Read the 5 points below. If they all make you feel shamefully red faced and you know you’re guilty of them all, you NEED to change. Being broke in 2012 will not be fun. There are no excuses, you’re just lazy and need to kick yourself into shape. Nobody else will do it and all that will happen is the money hungry banks will feed off of your vulnerability and make life continuously harder for us all. So sit down, read through the list below and start making changes today. It really isn’t hard, grab a pen and paper and make a to do list and stick to it. If you don’t, there’s no way you’ll survive in this era of low income and high inflation, you might as well work for a bank for free.
1: You’ve Not Cancelled Recurring Payments
Online banking makes it a lot easier to keep track of your outgoings, so if you’ve not done so already, get yourself hooked up with online banking. You can’t even begin starting to look at the wider picture of your finances until you know exactly what’s coming in and out. Take a look at things like overdraft charges, direct debits and any additional bank account charges. If you have credit cards for people with bad credit, make sure you’re paying at least the minimum payments back each month. Most importantly though, CANCEL any payments that you no longer need. If you’ve subscribed to an online newsletter you no longer use, or any kind of recurring payment you’re unsure about, look into it, pick up the phone and cancel them.
2: You Can’t Say No
Saying no to people doesn’t mean you’re boring. If anything it shows you’re your own man (or woman) and won’t be easily led. If you really don’t want to go for those office drinks on a Friday night, don’t go. If all of your friends invite you to a gig but you really know you can’t afford to go, just tell them. Don’t have too much pride to say no. At the end of the day, you probably will enjoy yourself more on nights out and at events if you know you’ve got money to spend. Otherwise you’ll spend the whole night, and the remaining time until payday worrying about money again.
3: You’re A Lazy Shopper
The likelihood is, if you haven’t got a firm grasp of your finances, you probably go out a weekday, stuff a load of rubbish in your basket, whack it on your bad credit credit card and don’t really think about what it’s costing you and when and where you can save money. For most of us, weekly shopping is where we spend most of our money and if you’re overspending, you’re probably not considering exactly what you’re buying. Firstly, try shopping online each week as this is where the majority of the best deals can be found. It also stops the temptation of impulse buying.
4: You’re Too Generous
Generosity is great, but only if you can really afford it. If you find that somehow you’ve not got any money and yet you’re still lending cash to friends and family you need to make changes. Be honest about it and next times your friend asked to borrow a couples of pounds that you know you’re probably not going to get back, politely decline and say you’ve really not got enough money to be lending out. Avoid taking your credit card out with you and instead give yourself a daily cash allowance to avoid overspending. If you’re a parent, think about the amount of pocket money you’re giving your child. Are you giving them money to learn about money management or have they got you wrapped around their little finger?
5: Playing Ignorant
Possibly a little harsh but generally if you’re spending too much money you probably already know but might be letting those envelopes and bills mount up, well aware of the fact you’re ignoring dealing with the issue that’s right in front of you. When it comes to finances, ignorance is NOT bliss and will lead you down a rocky path. Don’t let things pile up and deal with each and every letter when it comes through the post. When you refuse to take a serious look at your own finances the only person you’re hurting is yourself.
Scott is a writer who would urge all those in financial trouble to sit and assess their finances before the New Year.