With so many blogs and articles dedicated to teaching us how to save and spend more responsibly, improving our finances has never been easier. But it’s difficult to know where to start with so much information out there. So, to help you, we’ve put together a few little life hacks to make life just a little bit brighter financially.
We know – it comes up all the time! Budgeting. It’s one of the simplest tips to get to grips with, which is why it’s first on our list of financial life hacks. Whilst budgeting might not be the easiest thing to do, it can be adapted to fit varying lifestyles and financial circumstances.
The first step when you’re trying to improve or keep on top of your finances is to evaluate your income and expenditure. Working out how much you’re spending and on what, is key in establishing a suitable budget that works for you and for your goals. Perhaps you’re spending a little too much money on clothes you don’t need, or maybe you can cut down on take-aways and dining out. These things may seem small in the moment, but every penny counts, and every penny saved is another penny you can put towards something that’s important to you. It can be tough, but as any budgeting guru will tell you, it only gets easier!
Unexpected emergencies can pop up at any time so it’s important to have a little something to fall back on when difficulties arise. With an emergency fund, sudden expenses could be covered without affecting your monthly income and would prevent the stress of worrying about how to cover the emergency. It can be difficult to start building your emergency fund in the beginning, especially if you’re already struggling with your finances or are saving on a budget. That’s where budgeting comes in. Once you’ve worked out what you can afford to put away each month, you’ll have a clearer vision of what your emergency fund might look like. It doesn’t have to be tons of money – start small and you can expand later once your circumstances change for the better. Remember, each of these little hacks are designed to fit your life and financial circumstances whatever they may be.
There are many reasons people choose to invest and it’s perfectly okay if you have no idea about how to start investing. Some people invest to make money in the short term or because they have a bit of extra cash to play with. Others choose to invest for retirement or as an alternative to having a pension, particularly because ISAs can yield higher returns than even the highest interest savings accounts.
Whilst there is no guarantee that investing your money in any one stock or cryptocurrency will yield any profit, there is also no guarantee that it won’t!
Put simply – do your research. When beginning your trading journey, it’s important to dedicate time to research any stocks of interest. There is nothing more worrying than putting your hard-earned money into a stock or a cryptocurrency and watching as the stock slowly (or quickly) drops in value. Though this sort of pattern could be expected in the world of trading, it can be scary for a newbie investor who, with a little bit of research may have reconsidered investing in that stock at that particular time.
There are a number of trading apps which allow you to view the markets and trade during the market open hours. You’ll need a smartphone, ID and funds to deposit. Some apps offer a trial version which allows you to practise trading using fake funds without the risk of losing your own real money. You may be charged a small fee each time you make a real trade, however this will vary depending on which trading platform you decide to use.
Don’t just put your money into anything and everything – invest in a company you believe in and where you expect to see some growth. Trading is always a bit of a risky game, but it can also be incredibly rewarding especially when you take the time to put some thought into your investments.
Unless you’re looking to make a career out of trading, most of us will be playing the long game – and that’s okay! Whilst the quick big wins are appealing, it’s always best to leave them to the experienced traders – as those sorts of trades usually come with higher levels of risk.
Remember, there are no guarantees when investing and you should never invest more money than you can afford to lose.
Many of us have found ourselves in a tough spot financially - an unexpected bill or emergency pops up and we don’t have the funds to cover it. Without savings or an emergency fund to fall back on, you might feel like your only option is to get payday loans. Whilst having a payday loan isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it really all depends on your financial circumstances and if you can afford to borrow without putting yourself in further difficulty.
Payday loan companies get a lot of bad rep due to higher interest rates and though they play their part in offering a helping hand to people in need of funds quickly, it might not be the best option if you are already in serious financial difficulty. In fact, getting any form of credit, be it a short-term loan or even a credit card could land you in a tough financial situation if you’re already struggling or unable to manage your money. As always, do your research and assess your financial circumstances thoroughly before taking on further credit as you don’t want to make a difficult situation any harder!
It’s easy to neglect your mental health when you’re so focused on important life events, unexpected changes in circumstances and especially money. Keeping to a healthy balanced lifestyle is a great place to start. A healthy diet coupled up with simple daily exercises like running, walking, yoga or meditation is an excellent way of training your mind and body to remain calm during periods of extreme stress and in general.
As many of us will have experienced though, nothing in life is ever perfect, and when things go wrong, exercise and meditation might not always be enough to get you through it. Once things start to get really tough, it’s not long before other areas of your life become affected, and your finances are usually first in line. Money struggles can have a serious impact on your mental health so if you are struggling with managing your finances, it’s important to seek help and advice as soon as you can.
Debt and health – both physiological and mental – go hand in hand, so remember to take some time out to look after your health. The better your mind and body, the better your finances could be.
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