Managing the family finances is something that I used to tend to view as a chore, a necessary chore, but a chore all the same. Don’t get me wrong, I did what I needed to do to keep on top of the finances, but it was something I’d dread, put off, and usually avoid at all costs.
A few years ago, however, I made it my new years resolution to give my finances a proper overhaul and get into some really good habits (habits that I hope I’ve been able to pass on to my children).
Here are some of the tips I’ve learnt along the way that I find really useful when it comes to managing my family’s finances…
I’ve spent how much?!
It’s so easy to pop out to the shop for a pint of milk, and somehow manage to spend £14 or £15. You might not notice the small amounts you spend on purchases, but they really add up.
One day, when I’d somehow managed to spend practically £30 yet had no idea how, I decided that it was time to do something about it. So I started keeping a list of everything I bought and everything I spent. I could soon see where the money was going and it helped me to make small changes that would really make a difference.
I now swear by this approach and encourage my friends and family to do the same!
Another way to help keep your family finances healthy is by regularly running a credit check on yourself. As well as helping you to identify any problem areas and helping you to address them before they impact upon your chances of securing finance or credit, this will also allow you to spot any instances of identity fraud. If you don’t already do this, you can get your free credit check here.
I don’t know about you, but I seem to have a purse full of store cards! Whilst these can be really helpful when you want to make a larger purchase or split your payments over time, they can also lead to lots of ‘accidental’ purchases. I can’t count the number of times that I’ve gone into a shop, had my eye caught by something I couldn’t afford and most certainly didn’t need, and ended up buying it because I knew I could put it on my store card.
Remember that, just like credit cards, store cards don’t come for free and they also affect your credit report. As well as being careful about what you put on them, you should also go through them regularly and check how much you’ve got on each one, and how much interest you are paying. Then try and clear the ones that are costing you the most.
Similarly to store cards, credit cards can end up costing you a lot of money each month if you don’t manage them correctly. I have taken to getting all of my statements out every 3 months, checking how much is remaining on each card and checking the interest rates. This has allowed me to prioritise the cards I want to pay off first and, over time, bring down my monthly outgoings.
You also need to remember that if you fall behind on your payments, this will affect your credit check and your chances of securing any credit in the future.
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