In the 21st century it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to improving your financial health. We are not commonly taught as children how to handle our finances, so we often rely on family and friends to develop our knowledge. Unfortunately, this means that the quality of the information varies widely. There are so many different tools and resources available, it can be hard to know where to begin and where best to look. Hiring a financial advisor is one option, but before you make this decision, it is worth looking at some of the effective tools mentioned below. This post aims to help you by focusing on four of the best tools available.
Budget – making a budget is the first step to establishing control over your finances. Set aside a good portion of time to work on your budget, perhaps an afternoon when you have time to focus. Ensure you have access to all your receipts, bills etc, online banking – basically, you need to be able to work out your spends.
Firstly, identify any fixed monthly costs, such as rent or mortgage, bills, travel and food. Work out your annual costs – such as insurance or holidays – and divide them by twelve so you can allocate them to your monthly budget. Next add optional costs such as entertainment and socialising. Check your spends in relation to your income – you need to be spending less than you earn, or you’re in for trouble! It’s also worthwhile setting aside some money in your budget for saving for a rainy day.
Free budget templates can be found all over the Internet, or you can make your own. Some banks even allow you to allocate certain amounts to different categories, so you can handle everything on your online banking app.
Debtconsolidation.com – if you are in debt, this website contains valuable resources, tools and programmes to help you manage your debt. As the name suggests, it is the perfect place to go if you are thinking about consolidating your debt. Consolidation means taking out one loan to pay off all the different loans, credit cards and overdrafts you have – this means you end up with just one simple monthly repayment, which is much easier to manage.
This site also offers debt settlement services, where you can negotiate with creditors and connect with debt specialists to work out how to reduce your debt. There are plenty of useful articles on debt-related themes: altogether it’s a valuable resource for anyone in debt. Click here to see more.
Moneysavingexpert.com – this longstanding site, established by financial journalist Martin Lewis, is a reliable and helpful source for all kinds of money issues. Sign up for the weekly email for up-to-the-minute information on financial issues and news, or explore the site. You can find extremely useful information on credit, debt, mortgages, jobs, financial complaints and banking, as well as travel and shopping. The forum is a great place to go to ask a question or discuss financial issues with like-minded people. Whether you want to get out of debt or work out the best way to invest your millions, this is the site for you. Find out more here.
Mint.com – this website is a budget tracker and planner. It helps you track your spending, see all your accounts in one place, and make smart savings on essential purchases. The app helps you stay focused on your financial goals, and you can also gain access to your credit score. To discover more, click here.
So there you have it – four different tools to help you improve your financial outlook. I hope these will be helpful to you – why not get started today?