Organising finances can be tedious. Here are some tips to help you get straight:
- De-clutter paperwork. You may need to retain some statements and documents to help you complete a tax return, but, throw out what you don’t need, making sure you shred any sensitive documents first, of course.
- Keep an accurate record of any savings accounts and/or investments and pensions you have, including contact details and account numbers. Know where your passbooks are kept, if you have them.
- Keep your cheque book, if you have one, and debit and credit cards safe. NEVER disclose PIN numbers to anyone. Try not to keep all these cards in the same place.
- Keep an accurate record of transactions made, including cash withdrawn, from your bank account. This will help to prevent overspending.
- Always review your bank statement for unusual transactions and reconcile this to your record of transactions. You should always be able to identify:
- Items on the statement and in the transaction record
- Items on the statement not in the transactions record (have you forgotten to list these down?, or are these an indication of transactions you do not recognise?)
- Items in the transactions record not on the statement, these are likely to be more recent transactions after the bank statement date
If you can, pay bills such as utility bills by direct debit. Some utility companies offer direct debit discounts and by paying monthly you may be able to avoid a large bill to be paid after a cold winter!
- Get into the habit of allocating funds for your regular monthly expenses (such as bills, rent, food etc) when you get paid. This way, you’ll be able to identify your disposable income more accurately. If it makes it easier, transfer this money to a separate account or accounts.
- Always prioritise your mortgage/rent and bills before other discretionary spend.
- Try to save a little each month so you have something to fall back on. In today’s challenging financial environment this may not be easy as it often takes much effort just to make ends meet, but even small amounts can add up. When times are good (overtime, bonuses) put these aside if you can for leaner times. Saving loose change or pound coins can soon mount up.
- If you have credit, know when these are due to be paid off, and how many more repayments are due. For unsecured loans made since 2011, the law permits “partial early repayments” as well as early settlement in full. This means that, if you can afford to pay even a small lump sum towards your loan, you may be able to reduce the term (or reduce the remaining repayments and keep the loan term the same).
- Try not to “fritter”, be able to account for where you have spent money. It is not wrong to spend money on hobbies or on things you enjoy doing, but be accountable.
- If you do not have one of your own, use budget planners and calculators that are available on websites, these can help you to identify some of the things you may spend money on without “realising”, eg magazine subscriptions, hairdressing, pet insurance, regular subscriptions for gym, glasses, contact lenses etc.
Words from the writer: Emily used Uncle Buck when searching for a quick payday loan to help with her finances, payday loans really help when you need a bill paying quickly.