Financial management isn’t something that many of us are taught, but it is an essential life skill – especially when you have dependents. Good financial management will ensure that all of your bills are paid on time, that you avoid debt and that you can even invest in the future. So, it’s not too surprising that you’re going to want to follow the right path when it comes to taking care of your finances responsibly and carefully. Here are some steps that you can take to get this journey started out in the right direction.
The first step towards financial stability for you and your family is to come up with a budget. Now, this may sound basic, but so many people fail to create a budget or stick to a budget and this can result in all sorts of financial problems down the line. The purpose of a budget is to make sure you’re fully aware of how much money you have available to spend and also ensures that all of the essentials are covered before the non-essentials. To create a budget, you should:
- Figure out how much you take home after tax and other deductions. This is called your “take home” pay.
- You should then total up all of your essential outgoings. These are costs that are essential to leading a good quality of life, as well as committed payments. Examples include rent payments, grocery shopping, energy bills and contracted payments.
- Deduct your essential outgoings from your take home pay. The figure you are left with is your “disposable income”. This is the amount you have available to spend on whatever else you want – holidays, days out, meals out, clothes and more.
- Make sure that you never spend more than your disposable income. This will prevent you from going into debt.
Of course, having a budget and sticking to it can help to keep your family financially stable. But you should be aware that there are so many different things you can do to give yourself even better financial health. The best steps to take will depend entirely on you as an individual, your income, your assets and other factors that can massively impact your lifestyle. This is why ot’s important to call in the help of a financial advisor. Whether you use an individual, an agency or a company, you will get put in touch with a financial Planner who will be able to get to know you, your finances, your goals and ambitions – and then they’ll be able to create a tailored approach to managing your money as best possible. They could help you to clear debts, accumulate savings or craft an approach that will provide you with all the support and guidance you need.
Do you have debt? It’s important that you clear this as quickly as you possibly can. Debt can cause all sorts of trouble in your life, from meaning that you have no money available to you to seeing interest pile up to the point you’re paying back a lot more than you borrowed in the first place. Of course, getting out of debt is often easier said than done. Some of the options outlined below should help you along the way.
- Be aware of how much you owe – a lot of people know they have debt but aren’t sure about how much, as it’s spread around. It’s important that you keep track of your debts and know how much you owe at any given time.
- Consolidate your debts – if you’re finding it difficult to keep track of multiple debts, you may want to consolidate them. This means gathering them all together in one, easily manageable place. You may want to take out a low interest rate loan and use this to pay off all the individual debts. You’ll then be left with one larger debt that you can chip away at easily.
- Balance transfer – high interest rates can rack up costs quickly. If you have credit card debt, you may want to look around and see if there are any cards available to you that have a low interest rate or special balance transfer offers that offer an interest free period.
If you have spare money, you may want to save some. This will ensure that you have something to fall back on when times get tough. A good way to approach this is contributing a certain amount or percentage of your disposable income away in a savings account each month. Find an account with a good interest rate to maximise your savings.
These, of course, are just a few pieces of advice, but each can make all the difference when it comes to managing your money correctly.