If you’d like to get a better handle on your finances then these money hacks are for you – and none of them involve taking up a second job
Money is one of those taboo subjects that not many people are comfortable discussing, yet it’s one of the most common sources of stress. If you’re worried about making ends meet or planning for the future it may be time to take a long hard look at your financial habits. Much like you work hard to introduce healthy habits into your day to day life, financial planning is the same. It’s just a matter of changing your attitudes and habits around money. It sounds easier than it is, but by following these money hacks you’ll get there.
Track all your expenses
When was the last time you sat down and actually wrote out all your monthly expenses? We bet it’s been a while yet it’s one of the most important money hacks. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down every single expense that comes out of your account each month. Pay attention to the subscription services you may have signed up for on a free trial and never cancelled, the charity donations that have built up, and the charges that are effectively doubling up. Once you have a clear picture of what comes out of your account each month, take a look and see what you can cut. Do you really need a subscription to Netflix and Now TV? Do you need Spotify and ITunes? Be realistic with yourself and see where you can trim the fat.
Set a budget
Once you know what your expenses are, you can start to work on a monthly basis. What’s coming up this month and further down the track? Do you have a friend’s birthday this month and a holiday in two month’s time? If so figure out what you need to put aside to cover short and long term goals, and set a weekly budget from what’s left. We all know the feeling of handing over a debit card and not knowing what’s going to happen. So instead of spending blindly and falling short a week before pay day, stretch out your expenses and budget accordingly.
Go on an all-cash diet
Do you use your card constantly instead of carrying cash? If you have a tendency to go over budget each week would you consider going on an all-cash diet? This basically sees you withdraw money on a Friday, a Monday or whatever day suits you best, and that’s all you have for the week. The best thing about carrying cash is that it stops those impulse purchases. Ok so you don’t like what you have in the fridge for dinner but you also only have €20 left in your wallet for the next three days. So instead of buying more food, you make do with what you have. Try it for a week and we promise you’ll be surprised.
Keep a money diary
If you’re on an all-cash diet and still find yourself without any money at the end of the week, try keeping a spending diary. Maybe you’re spending too much money on take away coffees? Maybe you could save money by bringing your lunch to work every second or third day? By keeping a spending diary you’ll discover your spending habits and then you can figure out where you can make changes. Much like starting a fitness programme, an all or nothing approach seldom works. So instead, discover your own spending habits and work around them.
Both with yourself and those around you. If friends are going out but you can’t afford an expensive dinner, explain that and agree to meet them after. Maybe invite people to your house for a movie night instead of spending money on the cinema. All too often group dynamics exist because nobody wants to be the person who says no. You can bet that if you say you can’t do something because you’re trying to change your finances for the better, your friends and family will be more supportive than you might think.