If somebody asked you if you were happy with your financial situation, what would you say? Most of us would like to earn more and have a little more tucked away in a savings account or an investment fund. If you’re looking to boost your earnings, clear debts and grow your money, here’s a 3-step strategy to enforce today.
Before you can think about saving more or starting to grow your money, it’s wise to take a closer look at how much you spend and where your salary goes. The vast majority of us spend money on things we don’t need, and this can contribute to cash flow issues between paydays or a lack of savings.
The first step to take when working towards reducing spending is budgeting. If you don’t already keep a record of your transactions or work out how much you have available to spend each month, now is the time to download an app or start using spreadsheets or a notebook to keep you on track. Your budget should cover regular expenses, for example, your rent or mortgage payment, your phone bill and your gas and electricity bills, as well as one-off or periodic outgoings. Examples include a deposit on a holiday, spending money for a weekend away, car tax or a TV licence. Add up the figures you have in your outgoing columns and compare them to your income. This will enable you to determine how much disposable income you have and to draw up a budget for the month ahead. Once you’ve portioned out your money, you can set aside a sum to save. When you’re doing your budget and analysing spending, you might find that the numbers are much higher in some areas than anticipated. Perhaps you’re spending a fortune on groceries or petrol is eating into your wages. Try and identify areas to make cutbacks. If you can start saving every month, this will enable you to reduce spending significantly over the course of the year and boost your savings balance.
There are several ways to reduce spending, especially if you’re devoting most of your income to household bills and general living costs, for example, food and getting around. Start by looking at your receipts from the supermarket. If you’re spending £100 a week, try and bring the figure down by cutting out spontaneous buys that you don’t need and shopping around for the best prices on bulk items. If you buy nappies, pet food or household cleaning products, for example, you could save a lot of money by doing a quick search online to compare prices before you go shopping. For those who tend to get lured in by marketing ploys and special offers, it’s a good idea to consider swapping to online shopping. This way, you can order all the items on your list without the distraction of bonuses and bonanza offers. Shopping online also enables you to see a running total, which can help you limit spending. Planning a menu in advance is also beneficial.
When it comes to household bills, the Internet should be your new best friend. Using comparison sites, you can make sure you’re getting the best deals on everything from gas and electricity to broadband, TV and car insurance. Take a few moments to compare policies and providers if your pet, health, home, car or travel insurance are due for renewal. If your TV and broadband contract is coming to an end, call your current provider and ask about offers. Often, companies save the best deals for new customers as an incentive for them to switch, so it’s worth shopping around and seeing if your existing supplier will match the offer. If not, you could consider swapping.
Commuting can be costly, with some employees devoting up to 13% of their salary to getting to and from work. If you’re paying too much to get around, consider investing in season tickets or monthly passes, sharing lifts with colleagues or swapping buses or short drives for a bike.
Many of us would like to save more, but it can be difficult when you’re running a household, paying bills and trying to balance work and pleasure. When you work hard, it’s nice to be able to enjoy the odd treat, but cutting down on non-essentials is an effective way to save more. Think about how much you spend on eating out, going out, buying clothes, cosmetics, games or drinks in the average month. Could you reduce this figure without sacrificing all the fun? There are many ways to make socialising less expensive. Set yourself a budget before a night out. If you usually spend £60, for example, try and get that figure down to £50 or even £40. Share cabs or use public transport, have one less drink over the course of the night and try and avoid buying new outfits for every occasion. Swap eating out for dining in and invite friends over for a movie night instead of paying for cinema tickets, snacks and drinks. Look for free activities to do with kids or family members, and take advantage of coupon codes and vouchers online.
One of the best ways to save more is to transfer money to your savings account on payday. As soon as your wages hit your account, send a sum over to your savings. This will help you boost your balance on a monthly basis and reduce the risk of spending your salary on things you don’t really need. Use your budget to establish a suitable amount and set up a direct debit payment. If you have a bumper month, for example, you get a bonus, you can add a bit extra to the pot.
If you don’t already have a savings account, it’s wise to shop around and compare different accounts. Look at the interest rates on offer, and check the terms carefully. Some accounts have limited access, so if you want flexibility, it’s best to avoid them. If you intend to save a sum each year, look at ISAs. If you’re not familiar with an ISA, they are special savings accounts, which enable you to save a set amount of money without paying tax on your savings. Speak to a financial adviser if you’re not sure which account to open.
If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you might not be thinking too far ahead, but it’s always beneficial to consider the future. If you can set aside some money, either through your budget or through a work pension scheme, this will help you prepare for retirement. It’s also crucial to make sure you have the relevant insurance policies in place. If you own a house, for example, or you have dependents, life insurance is a must.
You’ve been saving for a while, your balance is healthy, and now you want to take the next step. There are multiple ways you can try and grow your money and increase your bank balances. As well as transferring money to your savings account or creating a rainy day fund, it’s worth exploring investment options.
If you have a keen interest in the stock market, you might have considered the option of buying stocks and shares and becoming an amateur trader. If this idea appeals to you, there are ways of improving your chances of making money from your investment. Seeking professional advice is advantageous with any kind of investment, and it’s particularly important if you’re a novice trader. You can benefit from the expertise of those in the know and utilise technology to shorten the odds of success. If you’re trading binary options, for example, there are steps you can take to access information and try and spot positive signs. Free binary options signals providers offer an insight into market trends and patterns to help you profit. It’s worth noting that even in the most stable times, the stock market can fluctuate, and this carries risks. Taking calculated risks and gathering information can help you steer clear of pitfalls and make money.
Another popular investment option is buying property. You can boost your income by buying to let or purchasing a property to sell. When you’re buying houses or flats for investment purposes, use your head instead of your heart, research the local market thoroughly, and consider who you’re planning to attract. Who is your ideal tenant or buyer, and what are they looking for in a rental property or a new home? Set a budget before you start searching, and make sure you cover every cost. If you’re taking on a project, for example, you’ll need to obtain quotes to ensure you know exactly how much the total build will cost. If you’re buying a holiday home, take a look at the facts and figures and make sure there’s a demand for the type of property in the chosen area. Location is key, and proximity to airports, tourist attractions, beaches and amenities will make the villa, chalet or apartment more appealing to tourists and travellers.
If you’re on a mission to supercharge your finances, it’s time to turn your attention to spending less, saving more and growing your money.