improve your situation.
Create the ultimate household budget
You don’t just have to have a budget when you’ve got a goal. A household budget is a good idea to help you take better care of your finances permanently. The perfect household budget should factor in all of your outgoings, including debt repayments and your savings. Some families budget for the whole year on a monthly basis – this helps to cover Christmas and other events like birthdays and schools trips that can eat into your finances.
There are some amazing tools to help you stick to your budget, making it easier than ever to control your money. You can even use a smart budget app that will save additional money as the month goes on – you won’t even notice it being put away!
Prioritise paying off your debts
If you’ve built up some debt, then you need to prioritise paying it off – especially if you’re finding it difficult to manage. You should try to move to 0% finance options if you can to save you some money on interest payments. Try paying off the debts with the highest interest first, paying off as much as you can to reduce your overall payments. Debt can be crippling, so if you’re struggling with debt, seek help sooner rather than later.
Get ruthless with your outgoings
By making a budget, you’ll soon be able to see where every single penny goes. It can also be a good way to see where you’re overspending. There are a lot of ways you can haggle, including switching your energy suppliers. Take a look at your TV and Broadband, do you need those top-tier price plans? Where there are areas to cut back, do it. Even a couple of pounds will make a difference over the course of the year. Whatever cuts you manage to make, make sure they go straight into your savings pot!
Learn to cut back
When you’re trying to get on top of your finances, cutting back can feel difficult. But it’s necessary to be able to stop unnecessary spending and help your finances last the month. There are different things you can do to help you with this. Only carry cash to the shop for the things you need, it will stop those impulse purchases that can soon add up on a card! If you enjoy a takeaway coffee or even lunch out every day, cutting these costs could easily save you money during the course of the week. Even if you cut back to just once a week, it will make a huge difference to your everyday spending.
Eat better, spend less
Families can waste a lot of money on food. It’s easy to overspend in the supermarket, buying food that will either go off, or you simply don’t need! By making a vow to eat better, you can spend less too. Meal planning is an excellent way to do this, as well as meal prepping at the beginning of each week. By being prepared, you’ll be less likely to rely on ready meals and convenience foods.
Meanwhile, try to cut back on takeaways. A Dominos pizza or weekly curry can cost a lot of money when you add it up, yet it could cost just a few pounds to make from home yourself! Take a look at some tasty home takeaway recipes to give you some inspiration. It’s easier than you think and you’ll be able to make them healthier too.
Making your own lunches is another way to cut back on your food spend. Soups make a great lunch item during the winter months and you can easily batch cook and freeze them.
Get your emergency savings in place
While saving for a specific goal, like a holiday, can be easy, getting your rainy day savings in place is tougher. It’s good to have an emergency fund in place to cover any unexpected costs your family might have to face. This is money that should be put aside somewhere into a separate savings account, and one that’s different to your short-term savings.
Some of the things you’ll need to think about include emergency car and home repairs, as well as unprecedented legal costs. There are many reasons why you might need to deal with civil litigation, and while there are some affordable solicitors out there, it’s good to know these things will be covered if needed. You should also consider putting in enough savings to make sure your outgoings will be covered if you’re unable to work for some reason.
Managing your finances takes work, but it’s worth the effort to secure your financial future. From making changes to your spending habits, to tackling your debts once and for all, you can make a difference. With a new year just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to ditch your bad money habits and boost your family’s finances.