The beginning of the year can always put the spotlight on our finances and how we can make some savings. It might be because we have over indulged during the christmas period. Or it could be that you need to think about making some changes so that you can save for the things that you Ewan’s to do this year. Such as buying a house or heading away on holiday somewhere. Of course, the big issue might be the costs you have versus how much you bring into your bank account each month.
Sometimes the opportunity for more income is fixed. You may not be able to earn more than what you do right now, but does that mean you really need to be trapped by your circumstances? Are there other things you can do? The answer is yes. With that in mind, here are some of the choices you could make, some changes to your habits that could help. You may find that they can make all of the difference when it comes to your financial stability.
Thinking about the future
One of the first things you can do when it comes to making good decisions for your financial stability is take a moment to think about the future. At some stage we will all be leaving our jobs, a regular wage will be no more, but yet many of us don’t really think about what we will do to sustain our current lifestyles. To do all the things we plan to do in retirement like travel and spend time with the family. This is when making some good choices now can help secure your financial future. Contributing to a pension separate to what you might get from the state is a great way to ensure you can afford things when you hit retirement. It might be that short term goals that you have such as buying a house could be because you are thinking about creating a nest egg for the future. Property is a solid investment and can help you to increase equity over time that could help fund retirement in years to come. We may be encouraged to live in the present, but there is no harm in making some financial choices to help provide a more stable future when the income doesn’t come anymore.
What about bills you pay out each month?
It is all well and good thinking about the future and this is important, but you also need to take the time to ensure that you make the most of your situation as it stands right now. One of the first things you could do would be to check your bank account. Grab your most recent bank statements and start highlighting what comes in and what leaves your account each month. Knowing what debits you have regularly leaving your account will help you to be more in tune with your current financial situation. You may find that taking time to look over these things will highlight things you may not even need moving forward. Helping to cancel things and actually free up money is quite liberating. Knowing what you spend means that you could also take the time to research whether or not you are getting the best possible deals for those monthly bills we have no choice but to pay out for. A big outlay many of us have but don’t think about is mobile phone and tablet costs that occur monthly. We may have phone bills, pay for upgrades or need to use tablets out and about for work purposes, but are you paying too much? This is when shopping for deals when your contract is due and looking at options such as a mobile phone or tablet data SIM card. Energy and insurance providers may not always be giving you the best deal as well, and often the best rates are saved for new customers. Switching providers can save you a fair bit each month. The switchover doesn’t cost too much and can actually be very beneficial all round when it comes to your overall outgoings. Regularly checking your deals can really ensure that you only pay what is necessary.
Are debts costing more than they need to?
A big outlay that many people have is debt, but it can often feel like you are the only one having to deal with it. Debt is something that can be accumulated over time, such as credit card spending or using store cards. It could be lump sums in loans for big ticket purchases like home improvements, consolidating smaller debts, or buying a car. Debt tends to have a cost involved that is an interest payment on top of repaying the amount borrowed, and if you are struggling to keep up with repayments or paying only the minimum it can feel like the balances are never going to go away. However, if you take some control over the situation you may be able to find a solution to the problem. One of the first things to think about would be to look at paying the one that is costing you the most. Check out all your statements for debt and look for the one with the highest interest. If you can, pay more towards that debt and try and bring the costs down. It could make a big difference to your overall outgoings in the future as you start to see a difference in your repayments.
Could you bring the cost down of everyday spending?
The next thing you may want to think about would be bringing down the cost of everyday spending. Your food shop, for example, can be such a big expenditure each week. But often making changes to the way you do things can make the biggest of differences. For example, meal planning and writing a list. A small investment of your time can ensure you only buy what you need. Therefore only spending on the food that you need as well as helping you to avoid wasting food that you bought and didn’t get round to using. It can be an excellent way to control your diet and to also think about cutting down on those convenience foods or take out options. Batch cooking is another way that you can make savings, by doubling up when you are cooking and freezing that meal for another day or using it as lunch the following day.
Things like coupons and discount codes can also really help you reduce the costs. It might be using them for meals out or day trips, or even using discount codes for money off at checkout when you are doing some necessity shopping such as clothes or items for your home. Applying these simple processes to your everyday spending can really help boost your income.
Could you use your spare time to boost your disposable income?
Finally, maybe there are ways that you can boost your income. You can make all of the savings in when it comes to your current outgoings but there is nothing stopping you from making the change and increasing your disposable income. There are so many different ways that you could do it. First up, you could look at what you already have in your home. You may find that you have unwanted things such as clothes that no longer fit, or even household items that you no longer need or love. Selling these unwanted things online on platforms like eBay can be a great way to boost your income and clear your home of clutter in the process. You could also look at how you spend your spare time. Some people utilise their phones and laptops and fill out online surveys in the evening. It can be easily done while you are watching TV or relaxing. You could look at performing mystery shops, which not only pay towards your bill for a meal out or shopping, but also provide you with a fee for your time.
You may even have a hobby that you enjoy that could be monetised. A lot of people have blogs these days so opening up your readerships and blog for reviews or sponsored content could be a great way to make money out of something that you are passionate about. You could also look at things like selling your skills. Perhaps you like to bake or create certain things for friends and family. Selling online through social media like Facebook can also be an option that you could consider. Often it is the small things such as this that can make the biggest difference.
So there you have it, some of the ways that you can become more financially stable this year and beyond. It could be that you only implement one or two changes, but small gradual progress could help you in the long term to finally reach your financial goals. Let’s hope that these tips help you to make the right choices to become financially stable.