» Expert tips for being more money mindful Your Money
Build a budget WORK out a monthly budget factoring in the costs of all essentials. Include any debt, living expenses such as rent, travel and food, as well as recreational spending.
Work out how much you need to cover these costs and set up a direct debit for money left at the end of each month to put into savings.
“By cutting back on luxuries such as takeaway coffees or eating out at lunch, you will surprise yourself by how much you can save,” Standardlife’s Laura Laidlaw adds.
“There are plenty of apps to help you monitor spending, such as Money Dashboard, Get Chip and Fast Budget.”
Set some goals
“ONCE you’ve got into the budgeting habit, it can help to set clear saving goals. Prioritise these according to what is most urgent or most important, and make sure each goal has a time-frame,” says Laura.
“These may be modest and relatively short-term, like saving for a holiday, or longerterm and more complex, such as working towards a house deposit.”
Reviewing this list regularly and reminding yourself of what you are working towards will help boost your motivation.
ISAS are a popular way to save, thanks to a combination of simplicity, accessibility and tax efficiency – you don’t normally pay tax on any income and gains on ISA savings. “Using a high interest Easy Access savings account will allow you to top up your savings pot on a regular basis,” says Kevin Mountford, finance expert for Raisin (raisin.co.uk).
Once you have accrued enough, Kevin advises moving savings to a Fixed Term Savings Account which pays higher interest rates, and then start again – this will ensure hard-earned savings continue to grow, but are also locked away to ensure you don’t dip into them unnecessarily.
Prepare for the future “SINCE 2012, more than 10 million people have been enrolled into a UK workplace pension and fewer than one in 10 has chosen to opt out,” says Laura. More of us are living longer, and a reduction in final salary pensions and an increasing State Pension age means everyone needs to take more responsibility for planning for the long-term.
“Your workplace pension is a great place to start, but also getting into the habit of investing savings will go a long way in helping you plan for a future that you can look forward to,” Laura notes.
Plan for the unexpected
TO avoid worrying about the impact of unexpected financial issues, Holly Andrews recommends keeping a credit card with a clear balance that can be used in the case of a genuine emergency.
”For example, if you unexpectedly need new tyres for your car, you’ll want to be able to replace these without delay so that you can continue to get to work,” she says.
With a bit of planning, you can spread the cost over a couple of months if you need to – but clear the debt as soon as you can, to avoid interest racking up.
Turn thrifty into fun
IF YOU have a tight budget, you can enjoy the pleasure of tracking down bargains and relish the feeling of having fun with a minimal financial outlay.
“Encouraging friends to get involved means you no longer feel the pressure to keep up with others,” says Holly. “Instead can take pride in living within your means.”
Finally, reach out for help if you need it. Dr Aroll says: “If you’re struggling with money worries, don’t suffer in silence. If you find it too hard to speak to your loved ones, seek impartial advice from the Money Advice Service (moneyadviceservice.
org.uk), which provides advice and guides on how to improve your finances, in addition to online and telephone support.”
A bit of planning for the future can make you feel more relaxed