The financial markets still seem to be on a bit of a roller coaster ride; just when we think things have calmed down some more bad news crops up. An economic slump will always have a negative impact on people from all different walks of life, whether they are millionaires or just coping financially month-to-month – the JAMs (Just About Managing) as we call them here in the UK. During bad times, there are redundancies, salary cuts or the insidious static salary which over time has the same effect as a salary cut because of inflation rises.
During the last global recession we saw overall income, production, investment, expenditure, and corporate profits all falling, and even though we are technically out of the recession now it doesn’t always feel that way . It is natural to see the economy taking some time to recover even after the global meltdown of the market has ceased but whether it is boom time or not it is always recommended to improve personal finances. The following are some of the best techniques or money saving tips for improving your personal finances. Let’s check them out:
Repay your debts
The most basic step you need to take to improve personal finances is to repay all your debts as soon as possible. In the list of all your loans, you need to choose the unsecured and costly ones and pay them off without delay – so loans such as provident loans should be high on that list. The unsecured debts, including personal loans and credit card debt need to be paid off first as they usually have higher interest rates. To repay these debts more quickly use some extra cash from your savings to make sure you are paying more than the minimum monthly repayment. These debts are expensive and will take longer to repay if you ony pay the minimum each month so get into the habit of overpaying, which can gain the interest rate much lower than the interest rate that is payable over your consolidation loans.
Create an emergency fund
Even a small emergency fund can offer respite during difficult financial times. It might just help cover a costly car repair or the cost of fixing a leaking shower. This type of “rainy day” or emergency fund can really help you keep control of your personal finances.
Make a strict budget
During the post recession phase, you would be well-advised to continue with a strict budget. Don’t get carried away accruing new debt thinking the goods times are just around the corner. They may be (finger’s crossed) but wait until you can see and feel them for yourself before you start spending without a thought. Make sure you make a good financial plan and ensure that you stick to it religiously. Record all types of expenditure and then match your monthly expenses with your monthly income – if your outgoings are getting close to you income (or, worse, exceed your income) then it’s time to tighten that belt. Make sure you try to create a surplus, which can really help you in avoiding debt.
Find quick cutbacks
Try to reduce your expenditure by only buying the things that you seriously need. You can save some money on the food bills quite easily by buying a cheaper brand or by simply buying the food in bulk. Before you shop for your groceries, make a proper list of the items you require and then stick to the list. Try to avoid impulse buys that are not on the list – it’s hard, I know, especially when the stores are always tempting us with something new but if you can change your shopping mindset you really will secure your financial future and avoid debt.
You can also try and save some money on the electricity and gas bills by switching off the lights in rooms you are not using and turning down the heating a notch.
Cut down on eating out
Eating out at restaurants is not only expensive, but also not a particularly healthy choice. The food may be delicious but tends to be higher in fat and salt than what we cook at home. Instead of eating out, you should plan to have food at home. This can improve your health and save money as well, which can save you a surprising amount come the end of the month. Also, if you have joined a gym to exercise, consider stopping your subscription and either doing exercise at home or taking up a sport that doesn’t cost too much, like running.
By doing these simple things, you can really help yourself to improve upon your personal finances. Make sure you stick to these tips and soon you will be managing your finances like a pro.