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Budget your way to better mental health
Expect the unexpected and you might just be prepared, that’s the theme of our latest blog as we shine a light on debt and mental health.
As figures show that UK homes owe an average of £15,385 to credit cards the number of Brits feeling the pinch is higher than before, with thousands across the country struggling to make ends meet.
The link between mental health and debt has been long documented. Money worries can be all consuming, adding additional stress to day-to-day life. As the pace of life continues to increase, getting through each day can seem like a never-ending juggling act and adding financial strain into the mix only makes matters worse for families across the country.
Debt can affect mental health in a number of different ways and not all are obvious at first:
- Living in fear of being able to make you next bill can understandably be a fraught time. This can cause high levels of anxiety and stress – even when it comes to spending money on essentials.
- Dealing with the benefits system when living in debt can cause extra stress about the future.
- You may struggle to cover the cost of everyday essentials, such as food, electricity, or heating, which can lead to depression and affect your relationships and social life.
- You may feel sick at the thought of doing even the simplest of tasks like answering the phone or even opening an envelope.
One of the easiest ways to regain control of your finances and better manage. Even something as simple as being aware of how much money you have coming in and going out each month can help you stay in control of your cash, preventing you from falling into further money worries.
Here we sine a light on simple budgeting tips that can help reduce stress and optimise your spending.
1. Work out your budget
A little forward planning goes a long way when you’re on a low income or don’t have a huge amount of dispensable cash each month. The first step to taking control is knowing how much money you have coming in and out each month. A budget will show clearly where your money is going and will highlight if you are living within your means or not.
2. Start with important categories first
Knowing your financial priorities is imperative, it allows you tick off the most important payments off the list first, leaving you with an idea of how much of your budget you can allocate to recreational activities. Necessities such as household and vehicle bills and payments towards any debts should always take priority when planning your spending for the month.
3. Online budgeting
If you find it hard to plan your financial future using a pen and paper, look to online AND mobile budgeting tools to make your money work for you. A budgeting tool will allow you to see first hand what you’re earning in comparison to what your spending which can be a real eye opener if you’re setting up a budget for the first time. Apps such as You Need A Budget, Goodbudget and Money Dashboard are heralded as a selection of the top budgeting tools on the market.
4. Cost cutting
Budgeting might be a way to track your spending, but it is also a handy way to look at ways you can cut costs each month. It’s easy to fall into spending habits which can often lead to overspending and not getting the best value for your money. According to figures from Santander households across the country spends almost £3,500 on utility bills, however, you could save hundreds of pounds by switching suppliers or shopping around for other household goods.
5. Make spending difficult
Spending money nowadays is easier than ever before. No cash? No problem, all you have to do is tap your bank card or smart phone and you’re in action. However, by reverting to a cash only spending habit you can cut back on spending on frivolous or unnecessary purchases. Set a weekly budget for day-to-day spending in cash and avoid turning to the plastic when it’s all spent.
It’s not often you see procrastination as a life hack but when it comes to saving money it can be a great tool. With everything in life available in an instant it can easy to lose track of what you’re buying. By adopting a ‘buy it next week’ approach you’re less likely to make impulsive purchases that you can’t really afford.
7. Have goals
Committing to a budget every month can sometimes be easier said than done, however, setting a long-term goal will make you more likely to stick to your plan.
Planning and sticking to a budget is heralded as a great way to regain financial control but for those who are struggling with debt, sometimes a budget isn’t enough to make a real difference to day-to-day life.
Anyone struggling and looking for support with their debts should speak to one of our trained advisors about the debt relief solutions available. You could write off up to 75% of your unsecured debts and reduce your monthly payments with our support – freeing up your money to cover more than just the bare necessities. For more information call us on 0808 2085 195.