Like many people this year, you may have goals you want to achieve for your finances. Whether you want to save more, afford a holiday in the summer, or put a deposit down for a house, you’ll need your finances to be in a good place to do so. To help, here are 5 ways that you can improve your current financial situation to achieve those goals.
Use Trustworthy Lenders
You should always use reputable lenders when looking to borrow money, but this isn’t always obvious when browsing products online. With many direct lenders and finance brokers all able to provide quick funds when you need them, choosing a trustworthy source for a payday loan, personal loan or other personal lending product will help protect you from overcharging and provide flexibility with its terms. You should only use lenders that are Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) approved as they will work to responsible lending guidelines and are properly regulated in the industry.
Budget Your Outgoings
If like many you are unsure where your money goes each month, it could be time to budget your finances. You may be overpaying for products and services without realising, so taking the time to review your essential and non-essential outgoings is worthwhile. For utility bills, for example, you may be able to find a better deal elsewhere that reduces your outgoings, similarly for your internet or mobile phone bills. Use comparison sites where possible and see what is available that could make a big difference. For any non-essential payments, review how much in a typical month you spend and see where you can cut down. Those weekly takeaway treats can soon add up, for example, so consider setting a budget amount for this.
Start an Emergency Savings Fund
Having the available funds so you don’t have to rely on credit when the unexpected happens is the ideal situation, but many people may struggle to do so. The best way to plan for a financial emergency if it happens is to build an emergency savings fund. If you have reviewed your outgoings and budgeted, you should hopefully have disposable income that you can put towards this. Save what you can in general but put an amount aside that is just for emergencies. You should aim to build towards at least 3 months’ worth of essential outgoings saved so if you lost your job, for example, you can still ensure these bills are covered.
Seek Independent Advice
Sometimes external help is needed to guide you through your finances, so finding independent sources can provide unbiased advice. From speaking to family members who have gone through a similar experience with money, to independent financial advisors who can point you in the right direction regarding savings, investments, and mortgages, you don’t have to navigate your finances alone. You can also find resources online to help such as The Money Advice Service that is full of free impartial advice when you need support.
Maintain Essential Outgoings
Whatever happens with your finances, ensuring your essential outgoings are being maintained will avoid falling into financial difficulty. Your essential bills including mortgage/rent, utility bills and any borrowing repayments need to be prioritised as these will usually come with penalties for late or missed repayments. This can soon build up if you are not paying them on time and can easily spiral if it becomes a habit. Set up direct debits or standing orders on any bills that don’t already have them so that these can be taken automatically on time each month.
With a bit of guidance, you can ensure your finances stay healthy and help you achieve any financial goals you have this year. The tips above can help focus your attention and ensure no unnecessary difficulties arise.