Apologies for the severe lack of posting lately. I’ve been saving like a mo’fo and can’t justify buying any new clothes or make up at the moment – so I’m trying to post more lifestyle posts instead!
So today I thought I’d have a chat about finances. I heard that eye roll, quit that. This shit is important. Especially with the country seemingly going to shit and rent going up, nothing wrong with having your money under control and maybe having something set aside for a rainy day.
But before we talk number, I’ll tell you a little bit about my financial history. Shopping is my life. Clothes, make up, accessories – I’ve always floated through a world of not understanding the value of money. I winged it, constantly. And when I found a boyfriend more than happy to take care of me, I was more than happy to be taken care of. I never took responsibility for my spending and he bailed me out pretty much constantly.
So when we broke up, I was thrust back to my parents house and thought: “Great! No more rent or bills. Let’s go shopping.” And shop I did. And drink. And party. For months. My parents were happy for me to do it, probably so I could deal with the break up in my own way, but I soon found myself in trouble again, down to my last few pounds, living from month to month and always in credit.
It was only when I decided to sit down and man up, that things started to change.
So here are my top tips & what I did to sort out my money.
- Go through your bank statements and see what you’re constantly spending money on. Add it up. Average it. Everything. From taking money out at cash machines, to McDonalds breakfasts for a hangover. It’ll shock you how much you spend on stuff you don’t really need.
- Write down what credit you owe and look at the total.
And when I say what you owe, I mean everything. Credit cards. Loans. Car finance. Mobile phones. Leave nothing out, because credit is credit, regardless of how small.
- Write down your regular and non-regular outgoings and look at the total.
Outgoings are the biggest thing to get a handle of. Yes, your £7.49 Netflix counts. Everything counts. And I’m not just talking direct debits, take a look at non-regular – what’s your petrol per month? Food?
- Work out minimum payments for your credit. How much can you pay off per month? Set up a direct debit to do it. Obviously, the more you pay, the quickly you’ll pay it off.
- Ask for help. I got to a stage that the charges applied were higher than my actual monthly payments. I was getting no where. So I swallowed my pride and called the bank and admitted I was struggling. They were fantastic, I sorted out a payment plan and they actually waived most of the charges to help me out.
- Be strict, tighten your belt. If you have credit, you have to be strict – at least until it’s paid off. I used to get a venti Starbucks every single day, and I wondered why I had no money? Now I get a tall Starbucks, once a week, if that. Sometimes I don’t have one at all. I don’t mean “I didn’t buy any jeans last week, might treat myself to a dior handbag”. Be sensible. This is what being a gown up is all about (apparently).
- Keep and excel and update it regularly. My excel is my life. I update it whenever I pay something off so I can see the progress. I even at one point worked out where I’d be in 3 months time and I hit that goal on Friday – so it makes me super happy.
- If your bank has an app, download it. It’s easy sometimes to put your card in and pray it goes through. Don’t get to that stage. If your bank has an app, download it and check it regularly. If your phone bill is higher than usual, then put down that bottle of wine and stick to water until your back in control again.
- Direct debits remember when you don’t. Do you know how easy it is to miss a payment, forget it’s a bank holiday and end up with a charge? Sure, we all do. So set up a direct debit, even if it’s just a minimum payment to make sure you don’t get an extra charge, then you can pay extra when you can.
- Don’t ignore it. The worst thing you can do is get to a stage where your scared to look at your account for fear of those minus figures. You can get out of a sticky situation, we all can, it’s just about waking up to the situation and getting in control. If I can do it (a girl who once dropped a £20 and didn’t care) then you can!
So what are your top tips? Have you gotten yourself out of debt?