The world we live in is fast-paced and constantly moving. There’s plenty of uncertainty and it can leave even the most level-headed feeling anxious.
The best thing any of us can do is focus on what we can control. Keeping our money in check is one thing we can all aim to do. Here are some ideas.
Get out of debt
Being in debt is so expensive, the number of interest creditors charge can be insane if you sit and look at your paperwork.
Because you’re paying this each month, it might not be apparent quite how bad the situation is until you add up exactly what you pay in interest each month and then work it out for the duration of the debt.
Do what you can to pay down balances and close accounts completely.
You might have to do drastic measures like selling what you no longer need, using your savings and take on extra shifts at work, or anything to bring down those balances and therefore reduce the amount of interest you’re paying.
If you’re in more serious trouble with debt then speak to a debt charity or debt management company.
They can often get interest rates frozen and negotiate new payment amounts which allow you to pay off the balances without them spiraling and finally get back in control of your finances.
Grow your savings
Once you’re out of debt, you can start to grow your savings.
Because of how expensive debt is, there’s no point trying to save when you owe balances as it will cost you more in the long run.
But if you paid your debts and get them out of the way, you can start saving again and begin to build up a buffer.
It makes sense to have two savings accounts, one for your long term ‘life savings’ for saving towards retirement, buying a house or other things that mean you simply wouldn’t touch the money for any other reason.
Then you can have a shorter-term savings account. This is handy as a ‘rainy day fund’, like if your car or washing machine breaks down or you’re met with a large, unexpected bill.
If you have a particular savings goal in mind such as buying a new car or going on holiday, it can be worth having a separate account for this too.
Separating your savings in this way (rather than keeping them lumped in your regular current account) means you can watch them grow and never dip back into them.
One of the easiest ways to save is to create a standing order which automatically transfers money from your regular bank to your savings account (or accounts).
Set this to come out on the day you’re paid, you won’t even notice it going but over time it will add up.
Work on multiple streams of income
Having multiple streams of income is always a smart move, particularly in today’s uncertain times.
If one method stops earning you money (such as you get made redundant from your job) then you have other ways to get cash so you’re never without.
Along with your regular job you could write and monetize a blog and/or Youtube channel. You could do work on freelancing sites or run your own home business.
While of course, you do need to be flexible and adaptable to do well in today’s modern business world (https://www.intellectsoft.net/blog/what-is-digital-transformation/ explains more about this) if you’re able to run things from home then you get to earn money on your terms.
Often, home businesses don’t have high overhead costs to get up and running so they are much less risky financially to get started.
Get onto the property ladder
With huge changes going on in the world, from the recession to Brexit to the new Covid-19 health pandemic, it’s clear to see that the property market does fluctuate.
However, it always recovers after a crisis, and that’s because people always need homes to live in.
Once you own your home it will likely accumulate value every year, there will be troughs and peaks but overall it’s an excellent investment long term.
It gives you security later in life as once you retire, you no longer need to pay a mortgage or a rent which frees up the limited money you do have.
In a world of instability, investing in property and buying your own home is still always a fantastic option and something you’ll never regret doing.
So, if you’re able to make it happen then definitely try.
Store and stockpile
You don’t need to stockpile like you’re preparing for the zombie apocalypse (although in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us are wishing that we had!)
However, it’s never a bad thing to have some extra supplies in your home.
Make sure your pantry is always stocked with things like pasta, rice, tinned food and jars of sauces, ingredients like flour and sugar and herbs and spices.
If something happens where you can’t buy food for a while such as being short on money or a wider crisis going on, you don’t need to panic as you know you have everything you need for a while.
Buy things like washing powder, dishwashing tablets, shampoo, and soap when it’s on offer and put an extra one or two in a cupboard somewhere.
If you run out you always have one handy, and if you ever need to miss a week’s shop for whatever reason then you’re set.
Work on a budget
Finally, having full control of what goes in and what comes out means you’re never overspending.
Your bills and priorities are always paid first and everything else is properly divided up so you can afford to live without living beyond your means.
You could use a budgeting app, a calendar or even a good old fashioned notepad to work out your budget and track your spending.