You might have a plan to do more exercise this year but how much time do you spend thinking about financial fitness? It's one area where gaining the pounds is better than losing them! We can all lose track of our spending – especially at this time of year - but the dawn of a New Year is the perfect time to reinvent, reboot and take back control of our finances.
By following a few of our helpful tips, you'll be surprised about how quickly you can change a habit and be financially fit in no time at all. Here's a few starting points to help you on your way to money mindfulness:
Have a clear-out
Our research also showed that around one in every eight people the UK is paying regular Direct Debits for services they don’t use (that rises to one in five for the 18-34 age category). 31% admit they just ‘can’t be bothered’ to stop them, despite losing money every month.
The thing is, it’s one of the fastest and simplest finance fixes. The easiest way to see what’s coming out is to review your Direct Debits through your online banking or banking app, then be ruthless about what stays and what goes. Even if you cancel one or two, you could be looking at annual savings in the hundreds of pounds.
Don’t keep it to yourself
We can all be a bit cagey when it comes to discussing our finances, but talking to people who you think are in a similar boat to you money-wise can be really useful. For one, it’ll help you put your own situation into perspective (you may well find that other people have the same financial challenges every month). Better yet, those people may have some great tips for managing things better.
If you really don’t feel you can open up to friends and family about your money worries, online forums can provide a similar support network. The Money Saving Expert forum is listed by topics like ‘Budgeting and bank accounts’ and ‘Debt-free wannabe’ where real people share and discuss their personal experiences with money.
Follow a finance expert
While we’re on the subject of help and support, have you thought about bringing more money-management conversation into your daily life? You may mostly use your social accounts for fun, but they can be a great way to get bite-sized everyday financial advice too.
Here at B, we’re big fans of the Money Saving Expert (as mentioned above). The site and its social accounts are full of up-to-date information and tips. It gives realistic suggestions for how to manage money and get the most out of it, all written in a way that’s supportive without being patronising.
Have a designated ‘dealing with it’ day
If money-management tasks are hanging over you every day, it’s tempting (but not very wise) to ignore them altogether. Instead, try designating a time once a week to sit down and properly address your most pressing money matters (don’t try to deal with everything at once or you might get swamped by it).
If you live with a partner or flatmate, this is a really good thing to do together, with each of you opening your bills at the same time and getting a second opinion on anything that might not make sense. It may not be the most fun part of your week, but – at the end of that hour – you’ll feel better for knowing you’ve made some progress with organising your money.
Find an account that lets you budget
The ‘Money and mental health’ section of the Mind.org.uk website has dozens of tips and links that could help if money worries are starting to affect your health. One of the things they suggest is looking into bank accounts that let you put money aside in separate ‘sub-accounts’ for your fixed outgoings like rent and bills. If you can split out those essential payments at the start of the month, it might help you get a clearer view of what’s left over for everything else.
Being able to set aside that money quickly using a banking app is even more helpful (money management on the train home, anyone?) so bear that in mind if you’re looking at options. If you already use the B app, our budgeting tools are ideal for this – showing all your monthly spending in one place.
Stick with it!
Nobody’s perfect, right? So if you try these strategies and slip-up once in a while, don’t give up. It’s easy to lapse into feeling so defeated that you want to throw the whole plan out of the window, but one or two mistakes aren’t the be-all and end-all. Stick to the plan (you can always re-jig it a bit if you have to), and keep going!
Need a little help?
If you’re having trouble managing budgets or savings, the B app could help you get things under control. Check out our B-Tox blogs, for tips on how to flex those money muscles and get financially fit.
This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.