Debt is a huge problem at the moment. Be it on a national or a personal level. We just have to look at some statistics to see the current stark situation:
– The average UK adult now owes almost £30,000.
– Average consumer borrowing per UK adult is over £3000.
– The average household credit card debt is over £2000.
If we take a look at just credit card debt alone. Although £2000 may not seem like much. If you had to repay this, what would be an affordable amount for you to pay each month? Perhaps £50? Well if so it would take 5 years of monthly payments to clear this sum when factering in interest.
So how do you become debt free? By being organised!! In this weeks post we will tell you exactly how to do this. To enable you to live a debt free life.
Work out your Income
Before you say I know how much I earn and skip to the next point. Hear me out.
Have you ever received a smaller paycheque than what you were expecting? Started a new job only to realise on payday you had to work 1 month in lieu?
The likelihood is you answered yes to at least one of these questions, if not both like myself. Whatever your situation was, be it overestimating sick, holiday or maternity pay etc. All are avoidable.
All information and rates of pay are normally found in your employee handbook (if you work for a larger business) or are always available from your employer’s payroll or accounts department.
Go and ask!! Knowing these rates allows you to more accurately predict your pay and make your budget.
There are many free to use online salary calculators. Use your pay rates and one of these to more accurately predict your income after tax.
Housing and Living Costs
Could you be paying to much for your household bills? Its more than likely!! The latest research published shows you could be paying £405 to much. That is about 1/3 of the average yearly bill. Although we all know the sites to visit to compare these prices. Very few of us actually know when our current contract expires. How to cancel this or even what tariff we are on.
Go and find out!! Oil and gas prices are low. And a treasury investigation in to energy prices has begun. So prices are tumbling.
Making a shopping list too is a very simple and easy way to get organised. In our previous post 10 Ways to Save a Tenner we stated how doing this can save you more than £1300 each year.
Keep a record of your energy tariff, the rate and when it expires. Have the information to compare providers and always get the best deal.
Don’t Ignore Bills
I am sure the majority of us have received a bill that we could not afford to pay. The natural instinct is to ignore it and hope it goes away. But it wont!! Ignoring this will only make you stressed. Especially as those reminder letters start to pile up. Affecting your sleep, work and relationships.
The worst thing about ignoring these bills are the added late charges and interest. Creating an ever larger bill and stress level.
But there is a better way. Contact the company right away!! You will more than likely be suprised with how understanding they are. And to boot you will have an arrangement to pay this. That is both manageable and affordable. Say goodbye to stress, you are back in control.
Keep a record of all bills. When they were received. When they were paid and the cost.
Although rates of interest for savings accounts are currently low. This is not a reason to stop saving. According to an Office of Fair Trading report. The average payday loan in the UK is between £265-270.
Having just a few hundred pounds of savings can be enough to cover almost all unexpected expenses. Preventing the need to borrow, use an overdraft or even a credit card. In our previous post 10 Ways to Save a Tenner. We stated that saving just £50 a month. Will add up to £600 a year.
No one is immune to losing their job or being out work either. Try to accumulate savings of at least 2 or 3 months your regular wage. So you don’t have to worry till you are back on your feet.
When budgeting, classify savings as fixed outgoings. Just like rent and bills. Make savings a necessity not an optional bonus!!
It may seem obvious, but debt is caused by more outgoings than incomings. Although most people will blame this on their income level. It is actually a spending problem!!! Even if you earn the minimum wage it is possible to live inside your means if your organised.
To stay organised you need to:
- Calculate your income
- Get the best possible deals for your household energy bills and expenses
- Keep a record of all bills and pay them on time
- Save money every month
There are many free to download budgeting apps. Available on both the Google Play and App Store store.
Useful printable action planners produced by the charity Shelter are also available to download here.
Take control of your finances, Get Organised!!