Five tips for a January financial health check

Taking timely action to review your spending and think about how you manage your money can help you start the year with your finances on track, according to a Coventry University expert.

Sally Dibb, a professor in the university’s Centre for Business in Society, is an expert in reducing financial vulnerability and consumer behaviour. Here are her tips on how to get on top of your spending and stay in control throughout 2022.

Here are Sally’s five top tips for health-checking your finances:

  1. Review your spending

How much do you really spend on expensive coffees or snacks bought ‘in the moment’? Is your preference for branded food items pushing up the cost of your weekly shop? Do you know what your energy or fuel costs are? Perhaps you have a gym or other memberships that are no longer good value for money. It’s well worth putting time on one side to shop around for better deals on your phone, broadband, energy, and insurance. One day spent on this each year might save you hundreds of pounds.

  1. Create a simple budget

All you need are details of your income and outgoings. You can find step-by-step guidance on how to create a basic budget using apps such as the MoneySkills app.

  1. Set up a regular savings direct debit

When the bills are stacking up, committing to regular savings might seem unrealistic. But it’s surprising how quickly a small amount saved each month can mount up. Creating a ‘rainy day’ fund can cut the stress of unexpected expenses and help you save for a special occasion or planned big spend. If the direct debit is timed for just after you’re paid, you’re much less likely to miss the money going into your savings.

  1. Set aspirational financial goals

Setting long-term financial goals can be a great motivation for reducing day-to-day spending. Your goal might be the promise of a dream holiday, the desire to replace an unreliable car, to fund time off to visit friends or relatives, or even to become debt-free. Some people work towards these goals by making simple changes to allow them to save toward these goals.

  1. Seek help quickly if you need to

Money is one of the last taboos, with many of us resistant or embarrassed to discuss our finances, even with those we love. Often, we leave it too long when money problems hit, yet seeking help quickly can make all the difference. Research findings show that some people resist asking for help because they don’t know who to trust and worry that a source of free help might actually be trying to sell them something.

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