Like booking the next dentist check-up or getting out of bed on a Sunday, arranging finances is something we always agree to do “a little later”.
It’s easy to see why of course. There aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe how dull and frustrating financial planning can be – whether it’s punching digits into calculators or flipping the house upside-down to find old receipts.
Nonetheless, we’re fools for putting it off.
Laborious as it is, making plans to keep our money in check is inescapably important for our well-being and happiness. The stats are even there to prove it – with those who take the time to organise finances having a better quality of life than those who don’t. For some, the mere mention of the word money is enough to begin breeding a brand new ball of stress inside the stomach, and that’s why it’s crucial to take the necessary steps to keep your accounts neat and tidy.
We’ve put together a guide that includes all the things you can do to make your money go further than ever before. They’re all super simple and many require minimal effort, and this five-minute read could end up adding hundreds to your bank account balance.
Here we go…
Collect those loyalty cards
A lot of money saving blogs suggest that cutting out the impromptu purchases – the train trolley sandwich, the vending machine bottle – is a great way to get your money to go a little further. It’s true that resisting the urge to snack on the go can help in the long run, but it isn’t anywhere near as practical as it sounds.
If you’re a busy commuter, travelling representative, or a businessperson who spends their days meeting-hopping, you’re not exactly going to go hungry and thirsty for the sake of a few quid.
And nor should you.
Pick up loyalty cards instead. Wherever you go. These little things can potentially save you more than a hundred pounds a year. If you’re offered one, don’t do the textbook British thing by apologising and declining awkwardly. Say yes, even if you don’t think you’ll use it. It’ll be there in your wallet/purse for whenever you need it – and you might be surprised how quickly it fills up.
Purchase a Funeral Plan and Write a Will
It’s ok to feel uneasy, uncertain, or even scared of death. Everybody feels that way. There’s no telling when our time might be up, and whilst anxiety is natural, it doesn’t actually solve anything. To relieve mounting mental pressure that the thought of death might cause, you need to start future planning with funeral plans and written wills.
We’ve got a couple of peculiar statements coming up for you here. The first is: you need to be financially prepared to pass away. That might sound odd, as when you’re gone, money doesn’t mean anything to you anymore. But what about your loved ones? There are all sorts of charges that accompany death, and you won’t want your loved ones to be forced to pay for them all.
The second strange statement: A lot of people can’t afford to die. The costs associated with passing away are astronomical and are rising year on year. The total sums are daunting, and many people simply don’t have the money in their account to pay for them.
Thankfully, there is a way to avoid these issues entirely. Purchasing a funeral plan allows you to design your funeral in advance and set up a payment procedure so you can afford it all.
Writing a will also allows you to designate your possessions to particular people and ensure all your financial assets are handled correctly. This way, there’s guaranteed to be no confusion when it’s time for you to go, and there’ll be no big debts inherited by your family and friends either.
Death is morbid enough without money issues in play. Put these to bed as soon as you can by investing in the right future planning products.
Work on your Credit Score
Zzzzzz. We know, we know. Seeing “Credit Score” pop up in a sentence is often a sure-fire sign you’re in for a sleep-inducing lecture about your finances.
But not in this case. We won’t be bombarding you with a “sort yourself out” speech. Instead, we’re going to tell you a little bit about how to work on your credit score. And guess what? It’s an absolute breeze – and it doesn’t have to involve banging your head against a sky-high pile of financial folders containing receipts from decades ago.
Having a good credit score is essential when it comes to making your money go further, as it enables you to borrow money off the big boys whenever you need to for a lower fee. Your credit rating is calculated based on your ability to pay on time, including loans, mortgage payments, and even utility bills.
In order to improve your credit score, you’ll need to get into the habit of paying your debts when they’re due. Paying on time regularly will see your score continue to creep up with increasing speed. It’s also important to remember to register to vote – as this can affect your credit score – and try to avoid being financially linked to anyone with bad credit. That doesn’t mean you have to dump your financially-fickle partner, it simply means you ought to keep your money separate from theirs, and avoid things like joint energy bill accounts.
It’s also worth understanding the types of money you ought to pay back first. There are two main types of debt that pretty much everyone will incur at some point or another during their lives:
- Secured Debt – Which involves things like a mortgage or an automobile loan,
- Unsecured Debt – Which involves things like credit cards, student loans, and payday loans
It is the latter debt you need to prioritise. Paying your unsecured debt off first gives you a bit of financial wiggle room and gives you the breathing space you need to begin building up your credit score.
Plastic for emergencies, cash for essentials
Credit cards. Contactless payments. Smartphone scanning.
They’ve all made paying for things a heck of a lot quicker and easier, but that doesn’t make the charges any more enjoyable. In fact, seeing the forgotten payments from last week pop up on your statement can be a head-in-hands moment that makes you curse your past self for paying via plastic in the first place.
In order to help your money go that little bit further, it’s in your best interests to pay for all the essentials in life – shopping, petrol, travel tickets – with cash, and use the plastic cards for bigger things and emergencies instead.
Whenever you make a cash withdrawal you can check your balance and learn what you have left in the bank, whereas when you pay on card, you simply punch in the necessary numbers and wait patiently for a receipt.
By pay for your day-to-day items with notes and coins, you’ll be able to keep track of your spending in a more effective way and ensure you always have plenty left in the bank for unexpected payments you might have forgotten about – like bills, taxes, or that pesky TV license renewal fee.
Making your money go further simply involves a little bit of patience, discipline and practice. Changing your spending habits feels a bit strange at first, but by making smart decisions with your money and shrewd investments in future planning products, you can remain in the black without being forced to dip into your pension pot.