Finances: Whether You’re Balling Or Broke, Here’s Five Ways To Sort Your Money

Finances: Whether You’re Balling Or Broke, Here’s Five Ways To Sort Your Money

Saving money and focusing on finances is one of those topics that always pops up. Whether it’s because you’re thinking of buying a car, moving home, or you’re interested in investing – taking a moment to focus on your finances is always a good idea.

When you’re self employed or running your own business, you have to be on top of your income and outgoings for tax purposes, and this is something that I’ve learnt to do over the last two years and to be honest, it’s been great for me to be thrust into facing every detail of my finances and be accountable.

Covid has affected us all in some way financially – some positively, and some negatively. I know a lot of people who were on furlough and were able to save without having to commute and have the other expenses of travel and work life. We all were stuck in lockdown, with no way to spend money on a social life for what felt like a very, VERY long time! This was a blessing financially to so many people, but of course there was also the flip-side.

Some of us, myself included lost clients or ad clients who were unable to pay for work already completed, and others lost jobs or other sources of income.

It shook us all up and spat us out into a post-Covid world left to figure out and reassess how much disposable income we have, whether we can make ends meet, where to make our next investment and how to go about our finances all at the same time.

For me, I was left with debt from a client who owed Toby and myself around £10,000 for work we did over the lockdown which he never paid for. We ended up having to go to court which cost us around another £4000 and despite winning, he never paid up so we lost it all.

It was a very stressful situation to say the least, but it was a life lesson and a great way to give me a worst case scenario very early on in my entrepreneurial journey.

I know I’m not the only one, and I’m very fortunate that we’ve come out the other side stronger and more stable than ever, however no matter your financial situation right now, we need to keep on top of it and maintain it even when things are going well to avoid being taken by surprise or left unprepared for possible issues in the future.

 

Here are five things you can do to tend to your finances, whether you are balling or broke!

Cancel unnecessary subscriptions.

It’s no secret that Netflix have had an influx of cancellations recently and their overall subscriptions have reduced massively, very quickly. Personally, I love Netflix and the recent increase in subscriptions has been a bit annoying, but it’s worth it to me and my lifestyle to continue paying and brunt the extra cost. For some of you though, it might not be worth it at all, and if you actually go through your direct debits and see the things you’re paying for, I can assure you you’ll find a few things not worth spending your pennies on.

I know I have a lot of outgoings, and even though I watch things closely, there are always things that slip through the net. I have subscriptions to apps and online accounts that I mean as a free trial and forgot to cancel, I have also got an Ancestry account open that I’m paying for with no time to actually update my family tree.
I paid for a service last month and didn’t remember to cancel it this month so that’s another £100 gone out that was unintentional.

These things add up to big amounts, so keeping on top of what you’re subscribing to and whether you actually need it right now is really important.

Check your utility providers.

Back in the day you had a provider for your phone, electric, internet or gas and you just stuck with them. Customer loyalty was rewarded and staying put actually served you pretty well, but that’s actually a thing of the past now.

So many times I feel guilty about changing from one provider to another, but the truth is you’re more likely to be rewarded for moving rather than staying. This year I’ve already changed our internet, my phone network, switched from android to iPhone (yes and iPhone was actually the cheaper option), and moved one of my credit cards to a different bank.

The reality is that these companies are so big now that realistically, they aren’t prepared to favour you for your business, if you go you go and if the grass is greener when it comes to utility bills, it’s probably worth looking at.

Invest where you can.

This is a funny one, because as I mentioned before, some people actually have more disposable income now than before Covid, and if this is you then you might be in a position to invest. This could be on something as small as a tiny bit of Crypto (I have a post explaining my investment in both Bitcoin and Stella Lumens), a higher interest bank account, or it might be time for you to invest in a second property or a rental.

Take a good long look at your money, and assess what you actually can afford to invest. If this is £5 a month, then a high interest account or Crypto might be good. If you are finding yourself with £2000 at the end of the month, then saving for a deposit might be really attainable for you – you might even be able to afford that already.

Chat with a financial advisor, check out your options and get investing. If Covid taught us anything it’s that your main source of income is not guaranteed and that investing is key to safeguarding your financial security if something like this were to happen again.

 

Find out what you can do with your current debts.

If you do have debt, big or small, there may be something you can do about it. There’s no point in sitting in debt, paying interest only and actually increasing your debt rather than tackling it. It might even be that you will find it easier to manage consolidating your debt so it’s just one payment rather than many.

Again, seek out some options, find out what you can do and arm yourself with knowledge. Taking control of the situation is the first step to getting out of it and this is so important for your mental health in situations that feel like they’re controlling you.

Review your spend.

I know I keep using the C word, but Covid was a massive eye opener for me. I really got to know what I actually needed to spend money on and what I didn’t. By not going out and not shopping so much, I could see the true value in what I was buying. Over the two years I saw the clothes that were no longer worth keeping, and to no surprise it was all my cheaper clothes which lead me to make the decision to really ditch fast fashion and spend more on individual pieces. This decision has actually saved me money but I have better quality things that I truly love, over lots of things and nothing to wear.

I also realised that was important to me and made me feel good, and the things I spent money on just because. We have a lot of takeaways in this house! I love food and am a total foodie, but I get just as much enjoyment out of cooking a meal as I do getting a takeaway, so for me I decided to reduce the amount of takeaway food and drink (Starbucks 3 times a week anyone??), and now when I do have it, which to be honest is still more than most, I really enjoy it and appreciate it as a treat rather than a lazy alternative.

All these steps are super easy, and will probably take less time than you think. I would dedicate a couple of hours and go through your bank accounts at a top level and just see how much money you have to begin with.
This way you know if you’re in debt and if so, by how much. If you have savings or money in your account, you can see how much and from these figures you can choose what to do next in terms of making an investment or seeking debt help.
I would then look on a more granular level and make a spreadsheet of all your monthly payments and direct debits versus your income. Check that you are bringing in more than you are spending firstly, and if you are cutting if fine or overspending, cancel any subscriptions, accounts or spending that is not necessary.

Once you have a good idea of the money you have, and you have refined your outgoings to what is essential (please don’t mix this with stripping down the minimum. A takeaway a week is essential for me, along with money for a coffee, a treat when we go into town and the luxuries we have at home like Amazon and Netflix), you will feel so much more in control and will be empowered by your financial situation rather than daunted.

I’d love to know if you’ve done this yourself and if it helped you. As always you can chat with me via Instagram or my email address here on the blog.

I can’t wait to chat soon 🙂

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