Your Money Sorted Blog – Financial Coaching and Empowerment
Read our latest updates and tips on how to become financially empowered. Your Money Sorted offers online money courses to empower UK based women to take control of their finances. Through improved money management, we help you to transform your life.
To celebrate National Numeracy Day on the 15th May, Your Money Sorted has worked with National Numeracy to develop some practical tips for teachers to share with their pupils’ parents, aimed at helping them to develop greater skills and confidence with numbers.
As you all know, parental or extra-curricular engagement and involvement is key to supporting children’s cerebral development. However, when it comes to maths it’s often the parent as much as the child that struggles with their confidence, making it challenging for them to help with their child’s learning. This is why National Numeracy Day is empowering parents, teachers and children with the tools they need to improve their numeracy skills and promoting the message that We’re All Numbers People.
Help your children with numbers
Even if you don’t feel as confident as you’d like with maths, you can still make a huge difference to your child’s numeracy ability. Everyday life has plenty of mathematical applications which can support children’s learning.
If you only do one thing to help your child with numbers, be positive about maths. It sounds simple, but it’s a game changer. Being negative about the subject might rub off on them and they can go on to believe it’s something to avoid.
Praise your child for effort.
Praise your child for how hard they have tried rather than putting it down to them being “clever”. This helps them to understand that by working hard they can always learn and improve.
Give them time.
Be patient and encouraging to help your child work something out for themselves. Resist the temptation to jump in and solve it for them!
Make it part of something.
You don’t need to be a genius to give your child the right head start. Point out the maths in everyday life, include your child in activities involving numbers and measuring such as shopping, cooking and travelling.
It’s not all about numbers.
There are all sorts of ways to develop your child’s sense of shape, space and measures which are just as fun as counting and number games. Especially in the early years you can stimulate their development with shape sorter toys, pouring liquid from one cup to another in the bath, and even lining up teddies in height order! Take older kids on a nature hunt and task them to find as many things shaped like triangles, circles and interesting angles they can in the park.
Practice your own number skills. If you struggle with numeracy yourself, you can test your numeracy with the National Numeracy challenge.
Maths and money
As your child starts to understand a bit more about money, you can start using it for more maths conversations and activities.
Estimate. At the shops ask your child to estimate how much 3 or 4 items will cost together.
Give them small amounts of pocket money. For example, give them 50p a week and ask them what they think they can buy with it or, if they want to save for something bigger, how long will it take to reach their goal.
Talk about the items you buy. Ask them which are more expensive, which are cheaper, which are heavier, and which are lighter etc.
Explore quantities by asking them to think about how many different ways they can make £1. For example, how many 10p coins do you need to make £1.
When you buy something, get your child to hand you the correct money and check the change with them afterwards.
Helping with maths homework
Homework supports your child’s learning at school and is a great way for them to develop life skills, such as time management and self-discipline. Unfortunately, homework is also often a source of arguments and unnecessary stress. Because teaching methods today are often very different, parents and carers can worry that they will end up confusing their child rather than helping them. Whatever your maths skills, you can still help your child with homework.
If you don't know something, that's OK. Try and work out the problem together.
Start a homework routine, find a quiet place for your child to work and take away any distractions if possible – keeping it at the same time daily.
With younger children, you could set yourself adult “homework” time. Do “homework” yourself e.g. shopping list, checking your phone bill. Show them that you are using the skills they’re learning.
Rephrase questions using things that your child is interested in.
When they get stuck, ask them to explain what they’ve done so far and what they’re finding hard. Try and help them work out where they’ve gone wrong.
This post has been written in collaboration with Boost Energy
The government, regulators and energy companies are taking steps to help householders to be more in control of their energy use and help them to manage their costs more effectively. As part of this the government has a strategy to see all homes and businesses being offered smart meters by 2020.
However, as of January 2019, only one in 4 households have had smart meters installed. That means that around 75% of households are still using old style meters and missing out on the benefits offered by smart meters.
What are the benefits of smart meters and should you have one?
The first important point is that smart meters are free and simple to install, with very little disruption to your current service.
One big change in the energy world is for pay-as-you-go (PAYG) energy customers. Previously PAYG energy customers often found it difficult to manage their energy costs, especially over the winter months. The onset of smart prepayment meters has meant a big shake up for the PAYG market, and a better service for PAYG customers.
Previously PAYG customers had to top up by going to the nearest Post Office, PayPoint or Payzone, however now Boost’s smart meter PAYG customers can top up without even leaving their seat! With Boost Smart PAYG+ you have a simple app which allows you to top up from anywhere – online, on the app, at the shops or even via a text. When the kids phone you at work, complaining that the wifi is down again, you can easily top up there and then, by using the app.
Check your balance
Even better than that, it’s easy to check how much credit you still have available on your meter, meaning that you can easily top up before you run out. You can also set up free text alerts when your balance is running low, just in case you forget to check the app, as well as auto-tops ups for when your balance does get low. No more trips to the shop as you are halfway through cooking dinner!
Help with budgeting
If you would like to budget more effectively, then Smart PAYG+ will even help you with that, by allowing you to set up rolling tops ups on any date you choose. By setting up regular top ups you have much more control over your spending and will never need to run out of credit again.
Another problem with PAYG energy has previously been that low energy use in the summer, and higher energy use in the winter was very difficult to budget for. Having to find that extra money for energy top ups in the winter has been a problem for many.
The Winter Wallet
Boost has come up with a great solution for this called the Winter Wallet. This allows you to set up a savings target, which you can add to each time you top up, helping you to spread the cost of the higher winter payments over the whole year. This allows you to manage your energy costs much more efficiently and makes sticking to a weekly budget much easier.
Boost are running monthly competitions to encourage customers to use the Winter Wallet facility to prepare more effectively for winter. Each month one Winter Wallet customer will win a whole year’s worth of energy credits, with Boost giving thousands of other winning customers energy credits.
Save money on energy
Smart meters should help us to be more aware of the energy we are using, however, being aware is not enough. We also need to continually focus on reducing our energy use within the household, so that we can reduce the impact on the planet, and on our own pockets. Here are some simple tips to help you to reduce your energy usage in your own house
Simple things can make a big difference. The following savings are per year, for a typical household.
Installing energy saving lightbulbs in the whole house – save £200
Turn down the thermostat by just one degree – saving £75
Don’t leave appliances on standby – save £30
Wash at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees – save £52
I can’t quite believe that we are talking about Easter already, because it seems like Christmas was just a couple of weeks ago! However, Easter is just around the corner and we have got a brilliant giveaway to share with you, which I will tell you about shortly.
I love this time of year, especially now that the clocks have gone forward and the nights are getting lighter. It feels so full of promise and opportunity! Some people also love to use it for spring cleaning. I am not that keen on spring cleaning my house, but I do love to give my finances an overhaul every so often. This time of year works well for me, as it’s the end of the tax year, and the end of my business financial year too. There are 3 steps that I find useful when spring cleaning my money:
1 – Sort out the paperwork – throw out anything unnecessary and file everything that you need
2 – Check through the last 3 month’s bank statements – check for any errors, compare any regular expenses and try to cut the cost of them, cancel any unused subscriptions & add up how much you have spent on each area of spending.
3 – Create a spending plan for the next month, to ensure that your money is getting spent on the things that matter to you.
Before you go to get started on that, let me tell you about our fabulous Easter Giveaway……..
Some of the UK Money Bloggers have come together to offer you the chance to win one of three M&S Easter hampers. Three lucky winners will win an Easter hamper delivered before Easter. Keep reading to find out how you can enter.
Who are the bloggers behind the giveaway?
The UK Money Bloggers are a group of bloggers, podcasters, and influencers, in the UK, who are passionate about helping you to improve your finances. Whether you want to make more money, spend less, understand investing or pay off debts, we all contribute something unique to the community. Here’s who we are:
If you have never had a bills account, then you need to read this post pronto! It is just the easiest way of making money management simple for everyone.
I honestly believe that this way of managing money is the easiest way of ensuring that all your bills are paid, without worrying about whether there is enough money to pay for them. You never need to remember when the bills are due, and know that any money you have in your spending account is available for spending.
What do I need?
To make this work you will need to know your income and expenditure and then you will need at least 3 bank accounts
A bills account
A yearly/occasional expenses account
A spending account
How does it work?
I will explain how this works, and some tips and tricks to help you to make the most of it.
Firstly, you should work out your income and expenditure. Many people try time and time again to create a monthly budget, but find that they struggle to make it work. Often this is because they have forgotten about many expenses that occur throughout the year.
To truly make this work, and to allow it to transform your finances forever, you have to account for your expenditure over the whole year. I am going to show you how you can make that process super simple.
Think about your expenses in 3 categories:
Bills – direct debits, standing orders, any other regular monthly expenses, including debt repayments. It’s a good idea to include things, like children’s activities, that are paid in a block. By adding up the the cost of them over the year, and putting aside a monthly amount for them, you will always be prepared for them. You should also think about regular savings/investments and add these to the monthly total for bills.
Yearly expenses – Christmas, birthdays, holidays and other yearly or occasional expenses that you want to include. I include my insurances, because I like to pay them in a single payment, saving me around 20%, in comparison to paying them monthly. It also means adding up things like car servicing costs and road tax and building them into your yearly expenses.
Spending – day to day expenses and any normal weekly spending, such as groceries, household expenses, etc
It can be so easy to forget about certain expenses, which can totally throw the budget out, making it way more difficult than it needs to be. I have put together a spreadsheet to help you to make this process simple, and ensure that you don’t forget about anything. This spreadsheet will save you loads of time and energy. Once you key in the initial figures, it calculates everything for you and you can buy it today for only £7.19.
PS: Later in the post you can make a fiver, making the total cost of getting your spending plan sorted only £2.19! A bargain!
The information below is based on my financial situation which includes my hubby and I having joint accounts for everything. This works well for us, but may not be advisable for some couples/families. This system will still work with separate accounts – you will just need to adjust it to suit your situation.
Part of the reason I love this system is because it’s so simple, and it means that I don’t need to think! Once the figures have been worked out, it’s a case of setting up an automated system, and letting it do all the work. This saves loads of time and makes it super simple to manage money.
Firstly, I use a “normal” current account for my bills account, switching providers every so often, so that I benefit from the new customer offers and make myself up to £150 simply for switching banks. Since the Current Account Switch Service was introduced it makes the whole process pain free. They guarantee that your new bank will be responsible for the switch and will:
Switch on the day you choose
Move all the payments in and out of your old account, into your new account
Transfer the balance to your new account
Refund you for any payments missed or fees charged
Redirect any payments made into your old bank to your new bank
I have now used it numerous times and it is so simple.
We pay all income into this bills account. I then leave enough in here to cover all the bills, plus a little extra just in case one of them increases a little, and just to give me a little buffer. I set up a standing order for the day after payday to go into the yearly/occasional expenses account.
Yearly/occasional expenses account
For this account I use my Starling bank account, which is an app based bank and won Best British Bank and Best Current Account Provider at the British Bank Awards 2019. I use it because it allows me to put all my yearly expenses into separate little spaces or goals, meaning that I can easily see how much I have put aside for each area. It also lets me add photos to each goal, so it looks pretty funky too!
I also use this account for any foreign spending, because there are no ATM fees, great exchange rates, and card locking facilities within the app. A Starling account can be opened in less than 5 minutes, by downloading the app and popping in a few details. They will then send the card through the post within a few days.
By the time I have allocated the money for my bills, savings and yearly expenses, all that is left is money available for spending each month. I set up a standing order to transfer a monthly amount over into my spending account just after payday. If you want to make this even simpler to manage, then you could transfer across a weekly amount for spending instead.
In Monzo, I can set a monthly budget, with categories such as groceries, transport, personal care, entertainment and eating out. Each time I spend Monzo automatically categorises my transactions, though it can be easily adjusted if I want to change categories. I can then easily see how much I am spending in each area and compare my budgeted amount with my actual spending.
It even allows you to put your budgeted money into separate pots, so that you can easily see how much you have left in each pot. This can be truly transformational, especially if you are someone who has struggled to get to grips with your spending.
Monzo sends notifications about my spending on my phone, immediately after I have paid for an item, and the app gives warnings if it thinks I am going to go over budget in any area.
The beauty of this system is that I know all my monthly bills are covered, my yearly expenses are sorted and I know exactly how much money I have available to spend each month. I have been using this system for years, but I love it even more since I started using Starling and Monzo, because they both make it even easier for me to keep track of my money.
Today I have a guest post from Jennifer Kempson, who blogs over at Mamafurfur. Over to her………
My passion is helping others create financial and time freedom in their own life, and I believe it can be achieved on any budget just by following a few simple principles. The freedom to know that you have more than enough resources such as money to design life on your terms and do everything you want to do truly can change your world forever.
When you have time on your side, there is no better time to learn the fundamental money budgeting principles that when applied consistently over time will allow you to become financial free and choose to work, retiring much sooner than the age of 65.
We all want to have enough money for our needs and to do exactly what we would love to do each day, and with using our money smarter we can absolutely design life on our terms.
The simple starting point for funding that dream life you want to create in front of you is of course knowing exactly how much money will allow us to live that life and then finding as many ways to create it.
Use money as the tool it should be to design your life
Your life is your own to create and design to bring as much joy as possible, and even if we are not sure exactly what that will look like right now – we have to start sending our money out each month to our goals. The only way to achieve anything great with our money is to know how we want to use it.
The first step in any plan could be painful but it is time to get honest with yourself on your current spending. We have to know where we are so we can know how to get where we want to be i.e. in control of our finances and with a plan for how to spend and save. A wise man once said that you can tell someone’s priorities by how they spend their money, and often when we look at our spending habits truly for the first time it can be eye opening.
Where are you now?
Open up your Bank accounts and credit cards and list all your Incomes (including Benefits/Tax Credits/Child support etc) and do the same with everything you spent (Outgoings) in the past month at least.
On my blog, I talk about having an electronic spreadsheet for my budget making this super easy to keep track and update each month. If you live on a monthly pay check, look over the past three months of Bills and spending and take the average amounts. So if you spend £40 a week roughly on food, write down £160 as an average monthly food cost.
Do this with everything you have spent money on from your account, even the fun items that you probably shouldn’t have purchased.
Is it worth it?
Now you have a complete list of your spending habits, it’s now time to be honest if you are receiving joy from everything you exchange for your hard earned money.
Do you really use that Gym membership enough to warrant the expense?
Could you consider working out at home in the morning instead to test and see if you would rather use the money for something else?
Do you really read those magazines delivered each month cover to cover and enjoy them?
Have you tried a cheaper brand of cereal or non-branded version recently?
Might be time to give it a go.
Remember even on those contracted commitments such as your Gas, Electricity and TV bill – now is the time to haggle and ask for a better deal if you haven’t recently.
Attack every penny you are committed to paying right now and make sure you are receiving the full value of joy from it. If you have any debt in your spending, it is time to get rid of it forever!
The habit of avoiding debt and instead saving in cash for what you need will be the greatest gift with your money you can give your future self. When we are in debt, we are committing to giving someone else our money for months or years ahead, and we want all our money to be under our control. If you have any debt right now, time to commit to throwing as much money as you can at it until it is completely gone. I use the Snowball method personally, where you attack the smallest debt first until it is cleared then move the money to throw at the next largest and so on. The sense of pride from getting rid of these financial restrictions on your available money right now burdens’ will stand you in a great position in the future when you might want the option to work or not.
Understand the power of compound interest and invest in your future
One principle that I love to teach others is the power of compound interest and your money, allowing it to work for you, rather than you having to work for money.
We can use the power of compound interest whenever we store our money in Investments or savings accounts allowing it to continue to multiple even when you are sleeping. Absolutely everyone can and should use the stock market and investments to grow their wealth long term to help achieve their financial goals. In fact, when you have a savings account with the bank or even a pension you are using the stock market for returns – just the bank doesn’t share that with you!
If the most successful people in the world invest, there might just be something in it!
What is Investing?
Often when I say I invest in the stock market, as a normal working mother from Glasgow, I get the same few responses.
It is “too scary”, or “you could lose it all“, or “it’s too complicated and only for wealthy people to understand”.
I promise you after reading this article you will be one step closer to trusting the process of investing that has been followed by the most financial successful people in the world, and continues to be used to give you interest on your bank accounts and pensions.
Essentially when you set up a savings or trading account with an investment company or a Pension through an investment company, you deposit your money so that is then used to purchase individual stocks, funds, bonds or hold the cash for you.
The type of investment you purchase with your deposited money will ultimately then return back further profit (interest) or make a decrease based on the asset you choose to buy with your money. You can purchase stocks within a range of companies, individual companies or bonds and for that trust with our money they return us back a portion of their profits.
With any investment, this is NOT a short term quick money scheme and we are not guaranteed to see return right away from investing our money. It is not similar to a normal bank account as the money is effectively used to buy a part of a company or loan for the length of time you choose to leave it.
You need to invest your money for the long term in whatever method you choose and ideally 5+yrs to allow for the natural dips and increases to smooth out your growth over time.
Most people invest and sell using their emotions – they sell when low and purchase when high – we need to detach ourselves as much as possible from any current trend reports and trust that the markets will continue to increase overall as they have for 100+yrs as an average.
Cash – and why it is NOT an investment
By default we believe that having cash in a normal savings account might be seen as the safest option, but it is not the best use of your money. On average you might receive 0.02-0.05% return each year on your investment, which will not keep up with the cost of living increase of around 2% inflation each year. That effectively means your money is losing buying power each year you leave it there untouched.
Personally, outside of having emergency fund money of roughly 3-6 months of living expenses in an easy access account, we need to look at using our money to make more money to really define our financial security independent of anyone else.
How do we become financial free with our money?
Hands down any budget and any one can achieve and work towards financial freedom (living off the interest of your investment for life) or even retiring early with some simple money strategies.
At the later part of your life, if you are hoping to use the power of compound interest and the stock market to gain higher returns than a normal savings account, then I strongly advise doing as much research as you can into the funds you decide to pick.
With investments, we need to assume we are leaving them a minimum of 5-10 years before withdrawing the money, and must not let the ups and downs of the stock market test our emotions.
The value of the stocks once we purchase them is only relevant once we need to sell them, so best mindset practices say to ignore the current day value until you absolutely need them.
Another benefit of using an investment ISA is that you will have access within a few days to your money should your circumstances change and you find you need the money sooner.
I strongly recommend every adult has an investment ISA, as it is currently one of the few ways to get high-interest returns on your long-term savings. It could even allow you to build a substantial ‘pot’ that allows you to achieve complete financial freedom for you and your family in future.
I call an investment ISA a passive income source, as the money generated is created by companies returning some of their profits in dividends, and/or the value of the stocks and shares purchased going up.
We do not have to exchange our time for this income, therefore it is completely passive and grows without any effort from ourselves. The beauty of the stock market is that our money will remain active until we choose to sell our stocks, so it will continue to create more income for us in the background. We can simply withdraw a small portion of it each year to live off, and some of the increase will still remain, adding to our wealth total despite the withdrawn money.
How could it help?
Let’s look at some examples of what we could potentially end up with if we took out an investment ISA even with a short-term goal of accessing the money within 10 years. I will use a withdrawal rate (how much we draw from our account every year as a source of income) of 3.75%. This is regarded as a good average by most financial advisors and institutions.
Starting with no savings at all at age 50, if we contributed the maximum of £20k a year to an Investment ISA with a withdrawal rate of 3.75% a year on average and saw only a 4% return on investment, then using the power of compound interest and reinvesting any dividends or growth, we would have at age 60 a total investment pot of around £246k.
If we withdraw 3.75% of this a year, as stated above, after 10 years we could withdraw £9.2k a year of interest (tax free). That would mean an extra £800+ in your pocket every month through your investment ISA savings alone.
Leave the amount until you are officially retiring at age 65, after 15 years of consistent effort and contributions, we could see approximately £411k with an income of £15k a year or £1200 in our pocket every month.
If we were to see a 10% return on investment each year, the total fund within 15 years of maxing out our contributions would be approximately £696k and an income of £65k a year tax free!
That is probably more than any retirement could use up, and of course this is purely using our investments as a source of income and not including a state or employer pension. That means you could end up being able to use the interest generated from your investments each year to live off indefinitely!
Another great point to remember is that an ISA is per individual, so if you are a couple you can open one each and double your achievements together.
What better gift than your time and freedom back to use as you wish could you give yourself and your loved ones?!
How do we maximize our profits from Investing?
Modern Portfolio Theory is the practice of spreading the risk and reward of any investment, and spreading investment over a range of companies to limit any potential losses and called Diversification.
Ideally we want to buy our stocks low and sell when they are high; and the whole stock market globally will go up when we balance this efficiency balance of our choices.
That means making sure we don’t “have all our eggs in one basket” and analyse our choices regularly, or allow someone else to do it for you using a Mutual fund.
Ideally we would want only 5% of our total investments in individual companies, if you wish to choose that route, and 1% in Cash.
This would allow our portfolio’s to remain balanced using the overall market for our growth rather than one company and the risk nature of that.
As simple as opening a bank account
Personally, in the UK, I think there is no easier or simpler way to invest than through an Investment ISA (Individual Savings Account) which allows up to £20k per person to be saved tax free. It is a special form of savings account offered by many banks and investment companies (such as Vanguard) that allows you to purchase stocks and shares with your money, and use the power of compound interest to see it grow dramatically. For example, if you were to invest in an Investment ISA from age 18 to 30 years consistently £200 a month, seeing a 4% average year on year growth, you could see roughly £38k in your savings at the end of those 12 years.
Keep saving at the same rate until the age of 55 when you can retire, and you could have over £200k to your name with that small saving every month consistently.
I am a huge fan of holding an Investment ISA account in your name and contributing to it regularly as well as any pension through your workplace. The benefit of an ISA is that your savings and interest received is tax free up to £20k but also you have access to it at any time, as long as you sell your shares and are able to wait the few days for that to happen. Your Pension however is locked down until the age of 55 years minimum and no way to gain access outside of this until the time.
Using an Investment ISA, once you are confident with the terms and the funds or stocks you wish to buy based on your risk threshold and tolerance, you can even use this type of high interest return to provide a passive income in future years where the investment will return back to you enough money every year to live off indefinitely. That truly is when financial and time freedom comes into your own hands, particularly when we will be unsure whether such benefits as State pensions will be an option to support our living expenses when our time comes.
Invest in your future as much as you can
There really is no better time to commit to a regular savings habit that will allow you to create income for your future in a straight forward way. We achieve this by learning the habit of “earning more than we spend” but also sending our money out on autopilot every month without fail towards our goals such as financial freedom or security through investing or business ideas.
If you are new to the concept of money management, aim to live within 80% of your income right now, become debt free as quickly as possible, and then look to save or invest 20% of your income in your future. These principles alone will ensure you are secure and set for whatever life you wish to create ahead, and what greater gift could you give to your loved ones and the world that your time to have fun and be happy!
Know that absolutely any financial situation right now can be turned around completely by starting afresh and using money as the tool it is designed to be, rather than being a slave to it. Start with the goal in mind to use your money with intention, either for future financial freedom, or simply to use it to design the life you know you truly want to live.
Firstly, start by getting 3 month’s worth of bank statements, adding up your spending in each area over that period, then dividing it by 3 to give you an average monthly spend in each area. Then set to work, going through everything to see where you can cut costs in each area.
Imagine never having to think about whether you are getting the best deal on your energy again! How good would it be to know that you will always be on the cheapest tariff available, without having to do anything? That’s why you need Switchcraft!
A simple suggestion is to make a meal plan – this can be deciding what you will eat on which night, or can just be a list of 7 meals for the week. Include a couple of meals in your plan using what is already in the cupboard or freezer. Include a couple of meat free meals each week – vegetarian meals are reckoned to be 60% cheaper. It’s often useful to download a printable meal planner.
Shopimum is a great app for saving money on grocery shopping. If you like it too, you can even earn money from referring friends. My code is KFFACGMQ if you would like to join, and you will get a special bonus for signing up.
With 3 teenagers in the house I was getting increasingly frustrated at the amount of time they spent in the shower, and the amount of money being washed down the plughole! We installed (well, I say installed……actually it meant unscrewing the hose, screwing the flow reducer on, and screwing the hose back on!) a shower flow reducer that promised to cut the amount of water used almost in half. The way the reducer is designed means that we don’t notice too much of a difference in the water flow. It reckoned that if you use them on all showers and taps, you could save between £190-£380 a year on water and heating costs.
Don’t automatically renew your insurance—do your research & shop around to get the best deals. Check house, car, life, pet and any other insurances that you have. Remember that you don’t need to wait until renewal date to do this. If you are paying over the odds for your insurance, then you might be better taking out an insurance policy with another provider, and cancelling your current insurance. Just check to see if there are any cancellation fees on your current policy, and work out whether or not it is cheaper to switch now.
Life insurance is one that people often take out when they take out a mortgage. If you have taken life insurance, with your mortgage provider, without comparing deals, then it is likely that you are paying too much. Please take the time to check if you can get a cheaper option, with equivalent cover.
Don’t just use one comparison site. Taking the time to check with a couple of them will get you the best deals.
Even if your contract is not due to finish, it is worth speaking to your provider to see if you can cancel it or even to see if you can drop down a level if you are not getting good value for money. Many people are paying way over the odds for mobile phones – Martin Lewis reckons if you are paying more than £10 a month, then you are paying too much. If you have children, then please think about comparing the price of their contracts too, because the cost of their phones can really add up. My husband, myself and my 3 teens all pay less than £12 a month for our phones, by buying second hand phones, and using SIM only contracts. There are fantastic deals to be found, especially with some of the SIM only plans if you don’t need a new phone.
Broadband and TV
It is also worth comparing broadband and home phone providers, especially if you have had your contract for a long period of time. The price of broadband has come down considerably in recent years and some people can save £100s per year.
A report by Moneysupermarket.com suggested nearly £14billion pounds is wasted every year paying direct debits that are no longer needed or wanted. For a typical family this is £70 per month or £840 per year. Check through your statement to see if you are still paying for anything that you are not getting good value from.
Don’t forget TopCashback and Quidco where you will earn cashback on purchases that you are making anyway. This really is free money.
Zeek is a marketplace for buying and selling vouchers, and is great for making money from unwanted vouchers, and saving money on buying vouchers.
Pouch is a brilliant wee add on that will search through all the discount coupons available for each retailer, and automatically apply them at the till.
The sooner you get into the habit of remembering to use all of these, the more money you will save/make.
Although I suggest that you use cashback sites to make purchases, always compare prices to ensure you are getting the best deal. Don’t buy from specific site just because you are getting cashback.
I hope that you have found this post useful and that you have managed to cut your costs each month.
If you want to stop living payday to payday, start paying off debt and becoming wealthier, then these recommended budget percentages will help you to do just that.
Before I knew about these recommended budget percentages, I used to save a bit, spend a bit, and if we had anything left over at the end of the month, I would spend a bit more. I knew that I was saving something each month and I knew that I was paying into my teacher’s pension each month, so I assumed that all was good. We had no debt, we had some money saved and we invested a little money too. Job done!
However, it wasn’t!
I had always thought that I would retire about 55, and was looking forward to having more time to relax, play sport and socialise! Then I discovered that my teacher’s pension was going to pay out less than £7,000 per year………if I retired at 60. I spent a few years feeling miserable about the thought that I would have to continue working longer. I didn’t think I had any option – my pension wouldn’t be enough to support me, so I would just have to work until I could afford to retire.
Thankfully I started reading about money mindset and financial freedom, and invested in a couple of courses about them. The combination of that made me realise that I had choices in life, and that if I wanted to retire early, then I could……..as long as I started planning how I could afford to.
Recommended budget percentages
That’s when I discovered the 50-30-20 budget. It was devised by Elizabeth Warren, a US senator and one of the top 100 most influential people in the world. Along with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, she wrote a book “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan” In it, they suggested that in order to become financially secure, and grow wealth, we should allocate our take-home pay as follows:
50% – Anything that is VITAL. Groceries, Housing, Transport, Heat/light, minimum payments on debts/loans. These are the basic needs, but may vary from person to person.
30% – Wants—Things that you would like, but that are not vital.
If you have a lot of debt you perhaps want to cut your “wants” to less than 30% and allocate more than 20% to paying off your debts.
How does it help?
By comparing my monthly budget to these percentages, I could see how much I was spending in each area. I very quickly realised that although we were saving a little, it was nowhere near enough to allow me to live the life in the future. At first this depressed me, because I felt that my income was fixed, and I couldn’t see how to cut my expenses. However, that is a cop out!
If you have very little in savings, and no form of emergency fund and are having to meet large debt payments out each month, you know that you are in a very financially precarious position. A redundancy or an illness can really throw your entire family into financial meltdown. I want to help you to avoid that scenario, and help you to secure your future. I also want to help you to have the freedom to do what you want, whether that be part-time working, early retirement or taking some time off to travel. Whatever it is that you want, we need to start laying the foundations for that now.
Very few people’s finances will fit neatly into this 50 30 20 however the ideal scenario is that if we can plan around this then this will allow us to create wealth and financial security.
If you’re serious about creating financial security, then the time has come to get serious about looking at these figures. How does the allocation of your take-home pay look? If it is very different from the 50/30/20 rule, could that be contributing to your worries about money? Are you under pressure in one area of the budget, which has a knock-on effect on the other areas?
There are a few areas that you might need to look closely at.
Another common area where people can end up spending large amounts of money, is on cars. Again there are questions that you can ask yourself that could potentially save you money. It’s worth considering if you need the car/cars? Could you get by without? Could you reduce the number of cars in the household? Is the way you are paying for your car a good option? Could there be a cheaper option? Do you need to have a car with such a high spec – could you make do with a cheaper car?
This money saving challenge could just be a game-changer. What else could you do in 5 minutes a day that would make a difference to the rest of your life?
The women in my Facebook group told me that they were fed up feeling stressed about money, sick of living pay day to pay day, and tired of working really hard, with not much to show for it. They wanted to change, and wanted to feel in control of their money, but that they didn’t have any time to do anything about it.
Does this sound familiar?
There are so many women out there just like you, who are working really hard, both within and outwith the house, and finding time for yourselves can often be difficult. If you do manage to grab half an hour to yourself, the last thing you want to do is deal with boring money problems.
However, this is leading to a situation where more and more families are feeling the financial pinch, and struggling to manage on a day to day basis. This needs to stop! We all work hard, and we should feel that we are being rewarded for that, by having money for all the things that are important to us, without feeling guilt, shame and despair around money.
Simple steps to success
This is why I developed the Take 5 money saving challenge, a 30 day challenge, designed to help busy women take control of their money in just 5 minutes a day. With simple, actionable tasks, you will get stuck in and get the basics sorted quickly, with minimum effort, and maximum gain. In just 30 days you can expect to feel calmer and more in control, with more money in your hand!
I am Eileen Adamson of Your Money Sorted, a business designed to help women to feel happier, healthier and wealthier, with more money to spend on the stuff they love. I’m going to tell you a wee bit about my story, so that you can hopefully see where I’m coming from, why I am doing what I’m doing and, how that can help you.
I had always thought that I was “good” with money, but I constantly worried about it. I always felt skint, and was always worrying about the fact that we never seemed to have enough. We had enough to pay the bills, but I felt out like I was missing out on the fun things in life. Eventually I got fed up and set out to find the answer!
I started learning about money mindset, and discovered so much about myself I couldn’t believe it! I looked at my attitude, my habits, my values and my feeling around money. It was a huge eye-opener, and one that has changed the way I deal with money forever. It made me so much more positive about money, which has helped me in so many ways. I feel calmer, happier, more organised around money and I no longer constantly worry about money.
There’s been research, done recently, that has proven that it’s attitudes and habits around money, and the way that you view money that causes the problems, rather than the actual money itself. How you feel about money, affects how you deal with it, which in turn affects how much money you have in your life.
How can my money saving challenge help you?
I created this 30-day challenge to help you to create a positive attitude towards money, and take you through a series of simple steps which will transform your money situation. You will finish this feeling excited, organised and with more money in your hand. You will also have a plan to pay off debts, and exciting plans for your future, so………
Let’s get started!
I want you to start with thinking about how you would feel if your money situation and your whole life was completely, 100%, the way that you want it. Imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning and you have got enough money to do exactly as you please. We’re going to build a statement to represent how you would feel if that was true.
Using a sheet of paper like the one pictured above, start by writing down all the words under 10 that signify how you would feel if your money situation/life was completely 100% amazing. Focus on how you will feel, how you will be different, and how that will make you feel.
Ask yourself the following questions then write down the words that pop into your head:
How would you feel if you’re lying in bed tomorrow morning and your money situation is amazing?
What would feel different?
And what difference would that make to you?
What would you do differently?
What would other people say about you?
Would they notice a difference in you? What would they notice?
What would you be able to do that you can’t do just now?
How would that make you feel?
Aim for at least 15-20 words possible.
The flip side
Then very quickly go to the 0 out of 10 and pop down three words that would describe how you feel if your financial situation was 0/10. Don’t spend a lot of time on that because it’s a really negative place and we don’t want to dwell on that!
Now jump back to your 10/10 and choose 5 or 6 words that really excite you and make you feel positive. Then put together a little statement to describe how you would feel if you were 10/10 financially.
Eg: My statement is “I am happy & fulfilled, feeling content and secure about our future. I am excited that I can have fun and adventures with my family and friends.”
I keep that in my mind and I am working towards every single day in life!
Can you come up with an inspiring outcome statement to help you to look forward every single day and motivate you to want to improve your financial situation?
Then give yourself a score out of 10 , for where you are just now, and to give you a starting point to move forward.
If you could pop your outcome statements and your score in the comments below that would be amazing. However, if you’re not comfortable doing that, just pop your score in the comments. It would be great if you could have the confidence to share these outcome statements and let us all share and improve together.
What difference could have a motivated money mindset make to you?
Not having to worry about money is the ultimate dream for many. Having enough money to live the life you choose, without having to worry about it sounds brilliant.
If you find managing money difficult, are in debt, or feel rubbish about money then becoming worry free can seem totally impossible. It’s easy to then feel negative about money, making it more likely that you will never have “enough” and never feel truly content.
But it is possible, if you can create a motivated money mindset
What I want to show you, is that nothing is impossible, especially if you start small, and set inspiring, motivating goals. The journey is exciting and fun, because you are making decisions which are good for you and your family.
It could be that you want complete financial freedom, where you can leave work, and still generate enough money each month to live your ideal life. Or you might want to ditch the stressful career, take on a lower-paying job that you enjoy, but still be able to generate the income of your previous career. Your family might want to benefit from working part-time, but not take a huge drop in salary to do so. Or you might dream of early retirement, travelling around the world, and having enough money to do so easily. It could even just be the freedom to do something as simple as paying someone to do your cleaning, washing and ironing!
Regardless of what your ultimate dream is, you can make decisions to improve the quality of your life.
But where should you start?
Although we all have different dreams and aims in life, I think that there are basic things that we need to get in order, before we begin to create our financial freedom. We need to become financially resilient; having the money to cope with most things that life might throw at us. Having enough money in a small emergency fund to cope with a broken washing machine, an unexpected car breakdown or the garden fence breaking provides us with a little security.
However, to have true financial resilience and security, we need to think about having 3-6 month’s of essential expenses readily available. This would allow us to continue to pay for our basic needs if our family was hit with a redundancy, prolonged illness or other potentially life-changing event.
– having a stash of money, for emergencies
– getting rid of consumer debt
– create an emergency fund of 3 – 6 months of essential spending
Achieving all of the above on your way to financial freedom is much easier if you WANT to make changes to make these things possible. It’s about feeling excited about the changes, and making them seem easy!
Let’s look at how we can make this easier
Start by asking yourself “What do I want?”
It’s a million-dollar question isn’t it? Most of us find it easier to think what we don’t want?
I don’t want to be so stressed out! Or to work so many hours. I don’t want to be so shattered by the time the weekend comes. I don’t want to be grumpy with those around me. Or to be so stressed about money. I don’t want to be in debt. I hate feeling stupid when it comes to money.
Some of those may sound familiar. It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t want, but it really doesn’t help. All that does is brings more of what we don’t want into our lives.
Focusing on what we do want is a far more fun, uplifting, and useful process. The more that we can focus on what we do want, the more of that we can attract into our lives.
1 What do I want my day to day life to look like? What do I enjoy doing? Which things do I want to spend my time doing? What would make my life easier? How does the thought of this life make me feel? Who do I want to spend my free time with? What do I want to do with them? How do they make me feel?
2 In an ideal world, what do I want my financial life to look like? How do I want to feel about money? What are my priorities around money? What do I want in terms of money? Organisation or management of money – any thoughts about how you want that to look?
3 In an ideal world, what do I want? What do I want my future to look like? Thinking long term, what do I want to achieve? What are the likely important events for me? Eg: Paying off debt, buying a house, promotion, travelling, having children, helping children financially, retiring
Focus on the future
This exercise should help you to focus on why you want to change, and why it is worth making the effort to change. However it can be easy to become overwhelmed with all the other tasks you have to complete in a day, and to let this fall by the wayside. The easy option is often to stick within your comfort zone, and not make any progress at all. However, the more positive and upbeat you can remain, the easier it is for you to make the changes required.
It’s also useful to have reminders in our daily lives. I love this way of reminding me to be more positive about money and about life in general. It’s so simple, takes no time out your day and is automatic – brilliant for busy people! Sign up to The Universe Talks for daily positive reminders. You can personalise it, and it will then automatically send you wee reminders each weekday either via email or through an app. It’s a fun way of reminding us to stick with a positive mindset, and to look to the future instead of the past.
The free version is perfect, so don’t get sucked into paying for anything! Go to tut.com and sign up for the notes.
Freedom and choice
Taking steps to improve your financial situation will help you to have the freedom to make choices that work for you and your family. It’s about being able to choose what you do with your money, rather than feeling restricted by it.
Spring cleaning your finances is always a great idea – find out how to do it by reading the blog post below. It is surprising just how simple it is. There is some more information below that will give you some tips about managing and saving money, by blowing the cobwebs off your cash!
The first step in saving money is to get into that pile of paperwork and get it sorted out. I like to have a tidy out every so often and find it is much less painful if I sit by the stove with a glass of wine and piles of paper!
Get a filing system sorted out – buy some pretty storage if it helps to make the process less painful – and then start sorting the paperwork to go in it.
Make 3 piles – one of things you need to keep, one of things you MIGHT need, and one of the rubbish! As soon as you can, get the “keep” pile filed away – it looks neater and makes you feel as if you are actually getting somewhere.
In the “maybe” pile you should keep things like old credit card or bank statements and old loan or mortgage agreements, just in case you need them later. You might want to take photos of them and then store them on the PC and put the paper copies into the chuck pile – whatever feels right to you. If not, then bung them in the loft or somewhere out the way of your everyday filing system.
I love then chucking anything that is rubbish in the stove and watching it burn – very therapeutic! If you are not burning your rubbish pile, then be very careful with it – you should really shred it or make sure that any of your details are not able to be read. Take a minute to read this useful information on identity fraud.
Make a note of all your income, including child benefit, penisons, CSA etc
Add up all your direct debits and standing orders
Total up your everyday expenses, such as food, clothes and nights out
Add up all your expenditure
Subtract your expenditure from your income
Look at the figure you have left – is it a plus or a minus?
This simple task can help you to identify where there may be issues in your monthly spending. However, it’s also useful to complete another task, which will help you to look at your overall financial picture.
Net worth – Do you know what it is?
Your net worth is the difference between what you OWN (your assets) and what you OWE (your liabilities).
Assets include things like your house, bank accounts, pensions, your car (as long as you will own it outright at some point) and anything else you own that is worth money.
Liabilities include things like a mortgage, credit card debt, car loans, store card debt and any other money you owe to people.
Your net worth gives you clear picture of your financial health and it can be either positive or negative, depending on whether you own or owe more.
Why is your net worth important?
Knowing your net worth is an important part of planning for your future. Overall you should aim to grow your net worth throughout your life, as this will allow you more freedom to do what you want rather than always relying on your next payday. If you are growing your net worth each year, you know that you are making good financial progress.
How do you increase your net worth?
By reducing the amount of money that you owe and increasing the value of the things that you own.
Increase your income—look at ways of bringing in more money
Spend less than you earn—cut back, think before you spend, get good value for each purchase
Start an emergency fund—instead of borrowing to pay for emergencies, you can use your fund
Consider paying off debt—the interest payments on your debt cost you money every month. In most cases, the sooner you can pay your debts off the better.
If you would like some help with sorting your finances, why not get in touch with me to see how I could help you to improve your situation. I would really love to be able to help you.
I am Eileen Adamson, a Your Money Sorted coach, working online with UK based women, helping them to develop a better relationship with money. By gaining an understanding of how their personality affects the decisions they make, I can help them to implement changes which will allow them to feel calm, positive and confident that they are in control and making good financial decisions. I can then support them to put into place simple strategies that will allow them to manage their finances effectively on a daily basis and create a stable, secure and exciting future for themselves.