Keeping yourself above water when it comes to your finances can be extremely difficult. Estimates suggest that there’s around £1770 billion debt in the UK right now, and that number isn’t likely to decrease as more unscrupulous companies pop up and more and more people struggle with their money.
You might not be able to stop yourself from falling into debt or from winding up in financial trouble, but there are ways that you can try and look after your money. By keeping a close eye on your finances, you might be surprised what you can achieve. Here are 9 financial hacks to help you stay in the black.
1. Take out a loan
Many people are surprised when they learn that taking out a loan can actually help them to manage their finances better. Think about it, though; if you’re not in serious financial trouble, options such as direct lender loans from reputable sources can actually help to repair your bank account. What’s more, if you take out a loan and pay it back promptly, then you’ll find that your credit score increases, which can help you with important things like mortgages and even job applications.
2. Create a budget
As soon as you can, you should think about creating a budget for yourself. Making a budget means you’ll know exactly what’s coming in and going out of your account, and you’ll be able to make smarter decisions accordingly. To create a budget, you’ll need to set aside a good chunk of time to comb your bank accounts and figure out what your biggest expenditures are. Then, you’ll need to re-allocate spending in order to prioritise the most pressing financial obligations you have.
3. Ditch your car
If, like many people, you rely on a car to get you around, you might want to cut back on that reliance. Around 68% of Brits drive their cars to work, with only 11% taking advantage of rail services, so public transport is nowhere near as popular an option as it should be. It’s cheaper, cleaner for the environment, and less of a worry; you won’t need to concern yourself over whether your car needs repairs or not. If you’re able to take public transport or walk to your destination, it’s a good idea to consider doing so.
4. Download a budget management app
There are many apps out there that can help you to manage your finances. Whether you’re an Android or iOS user, you’ll find a huge wealth (no pun intended) of options designed to assess your bank account and help you figure out where you’re going wrong. Emma, Snoop, and Mint are all excellent places to start, but if you’re not a fan of those apps, you’ll find a huge amount of alternatives waiting for you. Simply download a few of the free versions and figure out which one you like best!
5. Monetise your skills
Whether you’re already working a full-time job or you’re struggling for employment, think about the skills you have and whether it’s possible to monetise them. Could you become a tutor, for example, in your chosen field? If not, would guest blogging be an option for you? If you’ve got skills or knowledge that you can leverage, then you’d be surprised just how much money you might be able to make from them, especially if they’re skills that are currently in demand.
6. Round up purchases and invest the difference
Many budget management apps will automatically do this for you, but if you want to start a savings account, one of the best ways to do so is to round up each of your purchases to the nearest pound and invest the difference. Every time you buy something – a coffee, say, or a round of groceries – round up your purchase and then send the difference to your savings account. It’ll quickly fill up, and the difference will be small enough that you won’t notice the extra expenditure.
7. Be on the lookout for subscriptions
Did you know that more than 4% of Americans don’t actually use the subscription services they pay for? It’s true, and that number is likely to translate to many other places around the world, too. While you’re constructing your budget – or afterwards, if you forget in the moment – think about subscriptions you’re currently signed up for and whether you’re actually using them. If you’re not, then you should definitely cancel them, as they’re costing you unnecessarily.
8. Use free software
Many of us need software solutions in our lives in order to help us accomplish things. However, you might not know that there’s almost certainly a free version of whatever software you’re using, and in many cases, it’ll be just as powerful and useful as what you have now. Image manipulation, video editing, music notation, and many other types of software can all be found online for free, potentially saving you a huge amount in costly subscriptions or paid software renewals.
9. Cook your meals in batch form
If you cook your meals far ahead of time and freeze them for the week to come, you’ll find that you’re saving a huge amount of money. Rather than simply visiting the store whenever you feel you need to, try making meals like soup, chilli, or pasta sauce in large quantities, then saving those meals for the rest of the week. You’ll save even more if you convert your food to vegan alternatives; beans are far less costly than meat, for example, but can be just as nutritious.
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