*This is a collaborative post*
Since I’ve gone back to work after having Henry, I’ve been thinking a lot about our money and financial security. Craig and I both work full time, yet due to a high mortgage and childcare costs, we have little money left at the end of the month for anything – be that fun things or savings! We recently had to buy a second car and have some work done on our current car, and it’s frightening just how little security we have. If our main car broke down tomorrow we’d be stuck – no money to fix it and no money to replace it. Of course, there are family who would help us if we needed it but its made me really aware that we need to budget better and get our finances in order so we can put a little money by each month for a rainy day. Our financial situation worries me a little and I have decided to put a plan in action and am getting my finances straight! So here are 5 things you can do to keep your finances in check:
1) Budget better
I’m pretty good budgeter usually and make sure all our bills come out at the beginning of the month so they are paid and we don’t need to worry about them. I then transfer money for food to one account and petrol money to another account so we also have that money sorted for the month.
However the money that is then left is just a free for all. Both Craig and I have free access to the account ms buy what we want when we want. This works for us but also means that we tend to go crazy in the first two weeks and then struggle for the two weeks of the month! There’s no planning and definitely no saving going on!
2) Prepare for the future
Being a parent to two children, I’m super aware of death. I know this sounds morbid but I do worry what would happen if Craig and I were no longer around. We have life insurance but currently no will – something we really need to sort out, especially now we own a house! As we have no savings, in the event of our deaths, our house would need to be sold for our children to have something to live on with whoever became their guardians. We definitely need to put a proper plan in place regarding this.
3) Invest wisely
At the moment we have no investments because we don’t have any spare money left at the end of the month. However, once Alfie starts school, his childcare will decrease slightly, so my plan is to save that extra money and use it wisely, rather than just become used to having it and therefore end up wasting it! The investment app from Wealthify is brilliant because you can have a look at different types of investments and make a choice about which one is good for you. And as it’s an app, you can do it anywhere and anytime! We can even invest on behalf of the kids which is something we really need to do too!
4) Write it Down
The simplest way to keep track of your money, is to write it down. Seeing it in black and white is so much easier than just checking your bank every few days. It’s so easy to go over budget now with contactless cards and pay by phone – and everyone knows a quick trip to the supermarket for a pint of milk usually ends up costing £20! I have a spreadsheet on Excel and check my bank every day but I also try and make a note on my phone when I spend money so I don’t forget!
5) Check your direct debits
I often see stories in the news about people who have been wrongly charged for direct debits they no longer use – be it gym memberships, phone contracts or insu. I always find this confusing because do they really have that much money they don’t notice they’re paying for something they’re not using? I know every single direct debit we have, when it should come out and how much it should be. I would definitely notice if there was something we were paying for that we shouldn’t. But if you don’t keep a close eye on your finances, make sure you check your account regularly so know what is going in and what is coming out, so you have no nasty surprises.
How good are you at keeping your finances in check? Are you a planner and a budgeter or do you just live month and month and scrape by?