How do I learn to budget better and get my saving and spending under control?


Q I’m finding it difficult to budget at the moment with the constant changes to prices, interest rates and so called expert opinions on what’s going to happen. How can I budget better and try get both my spending and saving under control?

A As always, I’d recommend talking to a good Financial Broker as they are perfectly placed to give you impartial advice. However, I have shown below some of our top tips to help you manage your money better.

1. Draw up a balance sheet.

A balance sheet contains your assets and your debts. After you’ve drawn up a list of all these, subtract your debts from your assets. This will give you your net value. This exercise is something you should do every year to see whether your net value is increasing. To obtain a free template please see our website

2.Give yourself a budget

The idea of giving yourself a budget might be unappealing, but it’s essential. This exercise will help you to work out where you are with your finances. By working out where you spend your money, you’ll be able to eliminate expenses that provide you with the least amount of satisfaction, thereby improving your financial situation.

3.Pay off your debts

Do you currently have a mountain of credit-card debt? Did you know that the typical APR rate for credit cards is over 22 per cent? That’s a significant dent into any future revenue. The answer? Come up with a plan for paying off your debts.

4. Save

Try to systematically save 10 per cent of your net income to generate for yourself some working capital, and then an emergency fund. This way, if anything should go wrong, you won’t need to get into debt to make ends meet.

5. Tighten your belt

Live within your means. Reduce useless spending by, for example, bringing lunch with you to work rather than eating out. This will give you more room for manoeuvre when it comes to putting money away to create a nice nest egg.

6. Shop around for your insurance

Before renewing your insurance policies, get a few different quotes. Your premium might as much as triple from one insurer to another. Choose the best offer or ask a broker whether they can get you a reduced premium to keep your business.

7. Avoid impulse buys

Don’t spend beyond your means or your needs. Make a list before you go shopping and never buy anything on impulse.

8. Choose your bank wisely

Monthly fees, interest rates, service charges—accounts can differ greatly between one bank and another, so do your research and choose the account that best meets your needs.

9. Revise your bank accounts

Do you have large sums of money languishing in a savings account making barely any interest? Transfer this money into an account or plan that offers a more appealing rate as soon as possible, you’ll make more money from the interest.

10. Work out your investor profile

Your investor profile allows you to determine the type of investments that are right for you, depending on your investing experience, the risks you’re willing to take, your investment horizons, etc. To work out your investor profile, your financial advisor will get you to fill out a form.

11. Ask for a pay raise

Does your salary not reflect the work that you do? Then it’s time for a raise. To achieve this, note down all of your achievements and the impact they’ve had on the company. Have you been given important responsibilities? Mention them. Also inform yourself about salaries offered elsewhere for equivalent jobs. That will help you to put a figure on your request. When you know your market value, you’ll be much better equipped to negotiate.

12. Think about life cover, specified Illness cover and income protection insurance

Insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company that guarantees the payment of a certain sum upon your death, on diagnoses of a specified illness or if you can’t work due to accident or illness. To get an idea of the necessary sums required, you need to carry out an analysis of your financial needs.

This article aims to give information, not advice. Always do your own research and/or seek out advice from a Financial Broker before acting on anything contained in this article.

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