The party season is well and truly over and it’s time to get real about money.
If you’re feeling the financial pinch, then don’t to bury your head in the sand – take action to make sure you stay in control of your money in 2018.
According to research from CYBG’s digital banking service B, over a quarter of people in the UK are worried about meeting at least one major debt repayment in January, with a third saying finance is their biggest worry in 2018.
MMM has put together some top tips to help you get tackle your finances and make sure 2018 is a year where you take back control of your money.
Shift your debt
If you put a lot of spending on your credit card, particularly over Christmas, and are struggling to keep up with payments, then shift your debt to a 0% balance transfer card.
You will need a good credit rating to get the top deal, but if you can get it, it means you can concentrate on making monthly payments but with no added interest.
Some credit cards offer as much as 38 months interest free on balance transfers, so this can buy you plenty of time to clear debt.
There may be a transfer fee, so take that into account. Do not spend on this cards and always keep up with the minimum payments, otherwise you will lose the deal and could face large penalties or interest charges.
Change your mindset
Sometime your money problems are just about the mind – how often do you find yourself buying something just because you’re a bit down? Or we buy something because we see someone buying things and we want to keep?
Equally, we don’t speak up – if money is tight and you cant afford a night out, don’t go and if you’re splitting the bill, pay for what you ate.
So, the first thing to do to get back control of your money is to change your mindset – be honest with yourself and get focused.
Give yourself some realistic goals, otherwise it all becomes overwhelming and will lead to you feeling low.
Also, be visual with your goals – you can use apps to help you with this, such as Yolt or Money Dashboard.
Do you dip into social media everyday just to see what the world and our friends are up to? We all do, but this year, why not try and look into your bank account everyday?
Checking your bank statement once a month is not good enough to help you keep tabs on your spending.
If you are only checking your statement once a month, then it’s unlikely you are keeping tabs on your day-to-spending. You need to think about your money everyday.
Consider downloading your bank’s app, or even consider reconsider how you bank. There are a number of new banks out there, such as B, Monzo and Atom – they provide you with plenty of additional tools to help you budget and manage your money.
Automate your savings
Taking control of your money also means putting money into savings.
As well as monitoring your spending, it’s important you save as well.
If you’re rubbish at switching some money away each side or spending it all before you get to actually save, then don’t worry.
The best way to put money away is to automate savings. There are a number of apps that can help you do this, such as Chip or Plum – which use AI algorithms to determine an affordable savings amount for you and then automatically shifts it for you.
There are a number of new digital bank accounts, such as B, by Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, which have apps that can do similar things and help you monitor spending.
Finally, if you haven’t got a budget, then it’s time to give yourself one. You can’t be in control if you don’t have a clue about what is coming in and out of your household.
Once you’ve worked out what you have left over after calculating your income and outgoing, see where you can make cutback and determine an amount to save for yourself and your children.