Take control of your finances
10th August 2011
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Don’t sit and worry about your finances – take action!  Fretting about the state of your financial affairs won’t help you and it could make you ill. Just think about the last time you worried about something like a trip to the dentist, only to find it wasn’t as bad as you thought it might be. It’s the same with managing your debt. Take action early and it won’t be as bad as you thought. You have the power to make changes.

Where do we start and who can we trust to ask for help?

Firstly, if you are struggling, talk to your lenders and ask them to either freeze the interest or give you a payment holiday – they like to know what is going on and if you can afford it they would prefer regular but smaller payments than nothing at all. This applies to mortgages, credit cards, loans of any sort. Take the bull by the horns and talk to them, they are often quite sympathetic. What your creditors hate more than anything is being ignored but then don’t we all!  

Write it all down – your income and expenditure – from your mortgage or rent and weekly bills to your favourite cappuccino, now add it all up.  Yes, scary, but better to know than worry about what you don’t.

If you have credit card debt, do the credit card shuffle and change to cheaper options with 0% interest rates on transfers. Beware of cards with high interest rates and ensure you change to a cheaper card before the 0% honeymoon is over. Check out www.money.co.uk for the best deals.

Check out your utility costs; would swapping to a water meter save you money, can you get cheaper gas, electricity or even mobile phone costs?   Do you actually watch all those channels you pay for on the TV?  The reality is, if you have a Pay as you Go mobile, or prepayment meter, you are going to pay more!   Not fair I know, so seriously look at getting a contract for a small account or speak to your utility provider and see if they will change your meter to a standard tariff.

Once you’ve completed your income and expenditure form and your finances, or lack of, still seem overwhelming, don’t panic! There are plenty of people and organisations out there who can provide you with advice. They are there because they want to help. They won’t judge you. More often than not, they have been in the same situation, so totally understand and because they are professionals, they really can help.

Be sure to check that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. Check at www.jobcentreplus.co.uk

Another way to save on spending is to check out where the bargains are – consider shopping with a neighbour to make the most of those 3 for 2 savings in the supermarket and in addition save on petrol costs.

The Supermarkets deliberately put all the ‘goodies’ by the tills to tempt you to buy things you don’t really need. It’s even harder if you have children who have a nasty habit of having a tantrum if denied sweets, the latest gadget or comic. Wherever possible leave the kids at home or go shopping whilst they are at school or nursery.

Only use cash when you go shopping, take a list with you and stick to it, don’t take a credit card, or else you’ll be tempted to overspend. Make sure you don’t go shopping on an empty stomach or those tempting aromas may make you buy more than you intended!


Article by Jane Hardy, One Stop Financial Security

For more tips and advice on your financial security, visit: www.osfs.co.uk or for sound financial advice, contact Jane directly on (07768) 197 507.


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