I want to share with you how you can start a financial detox and you don’t have to wait until the New Year either – have a go today!
A New Year is about fresh starts, it is about making resolutions to implement a new habit or kick a bad one. While many work towards becoming healthy and fit or setting out to achieve a specific goal, there is one part of our lives that is often overlooked – money!
The New Year is the perfect time to take part in a financial detox.
What is a financial detox I hear you say? Put simply it is a way of getting your finances in shape.
We all know that Christmas comes around at the same time each year yet three in 10 adults reported they will be in debt after Christmas 2016. A nationwide poll which was commissioned by BBC1’s Watchdog noted that the debt is likely to be up to £250 per person with younger adults more likely to experience debt.
I’ve put together a financial detox list of tips to help you keep on track in 2017…
Write out your financial goals
Most of us are so focused on today that we are often ill prepared for tomorrow. Which is why it is so important to plan for the future.
We all have dreams for the future, but without a plan dreams can often be put to one side.
To gain control of your financial future start with your financial goals. Writing these down is a great way of reinforcing the goal and it also allows you to visualise and reaffirm that goal.
Why not treat yourself to a notebook in the January sales and start writing down your financial goals – remember to keep it close and have a pen attached to it – no excuses!
Purify your income and expenditure
To get a handle on your finances it is important to list your income and expenditure.
First step is to know your actual income from your salary, benefits, child benefit etc. Once you have this information you can then move on to your expenditure.
Note down your bills and whatever other monthly expenses you have including those trips to the coffee shop or the times you nip in for a pint of milk but end up spending over £20!
Once you have this information you can create a realistic budget to help you keep track of your monthly budget.
Trim your spending
Seems straightforward but when you have a lot of bills it can seem a daunting task. Break it down in to manageable chunks.
First re-negotiate your current services such as mobile, home insurance, broadband and cable TV services with your current providers. However, before calling them visit a cost comparison site such as Go Compare and see if you can get better deals by getting a quote for each of the services.
With this key information to hand contact your current providers and ask them what kind of discount they could give you. Pass on the deals you have found on the cost comparison website. More times than not, they will offer you a discount.
Personally, I have saved hundreds doing this – I know you can too.
Plug the toxic spending leaks
Sit down and assess what you currently spend your money on. You need to be honest with yourself.
Ask yourself the following questions: Why am I spending money on this item? Do I want or need this item? Is it worth that much? Is this purchase trying to make up for some area of my life that is lacking? Is there a less expensive alternative to what I want to buy? If so, why am I not willing to buy the less expensive alternative? What else do I want or need that this money could be used for?
Give your answers some thought. Once you understand your feelings make an agreement to rectify any bad habits which are causing you to spend money carelessly.
For example, you could put strategies in place to deal with these such as having a ‘no-spend’ day or setting yourself a target such as saving for a holiday.
Whatever the challenge I highly recommend you start a spending diary so you can track where your money goes.
Fire up your income making skills
It’s not just about cutting back it is also about increasing your income. There are many ways to do that. If you have time to spare you could try out mystery shopping, or completing surveys during your lunch break or indeed you could start a blog. You could also sell your unwanted clothes, CDs, and DVDs online or if you have a hobby – sell your handmade items at craft fairs or online.
If you are receiving benefits, visit your local Citizen’s Advice to make sure you are claiming everything you are entitled to. There are so many people that miss out because they are unaware of what they can claim. Make sure you are not one of them!
This article first appeared on Belfast Live.
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