How To Get Your Finances Under Control

Sponsored Post – All of the opinions and experiences in this post are my own.

Ten years ago my finances were a real mess. Without a doubt I was struggling, thanks to some poor decisions on my part. I had overspent on credit cards, mainly on holidays I couldn’t afford at the time, and paying it all back was creating massive difficulties for me. I learned my lesson the hard way and now seem to have everything sorted when it comes to finance – largely down to working hard and finding out how to fix my problems.

Are you finding that bills and charges are driving you into debt?

Appreciating the value of money is important.

Here are my thoughts on where to begin when trying to deal with debts and get your finances back under control:

1) Make a start – no excuses.

It is no use putting off till tomorrow what you could be doing today. I know it is depressing to be in the midst of financial trouble – believe me – but the sooner you start dealing with them, the better. My mum always takes notice of Martin Lewis for money saving tips and I have got used to watching his programme and checking his website. I wish I had someone like him to listen to or some online resources to call upon when I found myself drowning in debt.

However, Martin Lewis wasn’t widely known ten years ago, so I had to use my own resourcefulness to begin solving my debt problems. For me, it began with getting all of my statements and adding up the overall amount that I owed. Then I found the credit cards with the highest interest rates and wrote to them explaining my predicament. They helped me build a payment plan and even agreed to freeze my interest for a while as well. Reaching out really helped me a lot.

2) Use your common sense (easier said than done).

Again, it sounds obvious, but doing some research is vital when looking into ways of reducing a debt and improving a credit score. These days there is a wonderful site which lays out the various options you have available. Click here to discover some practical steps that you can take in order to consolidate your debts. This site is easy to use and full of answers to questions you possibly haven’t even thought of yet.

Common sense would also lead you to stop spending on credit cards. For me, this was something I had no control over as I had maxed them all out. It is easy to do. My friends were going on holidays and I wanted to join them, but didn’t have time to save up, so I whacked the vacations on my credit card until it was full. Then, stupidly, I got another one if I received an email offering me a new card. Of course, credit cards are always on the lookout for debtors to add to their lists.

What I am saying is that I needed someone to give me a reality check. We’ve all been there. My advice to anyone stuck in debt is to tell someone immediately and then stop spending and research your options.

3) Cut back on spending straight away

That is easy for me to say, right? For me, it meant saying no to holidays for a couple of years. It also meant going through my outgoings and getting rid of things that weren’t essential. Even today, I sit down once a year and work out what Media apps and services I am paying for (streaming services and online magazines). Often you forget just how many subscriptions you have. At the same time, memberships can sneakily increase in price.

Recently I cancelled a few subscriptions and one of them asked me why I was leaving. It was a newspaper app and I was pleasantly surprised when they offered to reduce their charge to one pound a month for a whole year. As I said before, getting in touch with companies is often a good way to negotiate a deal and form an understanding. This example was a small example of how one action reduced my subscription from £6.99 to £1 just a month. Maybe you could do that with some of your bills too.

Summary

If you are struggling with debt right now, please do not face it alone. Reach out to someone you trust and consider the suggestions I made in this post. When I got into debt, I spoke to my mum and she got me started on facing up to the situation and find out just how I could resolve it.

Hopefully you found this article helpful. It is a set of thoughts based on my own experience and I am in no way a professional but I have managed to get my own finances back on track and now have enough savings to deal with any unforeseen emergencies and to finance a few upcoming holidays.

How To Boost Your Income – 5 More Ideas

Finances are at the top of most people’s agendas at the moment as energy prices rise and a war in Eastern Europe makes some products less available. It feels like we should be celebrating as Covid takes a back seat for a while, but suddenly our pockets are being emptied faster than we can fill them.

After my recent post about Side Hustle Suggestions, I was interested to read more about this subject and can see that so many people are in the same boat as me, trying to make ends meet. A lot of my friends ask me how to keep astride of finances and my simple answer always has to be ‘work harder and save like mad’. Passive incomes are great but they take time to build up. In the short term, the only real fix is to take on extra work.

So let me share with you five more possible ways to make a little extra income to help pay those horrible bills. I have tried to suggest work which anyone can access. Let me know what you think of my suggestions in the comments below.

5 More Side Hustles

1) Flexible deliveries

It is a fairly obvious fact that most people rely on deliveries these days. From all kinds of household products to fast food, we are becoming more used to using delivery firms to meet our daily needs. Many of these companies pay a fair wage to deliver at anti-social times, such as in the evening.

Some companies are keen to promote flexible working and will pay a little extra for delivery drivers who work at night. For example, Uber Eats, Just Eat and Deliveroo will enable you to earn a bit extra when you feel you have the time and energy. Some firms allow their customers to give tips too, which is a brilliant bonus.

2) Offer a room on Air BNB

Make a room available for short stay tenants. Having a room available for a guest can be a nice little revenue generator. You can choose when is a good time to make the room available and there are always people looking for somewhere to affordably stay. Every guest will provide a boost and you can withdraw your offer at any time or for an extended period.

3) Do paid surveys

Some people make a good income from completing paid surveys. You just need to look around online for websites that provide surveys that you can be compensated for.

I often use ‘Slicethepie.com’ which has loads of opportunities but it can take a while to build up enough funds to withdraw. If you have half an hour spare each day, you can soon become efficient at it and build up your trust rating, so as to earn more per survey.

I enjoy the bonus surveys that they offer and often make 20 cents for a quick music survey. This usually entails listening to one minute of a track and rating it, as well as writing a paragraph about it. It probably takes me three minutes max.

4) Sell products online

There are so many apps available which enable you to trade in old ‘stuff’ lying around your house. I use eBay to get rid of things I no longer want and always find it easy to use, with postage prices added to each item so you never lose out when going through the selling process.

You can take this one step further by making craft items which can then be sold either on eBay or directly through your own website or on Facebook marketplace. I do find that eBay has a quick turnover though, so you must make sure you get products posted out quickly, or customers complain and ask for part refunds.

5) Make an audio recording

I recently discovered the Amazon ACX service where you can sell your vocals to writers and publishers looking for people to read their audiobooks aloud. All you need to do is leave samples of your voice work and apply to be the reader for any books that take your fancy.

There are two ways to make money from this. Either you request a flat fee for the audio or wait for a share of the commission. I believe you can also ask for a smaller upfront payment and a share of commission as well.

Summary

I hope that you found some of my suggestions useful. Not everybody has time to go out and deliver goods but there should be an idea for everyone amongst my five fresh side hustle ideas. You can find even more useful ideas in this article about Making money while you sleep.

Personally, I have done so many different jobs over the years and have learned that you just have to do whatever is needed to keep the money flowing. Right now I am building up my blog, selling items on eBay and doing surveys.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article about boosting your income by taking on extra work. If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog for future similar content.

How To Save Money in 2022

Money is something that we all work very hard to earn and hate to see go down the drain. For me, money is something I have had to learn to manage and over the years it hasn’t always been easy. Although this is not a saving money blog, I want to make sure I cover issues that are bothering most of us right now. We all need to keep an eye on our wallets as the cost of living rises.

Fifteen years ago I got hooked on an online casino game and racked up a massive credit card bill. For a long time I paid the price by working through my holidays and cutting back on everything until I got my finances in order.

These days I am a lot more organised when it comes to personal finance. Though I definitely do not claim to be an expert (Far from it!) I would like to share my findings and ask for your ideas in the comments. As the energy crisis hits and the cost of living is set to rise, we all need to find ways to get cover our costs.

Cutting Corners (Saving money by keeping a close eye)

Now it can be very hard to keep track of income and outgoings so I would suggest finding a way that suits you.

When I discovered that one of my direct debits had gone wrong and I was being overcharged by a utility provider every month, I made a drastic decision. Instead of having direct debits I cancelled every single one and asked for a monthly bill instead. Then on pay day I could glance over each bill and pay them individually.

Keeping a close eye on my outgoings like this made me feel more in control and enabled me to spot mistakes in billing, which I would otherwise never have noticed. Even my mortgage is paid like this and I can choose to overpay it if I feel as though I am having a flush month.

Saving money is hard

Have you ever seen a bit of money in the bank and then been itching to spend it frivolously? I have. It is one of the main reasons why saving money is so difficult. I used to put my extra cash in bank ISAs but every time I opened my banking app I could see that money staring at me, willing me to use it on something unnecessary.

Currently money doesn’t make much interest in savings accounts anyway, so it may be worth exploring other ways to store it. I have used an app called ‘Moneybox’ (a product I like but am not sponsored by) which has proven to be a safe place to keep my money and many of my friends have started to use it as well.

Moneybox allows you to store your money in a savings account which has a slightly higher interest rate than most banks and locks in your cash for either 45 or 90 days. In other words I have to think weeks ahead about taking money out and cannot just pull it out and spend it on a whim.

Saving money or investing?

While mentioning Moneybox I have to also say that you can buy and sell shares there easily, too. There are so many options, including allowing the app to invest your money for you, spread across low, medium or high risk investments. Personally I have grown comfortable investing but I feel as though this topic is too complex to include here in any great detail, so watch out for a future mention of this.

Another such form of investment is cryptocurrency which I have also started to use and profit from. It would be interesting to find out how many of you have already begun to use this trendy but volatile method of investing money. Again, I haven’t been using it long enough to speak with confidence about it, but I am keen to know how others are finding it. One of my friends made £1000 in a day but I can see how the same amount can be lost at the drop of a hat.

Stop paying for things that you don’t need

Chocolate is my weakness. I would save more money if it wasn’t for chocolate.

When you sign up to new services, you often forget about them or stop using them, whilst still paying for them monthly. Recently I looked closely at my bank statement and realised I was paying two lots of home insurance as I had searched for a cheaper provider and not bothered cancelling a previous one. I know that is a crazy example but these things happen.

I also noticed that I was paying for a membership of a group that I no longer have an interest in or time for. It is really easy to keep adding payments and signing up for apps and services without then remembering to get rid of them. One online newspaper that I was using had increased its cost by £4 a month without me knowing, and of course I hadn’t even read the thing for ages.

Put money to one side

My nan always said to me, ‘If you earn a bit more one month, spend half and keep half.’ I do this now. When I find that my income has gone up slightly or my costs are down in a particular month (such as February when council tax is not paid) I take half of that additional money and spoil myself with something I want. This can be a theatre ticket, a new book or even just some chocolate. Meanwhile, I pop the other half into my current favourite savings place.

In the past, when I didn’t trust myself with that money, I used to transfer it to my mum and ask her to give it back to me in summer when I most needed it or it could help me find a holiday. These days I am more settled and can exercise self control, so that extra cash will nearly always go straight into Moneybox or into a separate bank account that I keep without a card. Having no card for it means that I don’t think about using it and it can sit safely in a medium interest account.

Saving money is important

After being incredibly bad with money during my University years and early twenties, I have learned the importance of money saving the hard way. Hopefully, some of the thoughts I shared might resonate with you as you read this. I look forward to reading your comments about any money saving tips that you may have. My short list is not all encompassing but I tried to talk about the key things that have helped me.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Another recent post I wrote about money is Boost Your income – Side hustle suggestions which is where I discussed passive income and ideas for working additional jobs. If you enjoy my content, please consider following my blog and look out for new posts about books, entertainment and life hacks.