» Ex­pert tips for be­ing more money mind­ful Your Money

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS -

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.

Tax-free sav­ing

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

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