We all know December can be a pretty expensive time. Amidst the holiday season, buying gifts for family and for many, an early paycheck – things can spiral out of control pretty quickly.
The Bank of England estimates that the typical UK household overspends by up to £800 during December However, at Portify, we’re dedicated to ensuring you get a firm grip on your finances and we want to make sure you’re set up for success this 2020.
Here are some of our top tips to making sure that you get the best out of your finances long before they get the best of you:
1. Evaluate your current financial situation
It may go without saying, but it’s incredibly important to get an idea of exactly where you’re at right now. In order to get to where you want to go with your finances, much like planning a real cab journey, you need to input your current position.
Print out or print screen your bank transactions for December (ouch – we know it can be painful) and get a picture of how much you spend on each theme. For example, how much did you spend on entertainment, gifts, food and more in December? Then you can spend some time identifying where your greatest expenditures were. You can also check out the Portify cashflow features to manage this in App.
Did you overindulge on the turkey (we don’t blame you) or did you have a cracking time on fun activities with the family? Either way, diagnose the problem – then we can find a solution!
2. Create a practical, time-bound financial goal
Now you have a better idea of where you are at, you can create a more realistic goal. For example, if you’re currently in your overdraft or behind on some loans, it makes sense to make that your number one financial priority ahead of everything else. Make your goal numerical and time bound for extra clarity and security. There are great goal tracking resources on the internet – as well as built in templates on Microsoft excel.
For example, if you are £500 in your overdraft, aim to erase your overdraft and get back to a specific balance of £500 in credit within a month. That way, it makes it easier for you to track your progress and assign actionable steps to reach your goal. Adjust based on your salary, financial situation and capacity to reach your goal.
3. Reserve a percentage of your income to reach your goal
You might be tempted to focus solely on paying back any debts straight away. However, it may lead to further issues down the line if you don’t consistently deal with your priorities. For example, you may be in credit-card debt due to expenditure during the holidays, but you may also need to pay your rent and your utilities bill.
One way to deal with this is to ensure you’ve taken care of essentials first, and assign a portion of your salary/ income in a percentage to paying off your credit-card debt.
4. Find creative ways to minimise your expenditure and avoid impulse spending
Don’t just minimise your expenditure – try to focus specifically on the areas of over-indulgence. We’ve warned you! A research study conducted by Whistle estimates that a whopping 60-70% of what we purchase in stores is unplanned. Don’t get caught out by the tantalising offers on shelves when you go shopping – you already got caught out in December! Plan and account for everything you intend to buy.
That means you might just have to put your UberEats account on lockdown for a month and opt to meal prep ahead of work, school or other commitments. If you spent a lot on clothes and accessories – it might just be your month to find out how many ways you can style those three coats you own differently each day.
Or, if you’re a chronic spender in the travel department, cracking out your good old bike or finding ways to walk not only decreases your expenditure but increases your physical activity. Win-win!
5. Seek professional help when you can
Only one third of the nine million Brits in significant post-December debt ask for professional help. Sometimes, it can get a bit overwhelming, or sometimes you need an external sounding board to help you with getting your finances in order. There are lots of free resources and debt advice providers, like the Money advice service. Click here to find out more information on how you can access these services.
Being intentional about getting your finances back on track after holiday expenditure is a great way to get closer to financial stability in 2020. Not only will these tips help you get back on track – they can also be more generally applied to your personal financial management to get yourself in order.
We know how important it is to make sure you get a picture of your finance – that’s why Portify’s cashflow tools are so integral to your success.