It is a sad fact that many of us will, at some point in our lives, experience some sort of financial hardship. As difficult as that sentence is to read, it can be empowering if you let it. Knowing that life is never simple and rarely follows the plans we lay makes it exciting and unexpected – however, it doesn’t have to leave us feeling unprepared. Here’s our top tips on preparing for potential money issues, and some advice for what to do if you’re already struggling with your finances.
- Save when and where you can – Look through your finances regularly. Set several times throughout the year to sit down and evaluate what outgoings you have and whether they are still working for you. For example; could you find a better insurance provider? What about changing your phone plan to sim only? Are you paying for services you just don’t use? Identify ways you can save, and then set a direct debit or standing order of the amount saved to be paid directly to your savings. You won’t notice the amount day to day – but you’ll definitely notice that savings account increase in size.
- Insurance – One of the best ways to protect yourself should a difficult situation occur is to make sure you’re covered as best you can. Look through your life and home insurance particularly and really look into whether the insurance you pay for would be enough if one of the situations it covers was to occur. Of course, we hope this never has to be used, but if it does you’re safe in the knowledge that you’ve already taken care of yourself or those you love.
- Check your credit score – This may seem like an unusual one, but if your credit score is low and you do need to approach a loans company for some short terms help, then you know that you’re in the best financial position possible. Changing how eligible you are can be as simple as showing you can pay off a loan in full, getting rid of some cards you no longer use or even getting a credit card that you pay off each month.
- Assess your options – If you’re already struggling with money problems it can be easy to feel as though there is little you can do. This is not true. Be proactive. Look through your statements and find things you can do without or cut back on for a while. Don’t mindlessly use a credit card, find the best deal around and potentially switch your balance or loan to find a better rate. A few clicks of a button could be all it takes to make a huge difference to your situation.
- Speak to a financial adviser – Some issues are not easily solved. Most financial advisers will work for free as they are paid through any companies you choose to buy products through. maybe you could get a cheaper deal on your mortgage or insurance? What about having someone look over your statements to really see where you could save and better utilise what you do have. Don’t forget either that The Citizen’s Advice offers free advice to people in your situation and could make all the difference if a financial adviser is out of the question for your situation.
Most of all, stay positive. Your mind set can make all the difference. Feel empowered to make a positive change to your financial situation and the rest will follow.