When our finances are in a mess, it can cause a lot of stress and worry. And it’s not always obvious to know where to start when trying to get things straight again (though the intention may be there).
Often what’s needed to get unstuck is a fresh way to organise things in our thoughts. That way we can create space and clarity around what the best way forward is.
There are four pillars of good money management. These are: saving, spending, earning and giving. All your personal finance decisions fit into one of these four groups. Read on to learn more.
Saving money is often referred to as ‘paying yourself first’. There are a number of reasons why savings are important. Here are a few:
In an ideal world, everyone would have an emergency savings pot equivalent to three months of income. This is to give you resilience in the face of unexpected costs. It helps to cushion the financial impact without setting you back.
Big goals require cash to be achieved. Be that getting on the property ladder or buying a new car, saving up enough money to realise your goal should be a part of your monthly budget.
Many people leave saving up for retirement until it’s too late. Paying into a pension in your twenties and thirties can often feel painful when there are fun things you could do with that money now. But starting early is important and can make your retirement more comfortable later on.
If you’re not already set up and have struggled with saving money in the past, try Loqbox Save. We make it easy to start a regular saving habit and grow your credit score at the same time. You can start by saving as little as £20 per month. Find out more here.
Paying attention to how we spend our money, where it goes and why, is essential to good money management. Here are two things to try:
Getting an overview on how we spend our money is most easily achieved by creating a budget. Budgeting is empowering. It’s about being intentional with how we spend our money so that we can get what we really want.
According to a survey conducted by Attest, the majority of under 30s in the UK use some form of app to help them budget. If you’re just getting started with budgeting, check out our beginner’s guide here.
Making your money go further
We all love a bargain. And making sure you get the best deals when you spend money, helps you achieve more with the money you have.
Many people can save themselves a small fortune by switching providers for things like their subscriptions, car insurance and mobile phone contracts. You can also get more from your money with Loqbox Grow.
Our members report an average boost of 125 points using Loqbox Grow. For just £2.50 a week, you can help to boost your credit score too.
Most of us get our money from some form of salary or wage. So when we think about how we can achieve more of our goals in life, we often fantasise about getting a promotion at work or a shiny new job offer that comes with a hefty pay rise. Such a pay rise would give us more money to play with.
Now, it’s very easy to get fixated on what we earn when we think about our personal finances. But it’s important to note that financial freedom isn’t all about making more money. Indeed earning is one of four money management pillars. So while it needs considering, it certainly isn’t everything. That said, here are the key things to think about:
This is your plan for how you’ll move forward in your career, in whatever way is meaningful to you. The idea is to plan each of your future roles so you remain engaged, fulfilled and excited about your work. And this is also how you'll get more responsibility and earn a higher salary. Here are some tips on making a career plan.
Learning new skills supports your career progression plan (mentioned above). Whether you’re learning more skills to help you in your current role (upskilling) to earn a promotion, or you’re learning completely new skills (reskilling) to make a career change — the purpose of doing so is to help you unlock the next step in your career and earn more money.
When you know what you want (your career progression plan) and you have the skills you need to make it happen, you can put yourself forward for promotions and/or new opportunities. And when you do this, remember that it’s not just about getting to the point where you’re offered the job, but also getting the best deal for you in your new role at that point.
So if you’re job hunting, check out this article for tips on negotiating your salary when the time comes. If you’re thinking about asking for a pay rise in your current job, have a look at this article for tips on how to have that conversation.
Many people aspire to earn more money so that they can give more back. Obviously making sure your needs are taken care of first is essential. (You’re not going to be able to do much to help others unless you’re taking care of yourself.)
But if and when you have the financial stability and opportunity to do so, giving to causes and/or people and organisations you care about is a great way to make sure your money is doing good in the world. There’s no rule about how much money you should try and give or when.
So whether you give one-off donations every now and then (perhaps by sponsoring your friends when they take on challenges in aid of charity), or you give regularly via a direct debit — it’s entirely up to you. Just make sure that whatever you choose works for your budget.
Checking your credit reports
When it comes to your financial health, your credit score is really important. So checking your credit reports is a good place to start when seeking to improve your financial health.
Making yourself visible to the system
If you haven't managed to find your credit report, you might be 'invisible' to the system for some reason, meaning one or more CRA can't find you.