When it comes to your finances, we all want to be in a position that we’re not just living from paycheque to paycheque with the occasional treat thrown in. We want to own property, to be able to start our own businesses, to invest and really get our money working for us. To do that, we have to make sure we’re making the best use of our money as it stands. To that end, you need to look at where most of it is going to go: the household. We’re going to look at how you can truly rule the roost.
Know how much you have
The very first step of using your money more wisely is learning everything you can about it. Keeping track of your bank balance using online banking is essential. But you can look at the bigger picture as well and see how much your salary is truly your own to use. Salary calculators help you boil down to what you get paid, taking into account student loans, national insurance, set pension contributions and the like. When you have a good idea of what you really have, then you can start making more thorough plans to how much you can put aside and where you should be putting it first.
Manage that food cupboard
Now, we’re going to look at how you actually start saving more of that money. We all need foods to live, but we don’t need to spend quite as much as we do on it. Food is one of the easiest ways to start seeing real savings every month. Plan your shopping trips, from now on. This starts by planning your meals. For instance, plan meals that use the same ingredients, so you can buy less and ensure you’re wasting less food as well. If you make enough food for dinner, then you spend less money on lunches by simply reusing what you cooked the night before, as well. Online shopping might be more convenient, but try shopping offline more often than not, too, as it tends to give you access to more deals.
For the purchases that aren’t going in your mouth, you should attempt to reuse as much in the home as you can. For instance, instead of using paper towels for wiping up the house, simply invest in another cloth that can be used time and time again. If you have jars and pots, then use them as impromptu storage. That can save you from having to buy utensil holders and teabag pots in the kitchen. It might not be the biggest of expenses, but try reusing plastic bags a lot more often, too. Many a modern household is missing a simple dose of resourcefulness that could contribute in a big way to savings over time.
Curb impulse buying
One way to stop yourself from spending more money is to simply ask yourself whether or not you really need what you’re going to buy. Spotting your impulse buying triggers is essential in developing a bit of willpower where your wallet is concerned. For instance, one trigger is forgetting to buy something in the big shop. If you have to go back to the shop for that pint of milk or loaf of bread, you’re more likely to make the trip ‘worth it’ by buying yourself something extra. So, make sure your shopping lists are thorough. If you’re buying a new TV or some expensive sporting gear, then do your research and see if you can get the same specs from a cheaper model instead of being bamboozled by branding power.
Go second-hand when you can
If you truly do need to buy something, then you should reconsider exactly where you buy it from. Sometimes, there are good reasons to not go second hand. With electronics, the warranty you get new is important. You can’t always tell the condition of them easily, either. But for other expenditures, then don’t think twice about using the many online shops where people offer things that are almost-new at a much lower price. When it comes to entertainment, you should never be buying your video games, your books, and your music first-hand. You get the exact same experience cheaper by simply waiting to spot it pre-owned.
Every year, you should take a whole day dedicated to working down the bills you have to deal with on a monthly basis. Take out the bank balance and count them out one-by-one. TV, internet, fuel, water, insurance, and the like. It’s time to ensure you’re always getting the best deal on the market. There are a lot of internet, insurance, and energy comparison services out there that can help you easily scan the market and see who is offering a better deal than your current provider. If you don’t want to switch, you can use this information to negotiate a better deal from current providers. In negotiations, you should ask to see if you can get moved to deals they offer exclusively to new customers as well. If it means keeping your custom, many service providers will agree to it.
Mind the car
It’s not in the home itself, but the car is very much part of the household. Shopping around for a better insurance deal come renewal season is a start, but there are a lot of ways to save money on the car. For instance, learn to drive it more fuel efficiently. Don’t let the car idle as much, don’t accelerate and brake so hard when on the road, and use the right phone apps to source the cheapest fuel stations close to you. You can save a lot of money on the necessary fixes for cars simply by preparing for them, too. Create a car maintenance budget and put aside money to deal with those inevitable fixes. Otherwise, they’ll be taking a big chunk out of your finances when you’re not prepared for them.
Have savings, loans and debt plans
Putting more money aside is always a good thing. But it’s even better if you have an idea of where exactly that money should be going. When you start finding more room in the budget, then now is the time to actual have a budget. A good budget needs a good goal, too. For instance, having savings plans in order to build things like an emergency fund or to afford a deposit on buying a home. Or put together loan and debt repayment plans that can help you always ensure that you’re not at the mercy of creditors.
Get future oriented
When you have more money put aside, too, that means that you can contribute greater amounts toward your future. If you don’t have anything to save for or any debts to pay off, then think about putting your money into investments instead. It’s never too soon to start investing. Any money that you have spare, you can get working for you. It’s all about figuring out how much risk you can live with. If you want low-risk investments, then you will want to go light in stocks and heavier in things like bonds. If you don’t mind risk and want to see better profits, then you want to go with the vice-versa. If you don’t want to have to continue being so stringent, then investing wisely is one of the most effective ways to change your financial life.
Once you have your household finances optimised, you’ll find that you have a lot more money to contribute to your future. Find those investments and start putting your money to work instead of spending it all.