Friday, 8 February 2013

Money Money Money

So having seen a few posts on twitter about money (or lack of) I thought I would do a post about money management. Now I am by no means claiming to be an expert on the subject, in fact I would say I am quite the opposite. I have debt, some days I wonder if I will ever be debt free and most days I wish I could meet my former 21 year old self and slap her hard in the face and tell her NO! Never the less what’s done is done so now all I can do is work hard to improve the situation that I am in as let’s face it, it won’t sort itself out! So here is what I have been doing...

Meal Planning

Meal times used to be a great expense in our house, weekends were mainly filled with takeaways and I used to be in and out the supermarket almost daily picking something up for dinner and of course other tempting treats would end up in the basket. By having a meal plan we know what we will be eating each day and we avoid 'convenience' foods.

This now leads me on to my next point.

Shopping Lists

Once we have completed our menu plan for the week we write our shopping list, we also check the cupboards and fridge to see what food / ingredients we already have in. I know it sounds simple but I can’t tell you how many times I have bought unnecessary items as I didn't realise I already had them in. Also try going down a brand or like us consider a cheaper supermarket. We used to shop at Tesco’s when there was an Aldi right next door and now we do a weekly shop including nappies / wipes and pet food for approx £40 a week.

Spending Diary

Keep track of your spending. Keep a diary for a month and then review it, you will be surprised by what you spend your money on!

Know your APR’s

If you have got any debts then take note of them and learn your APR’s. My husband has a credit card that he routinely paid the minimum payment for every month for around two years before noticing the balance never went down. He must have paid the amount owed twice over by now!

Tackle the debt

Think about how you want to tackle the debt. There are a number of charities that can help with debt management. NEVER pay anyone to help you deal with your debt there really is no need.  Charities such as Stepchange, CAB and Christian’s against poverty can all help.

You can of course tackle the debt yourself (this is what we are doing). First step, if you are in arrears with any payments then contact the companies and discuss it with them. It’s so scary and daunting however you feel such a sense of relief once the call is over.

Also you might want to consider snowballing, this is where you prioritise your debts in order of highest APR’s and aim to pay off the debt with the highest APR first.  To help calculate a snowball plan click here.

Believe in yourself

Finally believe in yourself! At times it will seem impossible, like you are constantly trying to fight a losing battle but unfortunately these things can't improve over night and it does take some time before you see the differences but I can tell you from experience that once you do, it makes it all worth it. I  may still have some debts but I know I'm better off than I was two years ago and I know things now can only get better. As I say I am no expert, I am just talking from personal experience. 

Good Luck and Thanks for reading :)

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