Looking after your money is a continuing problem for most of us.
And now especially for any of the British amongst us it’s becoming even more important of late.
I’d like to say it was a temporary blip, but just in case it’s not then we must all get to know our income and its limits, whatever level it is.
Using the old adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’ I’m afraid doesn’t really help very much, but when you can get comfortable with your finances then your whole life can change.
So let’s get stuck in and try to make a difference.
1 – Check Your Bank Account
Don’t be afraid to check your bank account, preferably online so you can do it at least once a week, or more often.
Sometimes we don’t always have a receipt for payments we make.
In the past I have been of the ‘ if you don’t look it isn’t there’ school, but now I like to check my bank account every day or so so I don’t miss anything and always know what’s going in and what’s coming out.
This is also a good idea if you carry a credit card. Check your account every day, or every other day.
Also keep an eye out for unauthorized purchases. If you wait too long, you might have hundreds charged to your card, without even knowing it – the last thing you want !
2 – Be a smart spender
Almost every single day we spend money — whether it’s on a quick grocery shop run,filling up the car, or purchasing an item we found online.
Often the things you spend on are essential to daily life, but one of the best ways to keep it to a minimum is to be organised ( yes , I know I’m not a model of perfection on this, but I’m much better than I used to be, and it’s really paid off for me !!)
First ask yourself – Could I get by without this item ? Or have I already got something that will do the same job ?
Could I get it for FREE, or could I borrow it temporarily to get the job done ( whilst making sure it’s returned promptly, of course ) ?
Is there any way I can I get for less ?
This will the subject of many other posts in the future on here I suspect.
The point is to think through any purchases you might possibly make that day before going out and handing over your hard-earned money. Just a few minutes of reflection could be the difference on a limited income.
3 – Use the monthly payment systems wherever you can
Electricity, habitation and fonciere taxes, water, insurances, telephone mobile or fixed, Internet, all of these should be put on the automatic monthly payment systems if you have a regular monthly income.
Keep a list of them and if possible try and make the payment dates a few days after your money comes in.
It will make life much easier and you won’t incur extra charges for late payments, leaving more for the nicer things in life.
Then just add them together and then you know what your basic life costs are.
How to cut them down to size we will also discuss later !!
4 – Find Ways to Be Thrifty Around the House
Managing money isn’t just about spending, it’s about saving too, and there are many creative ways to do this right at home! Here are a few things that will save a bit every day
Eat at Home — Start meal planning and/or freezer cooking to avoid spending money at overpriced restaurants. Also take care to use as many leftovers as you can, even if it just goes to dog food !
Experiment with Homemade Cleaners — It’s incredibly easy to make your own cleaning products and they cost pennies compared to bottles at the store. You probably have most, if not all, of the supplies in your pantry. Some of my friends ( French and English) swear by bicarbonate and vinegar and my own particular favourite is a large bottle of liquid carnuba wax, which has many many uses.
5 – Take Time to Organise
Organisation really does save you time and money, and it’s amazing how many things you find when you take the time to properly label and put things away.
6 – Make do and mend
Before throwing anything away, see if you can give it new life. Just be careful not to keep it ‘in case’ and let it turn into clutter.
7 – Communicate, communicate, communicate !!!!!
With your spouse, your children, your family, your neighbours, your friends, the lady in the boulangerie, the man at the garage, the doctor, the bar owner, the waitress, the postman.
Talk about anything and everything ( without being tagged the village gossip, of course )
If you are looking for something then mention it to someone, or advertise for something that you need. Facebook groups are good for this, find one for your local area, and keep an eye on it.
Look at the local papers, you can usually read one for free in the local bar if you have a coffee.
8 – Bartering
Bartering is the skill you most need too, don’t be afraid. Swop anything you don’t need or just sell it if it might be useful to someone else.
Swop skills, unwanted stuff, garden produce, or just company.
You won’t regret it.
All of this gives you a good start to getting your life sorted so that you can enjoy the good parts and spend less time worrying whether you can afford it.
Life is for Living however you choose to do it, and for following your dreams.
And so to this week’s quote – If your dreams don’t scare you – they aren’t big enough !
And don’t forget to sign on for the challenge here, and get your life back in order’