It’s something that many people know all too well: the experience of lurching from one financial struggle to another, never quite seeming to hit the sweet spot where everything is in balance. It doesn’t have to be about crises; even if you can avoid absolute disasters, you may still find yourself struggling because of all the little day to day things that can go wrong and add to your burden. The good news, however, is that there are ways to get organized so that you can take these financial issues in your stride, allowing you to get back on top and make your usual income go a lot further.
The single biggest thing you can do to protect yourself from costly crises is to find a good insurance policy for your home so that you won’t find yourself forced to find money urgently because you need a safe and healthy place to live. Day to day, you can also reduce related risks by making an effort to keep your home clean and in a good state of repair, which lessens the chances of things going wrong. Test your air conditioning in spring and your pipes in autumn to ensure that any repairs needed will be cheaper.
Make sure that you’re not spending unnecessary money on your home. Investing in an extendable brush, for instance, is cheaper than paying for somebody to wash your windows. If you’re paying off a mortgage, then you may even be able to get the cost of that reduced by shopping around and seeing what other providers have to offer.
Just like your home, your car needs to be insured, but this doesn’t mean that you need to pay through the nose. Keeping your vehicle in good condition can help you get a better deal and reduce the risk of needing repairs. You can also save on running costs by simply clearing your car out once a week to ensure that you’re not driving around with excess weight.
Food waste in Canada costs an estimated $31 billion a year. Much of that is down to poor planning, so ask yourself how much of what you buy ends up in the trash. Planning your meals can save you a lot of money. Keeping your freezer well stocked means you that can have alternatives available if needed, and the freezer will also run more efficiently when full. When you go grocery shopping, take along a list of what you need and stick to it – don’t routinely splash out on little luxuries because the cost soon adds up. The only reason to change your plans should be if you find cheaper food in a reduced to clear section, but be wary of buying too much of this, as it will need to be used quickly to avoid waste.
How many small conveniences have you become used to in life that you don’t really need or that you don’t even pay attention to anymore? Do you make much use of your TV or movie subscription? Might there be a cheaper alternative available? Do you read those magazines that you subscribed to years ago or those websites that still take a small amount from your bank account every month? Little things like this can, in sum, actually add quite a bit to the strain on your finances. Take some time to go through your bank statements and work out what you’re paying for that really isn’t giving you enough in return.
Preparing for a rainy day
Making all these little changes will give you the freedom to start managing your money in new ways and getting into healthy credit habits, so that you can always pay off your cards at the end of the month and prevent yourself from building up debt. You can then start setting money aside to create a rainy-day fund for yourself. One way to do this is to set up your current account so that money automatically transfers into a savings account when it reaches a certain level. Because savings accounts tend to be more trouble to access, you won’t be tempted to spend your money casually. When you really need it, it will be there for you.
Not having to borrow money to deal with day-to-day problems means that you can, overall, live a lot more cheaply. Once you have your finances properly under control, you’ll find that it gets easier and easier to keep them that way.