Beating the Budget Blues – 6 Tips to Get Your Finances on Track

The Christmas and New Year’s period is a fun and jolly time, but some of us may have gotten just a little too jolly. If your bank account is not looking as healthy as it did before Christmas, or you’re struggling to manage your money as per your New Year’s resolution, we’ve got some great advice to share. Below are six tips to help get your finances back on track after the festive excesses:

Consolidate Debts

It can be frighteningly simple to get overwhelmed when you think about owing money. You might have been overly familiar with your credit card in the build-up to Christmas, or perhaps your local bank was only too willing to assist you in digging your credit hole a bit deeper with a personal loan. If you’ve got a little owing here, and a bit owing there, consider consolidating your debt or getting fast cash loans from microfinance or charitable lenders to cover all those high-interest debts. Doing so can reduce the stress of feeling like there’s always another payment due, and the shock of seeing how much interest you’ve paid, while the principle barely seems to decline.

Necessities Not Luxuries

The average American family spends six percent of their income on groceries, but they also use an additional five percent on dining out. You can dramatically reduce your family’s food bill for the month by focusing on necessities rather than luxuries. You don’t need to dine out all the time, nor do you have to buy name brand food items. No name brands are commonly the identical product in plain packaging, so why pay more for the same thing? These strategies alone can save you thousands per year on your food bills.

Know Your Numbers

If you’ve got a lot of debt, it can be hard to keep up with what you owe. Aside from consolidating debt, it’s a good idea to write down all your loans, what the interest rate is, and what your weekly payments are. Work out how you can pay them off quickly to avoid interest, and always pay more than the minimum amount.

Buy What You Can Afford

Having a credit card can be both a life ring and ankle weight. It can provide you with a moment’s relief as you afford groceries for the week, but then it can be your worst nightmare if you can’t afford to pay it off. Therefore, it’s essential to buy what you can afford and avoid unnecessary costs. The average credit card interest rate is 12.51%, which can see you repayments spiraling out of control before you know it.

Use Apps

We live in a digital age, which comes in helpful when you’re learning to budget. Choose a budgeting app such as Mint, and learn how to take back control of your finances. You can learn about how much your interest rate is costing you, when things are due, and where you’re spending more money than necessary.

Stick to your shopping list

It can be easy to sneak a chocolate bar or three into the shopping basket, and this is okay from time to time. However, if you’re trying to budget, keep those chocolate bars on the shelf. Prepare your family’s menu well in advance, and stick to the list. Where possible, calculate the cost of items ahead of time, so you know what to expect the total to be.

It might feel like there’s no way out of a financial mess, but there is. It takes a bit of hard work, dedication, and a little sacrifice to get back on track. Control your finances, don’t let them control you.

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