The end of the month, the middle of the month or the start of the week it doesn’t matter when your payday is, for some, improving financial wellbeing can be a real struggle. There’s been increasing recognition of the impact of financial pressures on employees’ physical, mental and emotional wellbeing over the last year or so. In many companies – like ours - financial wellbeing now sits under the umbrella of an integrated Health and Wellbeing package.
So we’ve packed this article full of ideas and resources to help you get across the line:
The first step to taking control of your financials and improving financial wellbeing is to set up a budget. It will take a little effort, but it’s a great way to get a quick snapshot of the money you have coming in and out. Setting up a budget means you’re:
- Less likely to end up in debt
- Less likely to get caught with unexpected costs
- More likely to have good credit rating
- More likely to be accepted for a loan/mortgage
- Able to spot areas where you can make savings
- In a great position to treat yourself
To get started on your budget you’ll need to know how much you spend on household bills and living costs, for example, food and Electricity bills. Financial products such as insurance and direct debits, your family and friends, travel costs such as any season tickets or fuel and lastly your own leisure, hobbies, dining out and holidays can quickly add up.
The Money Advice Service have a fantastic free and easy to use tool called, ‘budget planner’. Just gather as much as you can about your income and spending to get started. You can save it and go back to it time and time again.
Alternatively there are some great free budgeting apps available for improving financial wellbeing. Check out Fudget, Daily budget and Wally to name a few, but there’s plenty on offer so choose one that best suits your budgeting goals. If you’re not as tech savvy as you’d like to be, speak to your bank or building society, chances are they have plenty of help on hand to keep you going.
Getting back on track & improving financial wellbeing
If you’re spending more than you have coming in, you’ll need to figure out the best way to reduce your outgoings and finding the parts you can cut back on. This could be simple and minor changes such as making your lunch at home, cancelling any unused memberships to Gyms and other clubs can really start to free up funds for other commitments.
With the introduction of contactless payments the effortless urge to spend money is far too tempting. If you’re already doing the above and setting a budget but still find you’re overspending, take a look at last months bank statement and try to figure out where those extra funds are going. A good idea would be to keep a spending diary, this can help you keep track of what you’re spending and returns the feeling of responsibility when it comes to splashing the cash.
With the cost of household bills continuing to rise across the UK and the average home now spending £3,329 yearly on gas, electricity, tax, phone and broadband bills, cutting costs and improving financial wellbeing has never been more important.
To start with there are plenty of comparison sites out there, these tools really are formidable when it comes to reducing your current outgoings and improving financial wellbeing. The good news is, it’s really easy to save up to hundreds of pounds by following a few tips.
Here’s some suggestions:
- Home Phone and Broadband
Start by looking at your home phone and broadband deal, there are a large number of suppliers so competition is vast. Try calling your supplier and simply seeing if there’s a better deal you could be using, they often have great customer services, which are happy to help.
- Mobile Phone
You could also cut back on your mobile phone, if your contract due to end, is it really necessary for a new phone? You could make huge savings per month by dropping down to a sim-only contract. Remember with your broadband and phone bills that it’s important to match your lifestyle, if you use a lot of data and you’re constantly being charged for it, a plan with higher data allowances may be cheaper in the long run.
Reducing other household bills such as your water bill is slightly more difficult as you can’t change suppliers, but there are lots of tricks that could help you save. Try having showers instead of baths, switch to a more efficient shower head or you could even have a free meter installed which will help you keep on track.
Research suggests you could save up to £300 a year on average by changing your electricity and gas supplier. The market is huge and there’s massive competition for customers, so remember you’re in charge and a cheaper deal will definitely be out there. If you’re happy with your supplier minor changes such as reducing your thermostat down by just 1 degree will potentially cut your bill 10%. Failing this spreading the bills via direct debits could help make your utilities more affordable.
You’ve made it
You’ve battled against the burning hole in your pocket that is your debit card, you’ve refused to spend your pay packet on sandwiches and you’ve budgeted your way to payday. It’s now time to start all over again and create some sort of routine. This is the most important part, by creating a routine and staying on track you’ll soon start to see those savings add up.
Don’t forget that although it can be tempting to just look for the cheapest deal, it’s best to match your contracts and bills to your needs. By reducing too much you could incur charges and costs on top of your bills. Any financial product should come with a Defaqto rating, Defaqto rate the product on it’s value from 1 to 5 stars. So to make sure you’re getting the most for your money double check the ratings and reviews from independent panels such as Defaqto.
The Money Advice Service offers all kinds of suggestions and advice from saving money on Holiday to reducing your shopping bill. It’s a completely free and impartial advice service, which will have you budgeting and saving in no time. To find out more click here.
Remember to always gain qualified advice from a financial advisor before committing to any changes.
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