Improve your financial fitness
Flex your money muscles with these essential personal finance tips.
Time to get the Lycra on and work those money muscles. Just as we take action to keep our minds and bodies fit and healthy, there are steps we can take to do the same for our personal finances.
So here are 6 ways to test your financial fitness and make it stronger for the future.
Warm up your wealth-building habits
As with any workout, you can’t start cold. The first step to improving your financial fitness is to go through some simple exercises to get to know your finances. We’ve listed some key ones below, to get you started.
- Get to know your income and outgoings. Before you can properly look to grow your money, you need to know what you’ve got coming in and what you’ve got going out. So check your statements regularly, and set up payment notifications through your mobile banking app.
- Set a realistic budget. Budgeting is the foundation of healthy financial habits. However, a budget only works if you can stick to it. Setting a realistic budget, which fits your income and spending habits, will keep your finances in good shape.
- Save a consistent amount each month. It’s time to build that savings habit. Saving a consistent amount each month will help grow your savings over time. The easiest way to do this is to set up a standing order so that you add to your savings as soon as you get paid.
Don’t neglect your core (…goals)
Having a focus and setting yourself some core money goals will incentivise you to stay on track.
Think about what it is you want from your money. Are you saving for a house deposit? Or are you focused on paying off credit card debt?
Whatever your goal is, put a name, a target amount and a deadline against it in order to stay motivated.
Also, remember that your goal is personal to you. So don’t go comparing your financial fitness journey with anyone else’s.
Don’t let your budget feel the burn!
If you’re consistently running out of money at the end of each month, then it may be time to re-evaluate your budget.
This doesn’t mean you’ve failed in your journey to tone up your finances. Being aware of what is working and what isn’t will help you achieve your end result.
If you keep busting your budget, then you’ll need to look at where you’re overspending. Adjusting some habits or making some cuts here and there should help you avoid burnout and keep you on the path to achieving your core goals. Subscriptions are a good place to start. Do you need each one? Could you downgrade?
Consistency is key
As with your fitness levels, consistency is key when it comes to results.
It can be easy to lose focus. But if you really want to improve your financial fitness, keeping with the programme really makes a difference.
This includes things like paying your credit card balance off in full each month to avoid any interest charges. Or regularly comparing products to make sure you have the best deal or rate.
Don’t let a splurge throw you off
We’re not immune to the odd splurge. The main thing is to not use it as an excuse to stop these healthy financial habits altogether.
If you do end up going over one month or not managing to hit your savings goal, make the adjustments you need and get back on track.
Build your money muscles
Once you’ve got that financial fitness foundation, it’s time to start making your money work harder for you.
There are different ways to achieve this, but the main ones are through saving, investing or both.
- Savings. Rather than your money being a couch potato and not doing anything for you, why not put it to work in an interest earning savings account? If you choose an instant access savings account, you can still access your money at any time. But if you’re looking for a harder workout for your money, and are happy to lock it away for a set period of time, you can look at taking out a fixed rate bond, or a savings account that offers a higher rate in return for, say, only 3 withdrawals a year.
- Investing. If you’ve got some spare cash, then you could look into investing. It’s a risky business and there’s no guarantee of returns, but it can help your money grow over time.
Finally, make sure you step back and pat yourself on the back now and then. Take a look at the savings account you’ve managed to grow or revel in the confidence you’ve built from sticking to your budget.
Remember your financial fitness is an ongoing journey, and it’s never too late to start toning those money muscles.
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