Managing your financial affairs can be tough. With bills to pay and all of life's essentials to purchase, it can all be a fine balancing act. So, what can you do to make sure you don't get caught out?
Here are five ways you can improve your financial behavior in a bid to avoid falling into debt:
Do you find yourself scratching your head and wondering 'where the money goes' every month? Maybe it's time to take a look. Sit down with your last two or three bank statements and look at where every single penny goes.
Look at the bills you pay, the cost of the essentials and the amount you've spent on non-essentials. Unless you know how much you've got coming in and, crucially, the amount left over after you've accounted for bills and essentials, you'll be in the dark about how much you can spend and leave yourself at risk of slipping into debt.
Cut your bills
Once you're armed with this information, you can set about improving the picture. Firstly, you should try to cut the amount of your income that is already accounted for. Take a look at the bills that you pay and shop around on comparison sites to see if you can get your service cheaper elsewhere. More than two million UK account holders are in debt to their energy provider, and paying more than you need to is only likely to increase your chances of adding to that number.
On top of that, see if there are some non-essential spends that you could cut out completely. Do you subscribe to magazines that you never read or pay for television channels you never watch? Maybe you spend more than you realised at the gym when you could jog more instead or indulge a little too often in your pub or coffee chain of choice? Small changes here could make a big difference in the long run.
Spending less is one way to improve the picture, earning more is another. Maximise your earning potential by seeking a promotion or taking on extra hours or responsibilities if you can. Maybe you could supplement your income with some freelance work in the evenings or at weekends? Every extra pound you make will help you to avoid sliding into the red in the long run.
Stop, think and save
About to part with your cash? Get used to asking yourself the following questions: Do I need it? Can I afford it? Do I need it now? Is this the best price? This will help you to consider purchases more carefully and it might prompt you to shop around for a better deal or put off purchases for a while so that you can save up for them. If you're treating yourself then it's probably worth waiting a month or two if it means you'll be able to afford the item without dipping into debt to pay for it.
Rainy day fund
You should also try to save as much and as often as you can. Not everyone can put lots to one side every month, but work out a minimum figure and set up a standing order so that it finds its way into your savings account. Even a few pounds will soon mount up and should mean that if you get behind - or have to pay for a big expense - you can raid your rainy day fund.
...but if you need to borrow, don't panic
Adopting these spending practices should put you in the best possible position to stay debt free, but if you do all of this and still find yourself short and thinking 'I need a loan', then you don't worry.
Even the best financial planners need a bit of help from time to time. An unexpected expense can easily throw you out and leave you needing quick access to finance, and it's not unusual for a job not to work out or for your boiler to break!
At Car Cash Point, we can turn around applications in an hour, helping you to raise short term finance on your vehicle and bridge your financial gap. Don't worry: borrowing money is natural and if you pick an appropriate funding source, you can pay off your debts swiftly and sensibly so that debt becomes a manageable solution rather than a problem.