So, what are your plans for today?
Thinking about catching up with your Netflix box sets?
Considering a day pottering around in your garden?
Catching up with friends for banter and gossip?
Sure, you could do those things. And there are a million other things you might do today.
Why not take this day (or tomorrow if you’re reading this article late at night) and do those things that will ultimately improve the state of your finances.
And if a day isn’t enough, then we guess a week is reasonable enough. But whatever the case for you, consider the following if you are serious about improving your financial future.
1. Set up a savings account and set up a direct debit to pay yourself
You have probably set up direct debits to pay your utility bills and subscription fees, but why not make that extra payment into an account for yourself? Open a separate savings account (if you don’t already have one), and instruct your bank to pay a portion of your income into this account each month. If you paid just £50 each month, for example, you would have £600 (before interest) by the end of the year. Alter that figure according to your budget. And if you get any extra money during any month, perhaps a winning on a National Lottery card or a cash bonus from your boss, you could add that into your savings too.
– Open a savings account that has a decent interest rate.
– Set up a direct debit to make regular payments.
2. Improve your financial know-how
We aren’t all maths geniuses! We don’t all have the accountancy skills of…well… an accountant! But we shouldn’t live in ignorance. By improving our financial know-how, we can feed our brains with the knowledge that will help us make smarter financial decisions today and in the future. Therefore, consider reading a book on money management written by a financial expert. There are some examples here. Head online and listen to the appropriate Ted Talks, or download a podcast given by a financial guru. Spend time today reading the articles we have on our website. Here’s a useful one. And consider taking a money management course, be that something based at your local college or something you can do at home online. The more knowledge you accrue, the smarter you will be, and that will give you the ability to protect and improve your financial future. You will also have skills and knowledge to pass down to your kids, as well as to your friends and other members of your family.
– If you downloaded the book today, read it!!
– Watch one of these Ted Talks on money matters.
– Research and sign up to any money management courses available on or offline.
3. Gather up your unwanted items and sell them
After reading this article, have a walk around your home, look in all the nooks and crannies, and dig out anything you don’t want or need anymore. You might have an old DVD player gathering dust in the attic, for example, or a stack of books that you no longer intend to read. Then there’s clothes, toys, games, phones, gadgets, and other electrical items. Gather them all together and then research the costs online. And who knows? You might even have some collectable items within your possession that could be worth a lot of money! In any case, whether you get a lot or a little for your stuff, you will have extra money to put into your savings account. Check out these seller websites as examples of places to sell your surplus belongings.
– Walk around your house and gather your unwanted items.
– Research the best places to sell them online.
– Advertise your items or pop them in the post.
4. Face up to your debts
There are all kinds of reasons as to why we might end up in debt, from making stupid financial mistakes when we were younger to taking out credit on cars and other luxury items. And the truth of the matter is this. The longer we stay in debt, the less chance we have of achieving financial freedom in our lives. So, instead of burying your head under the sand and ignoring your debts, you need to confront them and work out actionable steps to reduce and eliminate these loathsome monthly payments. A conversation with your lenders might be in order, as you might be able to negotiate a better rate of interest. Or you might want to consolidate your debts into one easier to pay monthly payment, so shop around for better rates of interest provided by other companies. You should also start making savings around your home, as the less you pay out on your usual expenses, the more you will have to pay off your debts. And finally, if you are overwhelmed with your debt and need extra assistance, you should seek help from a professional debt relief charity.
– Call your lender and negotiate a better interest rate. Use this example for your credit cards.
– If the above doesn’t work, research lower interest banks and cards and transfer your loan.
– Contact one of these debt-relief charities.
– Look at your monthly expenses and consider where savings can be made (see below).
5. Review your monthly expenses
Dig out your bank statements and receipts, or use your online internet banking service and list each of your monthly expenses. In each case, ask yourself these two questions. Should I be paying less? (and) Should I be paying for this at all? In regards to the first question, look at your essential payments. When it comes to your bills, grocery shopping, and insurance costs, you may be able to reduce the costs quite simply. Use price comparison services to find a better deal for your utility and insurance costs, and if you are able to make the switch today, then do so! To save money on your grocery shopping, you can make savings by switching to a different (and cheaper) supermarket, using any vouchers you have accumulated, and opting for cheaper brands. In regards to the second question, look at the ways you are wasting money each month. If you are paying for any magazine subscriptions or streaming services that you rarely use, cancel them! And if you are spending beyond your means on inessential items, list them, and be mindful the next time you are tempted to spend your cash. When you have made savings in your life, you can then put more money into your savings account, and use a portion of it to pay off any outstanding debts.
– Use a budget planner and calculate your spending.
– Use the relevant price comparison sites and switch to a better deal.
– Cancel any service or subscription that is surplus to requirements.
– When you leave the house today, leave your credit card at home if you don’t need it with you.
6. Sit down and think about your career
Ask yourself this question. Is your current job paying you enough to help you make decent savings each month? If you are only just getting by after being paid, then perhaps it’s time to reflect on your career. If you are happy within your job, then you might want to think about finding ways to get a promotion. You will then climb the career ladder and increase your income. If you’re not happy within your job, you might want to think about a career change with higher personal and financial rewards. In this instance, think about the career you always wanted to be in and research those jobs with high paying salaries. As examples, if you want a career that offers you a little more excitement, then you might want to consider police work, perhaps with the aid of one of these criminal justice programs online. Or if you want to give something back to the world, you might want to consider a high paying care job, such as a role as a mental health nurse or a social worker. Be it through promotion or a career change; you might then achieve both personal and financial fulfilment.
– Sit down and reflect on your job. If you know you aren’t earning enough money, either…
– Go online and research ways to get a promotion, or…
– Research career paths that will pay you more and offer you more fulfilment.
– Consider the steps needed to move in your career, and make an action plan to get you started.
So, what are you waiting for? If you want to improve your financial future, you have a lot to do today, so get cracking! Follow our suggestions, and if you don’t get through everything today, create a to-do list for things you can also do tomorrow. Sure, we know your Netflix watchlist isn’t going to watch itself, but surely your time is better spent doing something that will actively improve your future. Your life and the lives of your family members depend upon it!