Help to Manage Finances
5 Personal Finance Channels to Help You Manage Your Money
Sound financial advice is important regardless of your financial situation. Unless you’re so rich that you don’t even have to think about money, there are always ways to cut back on spending, to spend your money more wisely, or to make extra cash.
While you’ll find a wealth of financial advice on the web, a lot of it can be confusing, frustrating, or unapproachable. By contrast, these personal finance channels will help you manage your money in a sensible manner.
1. The Dave Ramsey Show
Dave Ramsey is a well-known financial guru. He focuses on helping families become more financially disciplined in order to get debt. In addition to writing several books, he also has a daily financial radio show that you can watch live on .
While he can come off as a bit brash at times, there’s a lot of great financial advice here. And it will be especially useful for those really struggling to get their finances under control.
If you don’t have time to watch or listen to the full three-hour shows, the channel regularly posts short clips from the episodes that cover certain topics. Dave takes calls from listeners, addresses interpersonal money issues, and more.In the clip above, Dave talks to a caller whose girlfriend is hesitant to discuss money matters with him. He looks into how this could become a real issue for a couple, and discusses how vital good money management is in a marriage.
Another caller asks Dave what she should do with a $10,000 tax refund. It’s a good illustration of Ramsey’s “Baby Steps” plan, as he looks at the best things she can do with that extra cash flow.
For more advice on personal money matters, why not listen to these podcasts that will help you get debt 10 Podcasts That'll Help You Save Money & Get Debt 10 Podcasts That'll Help You Save Money & Get Debt There are a lot of money-related podcasts out there, but these 10 are the best for helping you get debt and master your money. Read More .
2. The Financial Diet
This channel doesn’t feature the deepest financial advice you’ll ever find, but it does offer some practical tips for people looking to take a more proactive approach to their finances. It hosts three shows per week:
- Making It Work on Thursdays features video essays of success stories from real people.
- The Lifestyle Fix on Fridays looks at how to make your life better on a budget.
- The Financial Diet on Tuesdays covers general financial topics.
While you might think about personal finance as an unapproachable topic, you can break it down into smaller segments, helping you to get started. This video in The Financial Diet series discusses six ways you can make financially smart decisions before you even wake up.
We’re all familiar with shopping on Amazon for the convenience and selection. But this Lifestyle Fix video points out some products that you should never buy on Amazon because you can save money by shopping elsewhere.
3. The Money Guy Show
The Money Guy Show is another money-focused show that offers live episodes as well as clips on all sorts of topics. You’ll find everything from rates of return to tax penalties to 401(k)s and more covered. The channel has a huge archive of videos to browse through, so you can pick up the basics of many different spheres of finance.
Don’t let the low subscriber count fool you. If you don’t mind the two-host show format, there’s a wealth of valuable content to mull over here.
The above clip looks at some common financial activities that you may have been fooled into thinking are smart investments, but which are actually gambling with your money.
Have you ever been confused by the world of retirement plans? This full video breaks down the different types of 401(k) plans so you can make an informed decision.
Speaking of low subscriber counts, TruFinancials is a criminally underrated channel. Denis does an excellent job of explaining financial topics in an approachable manner. The advice here is well beyond what you’d expect from a smaller channel.
TruFinancials covers living frugally, credit cards, bank accounts, and more.
In this clip, Denis looks at how paying just an extra $100/month on a student loan can drastically reduce the amount of money you’ll pay over the life of the loan.
Budgeting is vital for making a plan for your money and knowing where it’s going. If you struggle with creating a budget, check out the channel’s monthly budget planning and reports videos. This one looks at his budget plan for April 2019.
Our final channel is another smaller but high-quality channel full of relevant financial topics. The owner is an ex-engineer who strives to save as much money as he can and then share what’s he’s learned with other people.
This video looks at how you don’t need fancy clothes to impress people. Instead, a budget wardrobe and good reputation can speak for itself.
A somewhat meta topic is covered in this clip. BeatTheBush asks how much is really enough, and how this ties into your financial life.
Is Just One Way to Manage Your Money Better
Of course, while there’s a ton of good advice here, you should weigh up opinions from trusted sources before making any major money-related decisions. But these will at least help you start thinking about your finances in a more critical way, and make decisions to set yourself up for longterm financial success.
For more help with personal finance, check out these tools for people who hate managing their finances 6 Easy Tools for People Who Hate Managing Finances 6 Easy Tools for People Who Hate Managing Finances Do you hate managing your finances? Does writing out a budget fill you with dread? Check out these easy tools that make the process much easier and more enjoyable. Read More .
Explore more about: Diving Into , Money Management, Personal Finance, , Channels.
10 Tips To Help Manage Your Finances
For many January is the time when resolutions are made and goals for the new year are set. I’ve made only one resolution this year to start each day right. So far, because of circumstance, I’ve not being doing this as I had planned, but I won’t give up on that, I know it will take little steps.
As a couple, we have resolved to manage our finances and budget more effectively. We don’t do too bad a job at this, and we have our clear defined roles when it comes to how we spend our income.
He takes care of the necessities in life – utility bills and mortgage; and I take care of the fun things in life, our car repayments, holidays, days out and treats. We share the responsibility of groceries.
It’s the way we have been rolling since we got married and it works for us.
Since my husband takes care of the business side of things when it comes to finances, I asked him what he does to keep things in check…
In this current climate of financial uncertainty we recently re-mortgaged to not only get a better deal than our current rate, but also to opt for a fixed rate mortgage.This way, we’re secure in the knowledge of knowing that if interest rates do start to rise in the next year or 2, our payments will remain unchanged which means we can still keep to our budget without hopefully any nasty surprises.
There are online tools TSB’s mortgage repayment calculator that you can use to find out how much money you can potentially borrow.
Tip #1 – Assess the type of mortgage you are currently on and whether if switching could save you money each month.
We make use of various comparison websites to see what the best deal available is, and I’m not scared about changing providers! We also try to be more energy efficient around the house, not leaving electricals on standby and switching off lights once we’ve left a room. We have cavity wall insulation and the loft is insulated too which minimises the amount of heating we need to use in the colder months.
Tip #2 – Use utility comparison websites to make sure you are getting the best deal for your electricity, gas, phone, broadband, insurances etc.
We start each week with a meal plan so we know what to buy, and thus, not spending money on food that will go to waste.
Tip #3 – Write a meal plan each week to help you shop smarter and not waste money on buying food you won’t use.
We do the grocery shopping online and collect it from the store, that way we can see what we are spending in advance, and not tempted by special offers that we really don’t need.
It’s very easy to become swayed by product placement in supermarkets! We only take up on special offers 3 for 2 when we know that it’s a product that we will use, and of course, make sure we pick up the free ones when there is a BOGOF!
Tip #4 – Only take up on special offers if you know you are going to use the products! If it’s just going to end up in the bin because it went date, it was a waste of money!
Another thing we do every so often is “shop our kitchen”, because, invariably there will be times when we’ve got food languishing at the back of the cupboard or at the bottom of the freezer, and it’s amazing what meals you can make! There have been times when all we’ve needed to buy the basics milk and fresh veg/fruit.
Tip #5 – every week/month go through your store cupboards and fridge/freezer to see what food items you can use that week in meals, you may be surprised what you find! This will save you money on your shopping bill.
My husband has a full time salaried job, I, on the other hand am self-employed and have been for coming up to ten years. This means that it is always down to me to make sure I meet my income goals each month.
I know the things that I must pay out for each month – car repayments for example, and other financial commitments; I also know how much our annual holidays cost (since holidays are my domain, I’ve also written a post with my top 10 holiday budgeting tips that you may find helpful) so I divide that total by 12 to give me a monthly figure.
This gives me the very minimum that I must earn each and every month – without fail! I then double that and aim to hit that target at least every other month – this then pays for all the other treats we can enjoy as a family, days out, celebrations, things for the home etc.
It is the system that works well for me, and gives me something to strive for!
Christmas and birthdays come but once a year, and there have been times in my life when they’ve crept up on me (how does that even happen?!) and I realised I’ve not got any spare money to buy gifts etc. Be smart and plan for them…
Tip #8 – Set up a spreadsheet to help you track your daily/weekly/monthly spends; this can really help you to manage your finances and see where changes can be made if necessary.
Before I met my husband I had several thousands pounds worth of debts which I had to face head on.
I got free advice from various sources on and off line, prioritized my finances, managed my debts and proudly paid them all off. I learned my lesson (the hard way) to not spend beyond my means ever again.
If I want something I save for it now, rather than just bunging it onto a store or credit card and trying to forget about it…
Tip #10 – Have an emergency contingency fund. There will be times when you need to pay for something unexpectedly, so ensure you have money when you need it by putting a proportion of your earnings into savings for those rainy days.
I hope that our tips to help manage your finances will be useful to you. How do you manage your finances? Are there any tips you can share? Let me know in the comments section below this blog post.
How to Help Manage the Finances of Aging Parents
Getting old is a fact of life.
Unfortunately, people may start to lose their cognitive ability to make smart decisions as they reach an advanced age.
This is a valid concern as you watch your parents reach the later stages of their lives.
One area where aging individuals often run into problems is their money.
Here are a few things you should consider if you have aging parents that may need help with their finances.
These ideas should help your parents’ finances and help make sure their wishes are honored.
Managing Bank Accounts and Other Financial Accounts
Managing financial accounts and bills can be a difficult task for anyone.
Aging parents can become vulnerable to financial scams and missed payments. This gets worse as their decision-making abilities deteriorate.
Many seniors become more forgetful as they get older, too.
Your parents may begin missing payments that could have very negative effects. This can happen even if they have a perfect track record for paying their bills on time up to this point.
One worst case scenario involves a lender foreclosing on the family home.
Another negative outcome could involve the family car getting repossessed.
These are the last things your parents need to deal with if they’re starting to lose their independence.A parent doesn’t have to fall victim to a scam or be forgetful to need help with their finances. In some households, one person is completely in charge of the finances. If the family CFO passes away, the surviving partner could be hopelessly lost.
The partner may not have the knowledge to make even the most basic financial decisions.
One way to help prevent financial issues is monitoring your parents’ finances.
Of course, your parents need to be on board for this to work.
If your parents are comfortable with the idea, they could share their online banking login information. Then, you can keep an eye on their checking account.
With that said:
Sharing login information can be dangerous.
After all, a person with the login information could wipe out a bank account balance in an instant.
For that reason, it may make more sense to have your parents set up read-only bank account access. Some banks or credit unions may offer this service. That said, there is an easier option that helps you take a look at your parents’ full financial picture.
Many financial aggregators could be used for this purpose.
Companies Personal Capital and Mint allow you to track your own finances all in one place. If your parents set up an account, you could track their finances in one place, too.
Have a parent set up an account with one of these services. Then, link their bank accounts and other financial accounts. If this is difficult for your parents to understand, help guide them through the process.
Make sure to use a unique password for the financial aggregator. This way your parents' accounts should be safe if the password to the financial aggregator is compromised.
Not all parents will be comfortable giving read-only access through their bank or an aggregator.Instead, you can review their financial account statements with them each month. It's ly easiest to do this in person to make sure everything is in order since you can ask questions.
You should be able to see if your parents pay their usual bills on time by monitoring their accounts.
Even so, you’ll need to stay aware.
You'll need to make sure bills for new accounts are added to the list of things to watch for.
Keep an eye out for other non-regular bills, such as medical bills, to make sure they get paid, too.
The downside to reviewing statements monthly is you won’t be able to keep an eye on their accounts on a day to day basis.
This makes it tougher to catch fraudulent transactions before severe damage is done.
Access to Safe Deposit Boxes
Your parents may have one or many safe deposit boxes.
Unfortunately, access to safe deposit boxes is often strictly monitored.
If your name isn’t on the list of people that can access the box, you typically can’t gain access. You may be denied access even if you have the key unless certain conditions are met.
The easiest way to make sure you can access a safe deposit box is to make sure your name is on the list of people that can access the box.
If you aren’t on the list, the laws governing who can open the boxes and under what circumstances vary by state.
Research your state’s laws to see what options you have.
Get Professional Advice
As with most complicated financial situations, it’s often best to get professional advice.
Professionals deal with these issues every day. They can make sure everything is set up properly.Writing a will, setting up a trust or granting power of attorney can be complicated and have unintended consequences. This is especially true if your parents have a unique situation.
An estate attorney can help your parents navigate their state’s laws and make sure they’ve considered everything they need to consider before enacting these documents.
Make Sure a Will Is in Place and Updated
A will is one type of document that allows a person to state their final wishes should they die. It’s important to have a will in place so your family can honor your parents’ wishes when they pass.
To write an enforceable will, the person must be of sound mind and have two witnesses sign the document, as well.
People think of wills in the sense that they tell a person, the executor, how to distribute the person’s belongings and financial assets after they die.
However, wills can also name guardians for children and pets. Often, these decisions are more important than how to distribute financial assets.
While your parents may have a will in place, make sure they keep it up to date. Circumstances change over time. Your parents may want to change how they distribute their assets.
If they don’t update their will, assets may be distributed according to the last version of the will.
Your parents may want to consider a trust instead of a will.
This is often the case if your parents have a considerable amount of assets to their name or they have specific instructions they want followed.
A living trust allows a person to control assets in their trust until they die or become incapacitated. They can also name a successor trustee to take over if they become disabled or incapacitated.If set up correctly, a living trust can help avoid probate. It can also control what happens with the property in the trust, even after your parents are gone.
Your parents must place assets they want to be controlled by the trust into the trust. That means they’ll have to re-title major assets their name and into the trust’s name. If they don't, the trust can't control the assets.
Power of Attorney
Another way to help an aging parent with their finances involves what’s called a power of attorney.
Each state has their own laws regarding power of attorney.
In general, a power of attorney allows a person to name someone to act in their place.
Typically, power of attorney is set up for financial or medical reasons. Your parents can set a power of attorney to start working immediately, at a future date or when an event happens in the future.
Power of attorney can be permanent, for a specific event, such as closing on a home, or for a temporary period.
Your parents will need a durable power of attorney if they want the power of attorney to remain in effect after they become incapacitated.
It’s important to consider granting power of attorney carefully. The person the power is granted to can make decisions as if they were the person that gave the power of attorney.
A power of attorney may even give access to a safe deposit box, although policies will vary by bank and laws may vary by state.
Get Started Today to Make Life Easier Later
The best time to talk to your parents about how to manage their finances is before the need arises.
While talking about finances usually won’t be a fun exercise, discussing how to help before action needs to be taken allows everyone to come to an agreeable arrangement.
Help your parents get their financial lives in order so that you can easily assist should the need arise. It will make helping less stressful for everyone.When discussing finances, make sure that all necessary documentation is taken care of and readily available. This includes safe deposit box access, trusts, power of attorney forms and wills.
When the time comes to help your aging parents, all you have to do is enact the plan already put into place.
If you’re forced to step in to help your parents with their finances without advance notice, remember that this is a big change for them.
Check in with them on a regular basis, explain what you’re doing and do your best to stick to their wishes.
8 Great Apps To Help Manage Your Home Finances on the Mac
Keeping track of your home finances and expenditure can be made all the easier if you have some good software to help.
The Mac App Store has hundreds of home finance applications (mainly found in the Finance or Business categories) ranging from expenses and accounting packages to calculators, spreadsheets, tax calculators, and credit card debt managers. In fact, if you can think of it, it’s probably already there in the App Store.
Here is our guide to 8 of the best home finance apps that you can find in the App Store.
Details: Apple website
4D Expenses is a handy little program to track expenses and view in various categorisations such as groceries, meals out, house, car and many more. It can produce a range of pie charts and graphs to illustrate your monthly outgoings, and can export data to applications such as Numbers and Excel.
Once you’ve organised your data, it’s possible to drag and drop the graphs into other applications to share, or import additional data from you bank statements (in CSV format).
As the developer’s website rather humorously states: “if you know what you spend you’ll also know how to save them. Without putting money into the virtual envelopes. It’s good for our grandmothers”.
Despite the cryptic message, the application is rather quite good and a bargain at just £1.49.
A slightly more expensive but much more comprehensive package – 4D Finances – is available from the same developers.
4D Expenses by DAG s.c.
Details: Apple website
Nobody s having mountains of debt on credit cards to pay off. Bad Plastic can help you manage your credit card accounts more efficiently with all your cards clearly displayed in one place. Most of the features could admittedly be achieved in Numbers, but Bad Plastic makes it simple to get started and on top of your debt.
Add your credit cards and statements to see relevant details such as a timeline of the various balances, as well as details including the APR rate and percentage of credit used, plus the estimated number of payments until you’ve completely paid off your cards. You may as well buy the application on your credit card too.
Bad Plastic by PixelEspresso
Details: Apple website
Billings is a very comprehensive set of tools for quoting, invoicing and time tracking, and has dozens of very attractive invoice templates already built-in. It also offers a selection of useful business reports such as taxes, mileage and other important financial information. The application tracks late-paying clients and highlights them in red to bring to your attention.
The companion iPhone app lets you do all this on the move – for example adding new projects and sending invoices to clients. The app isn’t especially cheap, but includes most financial tools that any small business or home financial whiz would ever need.
Billings by Marketcircle Inc
Details: Apple website
The emphasis in CashBook is on simplicity and the ability to view your finances quickly and in real-time. The various tables aren’t all that pretty but they let you enter expenditure and assign items to different categories. CashBook doesn’t come with many frills, but since it’s free you can’t really complain.
CashBook by NES software
Price: FREE (in-app purchases are available)
Details: Apple website
Easy Books is another free app (albeit with several in-app purchases) focusing on bookkeeping, invoicing and time tracking. For anyone who manages several small projects at home, Easy Books could be an essential tool.
A whole suite of extensive financial reports is offered including profit and loss statements, balance sheets, VAT returns, cash flow statements and detailed monthly financials, plus all reports can be exported to use in other apps. Customer invoicing must be unlocked via an in-app purchase which costs £20.99, after which unlimited invoices can be created (and emailed) within the app.
Easy Books is also available on the iPhone and iPad with full synchronisation between all your devices.
Easy Books by Geode Software Ltd
Details: Apple website
iBank is billed as the most flexible and comprehensive personal finance application, and it’s certainly one of the most popular in the Mac App Store.
Create all manner of budgets and track expenses, as well as many other aspects of personal finances. The app can also import your data from popular apps such as Quicken and MS money.
The focus is a little US-centric in terms of currencies but it can easily be configured for UK users.There are a couple of unique features such as the ability to password protect sensitive bank details and schedule events with iCal, plus the ability to back up all your data in the cloud.
The mobile version of iBank is available in the iTunes App Store, which lets you do it all on iOS devices, too.
iBank by IGG Software
Details: Apple website
Numbers is basically a spreadsheet app that’s part of Apple’s popular iWork suite – which also includes Pages and Keynote.
Many essential home finance and budgeting features are perhaps more accessible in the other applications, but can be achieved in Numbers with a little patience – especially if you use the built-in templates.
Numbers is a very capable spreadsheet app and can do most of the things you’d want, but it may not be to everyone’s taste and novice users maybe better off with some of the other apps mentioned.
Numbers by Apple
Details: Apple website
Have you ever wanted to save up for a holiday or a new car but need help and encouragement? Savings Jar is a fun and easy way to save up for a rainy day – it’s very simple but adds a new twist to the traditional glass savings jar that it replaces.
Just enter a new savings goal and specify the dates and amount, and Savings Jar automatically tracks your progress on the cork board (complete with pictures and notes) until you’ve achieved the magic number.
Thrifty savers are rewarded with bronze, silver or gold stars if they’ve saved enough.
Savings Jar by Craig Romans
8 Small Business Accounting Tools to Help You Manage Your Finances — Business Finance
Accounting can be a time-consuming chore for small business owners, but a necessary one in order to track, manage, and optimize your business' growth over time.
Sooner or later (and the sooner, the better), you’ll need to invest in a small business accounting software and system to manage your cash flow and prepare for tax time.
From bookkeeping to invoicing to tracking expenses, there are a lot of different things to consider when choosing the right software for your needs—and it's an important choice, because it can seriously simplify your small business finances.
That's why we’ve put together this list of popular small business accounting tools and Shopify apps to help you pick the right accounting system for you.
1. Quickbooks Online
Intuit Quickbooks Online is considered the standard when it comes to small business accounting and bookkeeping software, offering many of the features and bookkeeping functionality most types of businesses need with the added benefit that your accountant is probably already familiar with it.
Quickbooks makes it easy to select and pay for the features you need for your specific purposes, from:
- Managing bills from vendors and suppliers.
- Expense tracking (including the ability to snap and save receipts through the app)
- Inventory tracking
By connecting your bank account to Quickbooks Online, your account activity gets downloaded and categorized in Quickbooks, saving you the time it would take to reconcile and compare your records with your actual account activity.
You can take Quickbooks online for a test drive with a mock business to see it in action.
Price: $15 to $40 per month
Freshbooks is a popular invoicing solution with built-in expense management and time-tracking features, as well as the ability to accept payments from clients.
Naturally, this makes it great for freelancers, agencies, and other service-based businesses with the ability to automate late payment reminders to customers, manage your different clients and projects with pricing that's the number of active clients you have at a time.
Freshbooks is known for being user-friendly and providing stellar customer support when you need it, and is an easy choice if you sell services rather than products.
Price: $15 to $50 per month
Xero offers a wide breadth of accounting tools that include everything from bookkeeping to paperless expense management and the ability to get paid in over 160 currencies with automatic conversions and exchange rates updated hourly.
Xero lets you send invoices and quotes, as well as automatically reconcile your accounts, as you'd expect from a good accounting software. But the availability of inventory tracking and the ability to make purchase orders to your supplier on affordable plans makes it a good option if you are selling products online or offline.
Xero also offers you a directory of “Xero Champions” to work with—accountants and bookkeepers that specialize in different industries from retail to wholesale to professional services and more.
Price: $9 to $70 per month
4. Zoho Books
Zoho Books is part of the Zoho collection of business software that also includes a CRM, help desk and, in this case, bookkeeping applications. So if you are already using or plan to use other Zoho tools, particularly their CRM, it might make sense to use their business finance software too.
You get most of the features you'd come to expect from a bookkeeping software, plus time-tracking and other features that are perfect for selling services and not just products.
Price: $9 to $29 per month
Accounting Apps For Your Shopify Store
If you are a Shopify merchant, you might be manually copying over sales and customer data from your store to another bookkeeping software or a spreadsheet.
However, there are apps that can automate the flow of data, give you access to important inventory, financial, and customer data, and free up time that you can then spend growing your business.
5. Connector Apps
Getting your various software solutions to “speak” to one another can save you a lot of time and help you automate the transfer of data from one application to another or from you to one of your business partners.
That's where “connectors” or integration apps come in.
The following connector apps let you seamlessly export product, payment, tax, and customer data with a single click, saving you from the monotony of manual data entry.
There are connector apps for:
- Xero ($5 a month)
- Quickbooks (Free)
- Zapier (Free to $125 a month depending on your usage)
- OneSaaS ($29 to $99 a month, depending on the volume of your business).
Integration cloud solutions Zapier and OneSaaS offer a good alternative if you're stumped to find a way to connect your different software or automatically update data in your spreadsheets.
Plus, you can also use the service to automate other workflows across your business.
Without accounting for the cost of goods sold (COGS), you won't be able to track the real profit you net from each sale or the true value of your inventory.
SimplyCost is a simple and affordable Shopify app that lets you generate profit-based reports cost of goods sold.
You can set the cost of your goods for specific variants and even time frames within your sales history to paint an accurate picture of your actual profit.
Price: $4.99 per month
Profiteer is another Shopify app that can help track COGS of your products and variants. It doesn't integrate with accounting software directly but you can export a CSV report that shows the total cost of your inventory or even profits within a certain time frame.
You can even apply your cost pricing to your previous sales history.
It accounts for currency fluctuations as well, so that you have an accurate idea of your true profit at any given time if you don't sell in USD.
Price: $15 to $30 per month
8. Xporter Data Export Tool
Xporter isn’t an accounting tool specifically, but it is a great way to create almost any kind of report you want by exporting your store’s data into an Excel file. It can also give you data and fields that you wouldn't have access to in your store by default.
You can automate these reports to be emailed to yourself, your supplier, your accountant or anyone else who's involved with your business on an ongoing basis.
In the words of one user:
“This app helps me generate reports any which way that I . By date, country, fulfilled or not, product, and so much more. It is 100% customizable. I can use the Excel file (or CSV) to send to my supplier, or use reports for my own benefit.”
Price: $7 to $45 per month
Find an Accounting System That Works For You
Factors ranging from the size of your business, your industry, your employees, whether you sell products or services or both, among others, are important to consider when choosing an accounting system that works for your business and your budget.
If you don't need all the extra features, such as payroll management, then you can choose a simpler solution that gets the job done. On the flip side, you might also want to consider software that's able to scale with your business as you plan for growth.
As always, when investing in any software as part of your business' technology ecosystem, it's important to do your due diligence and know exactly what you're paying for.
Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify today—no credit card required!
Beginner’s guide to managing your money
Taking the time to manage your money better can really pay off. It can help you stay on top of your bills and save £1,000s each year.
You can use these extra savings to pay off any debts you might have, put them towards your pension, or spend them on your next car or holiday.
Read on for money management tips, including how to set up a budget, sticking to it and how to save.
How to set up a budget
Do you have more than one account? New services mean you can now see all your accounts in a single banking app. Find out more here.
The first step to taking control of your finances is doing a budget.
It will take a little effort, but it’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of the money you have coming in and going out.
Setting up a budget means you’re:
- Less ly to end up in debt
- Less ly to get caught out by unexpected costs
- More ly to have a good credit rating
- More ly to be accepted for a mortgage or loan
- Able to spot areas where you can make savings
- In a great position to save up for a holiday, a new car, or another treat
What you need
Over half of UK households keep a regular budget. Most say it gives them peace of mind about how much they are spending, and makes them feel better about life in general. Manage your money better with our Budget planner tool.
To get started on your budget, you’ll need to work out how much you spend on:
- Household bills
- Living costs
- Financial products (insurance…)
- Family and friends (presents…)
- Travel (car costs, public transport…)
- Leisure (holidays, sport, restaurants…)
A great way to work out your budget is with our free and easy-to-use Budget planner.
Just grab as much information as you can about your income and spending (bills, bank statements…) and get started.
You can save your information and come back to it anytime you .
Alternatively you can set up a budget using a spreadsheet or just write it all down on paper.
There are also some great free budgeting apps available and your bank or building society might have an online budgeting tool that takes information directly from your transactions.
Getting your budget back on track
Use our Quick cash finder to see how small changes can save big money.
If you’re spending more than you have coming in, you need to work out where you can cut back.
This could be as easy as making your lunch at home, or cancelling a gym membership you don’t use.You could also keep a spending diary and keep a note of everything you buy in a month.
Or, if you do most of your spending with a bank card, look at last month’s bank statement and work out where your money is going.
You can find more information in How to budget on a low income.
Get everyone involved
Get everyone in your family involved with keeping to a budget.
Sit down together and make a plan that you can all stick to.
Work out how much spending money is available and agree between you what you’ll each have.
More on Should you manage money jointly or separately?
Cutting your household bills and your mortgage
For many of us, household bills make up a large chunk of our spending.
The good news is that it’s easy to save hundreds of pounds off your bills by following our tips.
Read more in How to save money on household bills.
You can also save hundreds and even thousands of pounds by shopping around for a new mortgage, or reviewing the one you already have.
Why it pays to review your mortgage regularly.
Life is unpredictable so try to review your budget and your spending if there’s a change, or at least every couple of months.
You might get a pay rise, which means you can save more, or you might find your household bills increase.
Our section on Cutting costs has lots of helpful information.
If you have loans or owe money on credit cards it usually makes sense to pay off the debt that charges the highest rate of interest first.
Use our Money Health Check to get a clear picture of your finances and get personalised advice on how to improve your situation.
- Credit cards
- Store cards, which normally charge the highest rates of interest
- Personal loans from the bank, which normally charge a lower rate of interest than credit or store cards
It is important to make sure you don’t break the terms of your agreements.
So even if you’re focusing on paying down another debt, you must pay at least the minimum on any credit cards and your monthly required payments on any loan agreements.
Read more about How to prioritise your debts.
Getting help if debt problems become serious
If you’ve already missed credit card or loan payments or if you’re behind with so-called ‘priority debts’ such as your:
- Court fines,
- Energy bills,
- Council Tax,
- Child support
Take advice from a free debt advice charity straight away.
Find out Where to go to get free debt advice.
Set a savings goal
Use our Savings calculator to see how your savings will grow.
Some people find it hard to get motivated about saving, but it’s often much easier if you set a goal.
Your first step is to have some emergency savings – money to fall back on if you have an emergency, such as a boiler breakdown or if you can’t work for a while.
Try to get three months’ worth of expenses in an easy or instant access account.
Don’t worry if you can’t save this straight away, but keep it as a target to aim for.The best way to save money is to pay some money into a savings account every month.
Once you’ve set aside your emergency fund, possible savings goals to consider might include:
- Buying a car without taking out a loan
- Taking a holiday without having to worry about the bills when you get back
- Having some extra money to draw on while you’re on maternity or paternity leave
Read more about How to set a savings goal.
Investing your savings
As your savings start to grow, you can:
- Put more money into your pension. It’s a great way to make sure you’ll be able to live more comfortably later in life.
- Make an investment plan your goals and timeframes.
Learn more in Why save into a pension. Find out more in Investing – beginner’s guide.
If you’re overwhelmed by your debts
Often, the hardest part of paying off your debts is taking the first step.
Learn more about Getting informal help to manage your money.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you know you’re struggling financially.
It’s tempting to bury your head in the sand and ignore your bank statements and demands for payment, but it won’t make the problem any better and could make it worse.
So, take a deep breath and open any letters you’ve been ignoring.
Once you’ve done this, at least you’ll know what you have to deal with and you can work out what you need to do next.
Find out Where to go to get free debt advice.
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