Sometimes, the end of the month can feel like the finish line. Whether that’s the finish line to a quick, just-for-fun egg-and-spoon race, or the Marathon des Sables depends on your individual circumstances. Still, most of us know what it’s like, at some point or another, to wish that we could stretch things that little bit further and avoid skimming rock bottom by the time the 30th rolls around.
The good news is that, in so many cases, there are ways to get more out of the monthly incomings and to minimise the impact of those outgoings – and, ultimately, to ensure that we’re not leaving ourselves high and dry if we don’t stick to our budgets to the nearest 100th.
Right now, it can feel harder than ever to get that good result by the end of the month – but, with sound financial advice, that needn’t be the case. For that reason, we’ve put together five of the most effective ways to ensure that we’re doing the best we can throughout the month.
1. Make your long-term goals clear and realistic
For anyone who feels that the monthly incomings are struggling to keep up with the outgoings, building any sort of long-term financial plan can feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill. Why think in terms of years when managing the weeks is a struggle?
But a long-term financial plan doesn’t have to consist of ‘save lots of money each month and keep growing your savings’ – and, if it did, it wouldn’t be much good to anyone. Long-term plans are just that: long-term. They rely on slow and steady and consistent saving rather than any momentous, four or five-figure deposits into your savings account each time one month gives way to the next.
2. Cut what you can
Most of us are tied into a variety of monthly or yearly payments and subscriptions that we could just as easily do without. When things feel a little tight, it can be tempting to steer clear of the bank statement – but that simply means that we’re missing out on a good opportunity to do a little spring cleaning.
Back in the day, when the letterbox started to pile up with magazines and catalogues, it was easier to keep on top of the subscriptions we’d taken on. But, with so many streaming and digital subscription services on offer, letting those £5.99 and £9.99 liabilities pile up is easier than ever.
It may not free up hundreds, but it will make a difference, nonetheless.
3. Invest, but do so wisely
If you’re reaching the end of the month and consistently finding that you’ve got a notable chunk of your income(s) left, then investing is the best possible way to make those figures grow over time. A long-term, shrewd investment can provide the opportunity for long term capital growth above inflation.
Investing isn’t something to do on a whim – although, these days, it’s certainly possible. If you want to ensure your investments are sound, talk things through with an independent financial advisor and create a comprehensive plan tailored to your specific circumstances and goals.
4. Avoid taking on new debts
There are so many opportunities for buy now pay later, 0% finance, or attractive credit agreements on big purchases these days, and avoiding a large chunk of your cash being lifted out of your current account or savings is, undeniably, very tempting. It can feel like a good way to make your money go further – after all, £20 a month for many months is almost painless, compared with the alternative.
But debt is debt, and, while one debt may represent such a slow drain on your finances that you can get away with it without any trouble, multiple debts will add up and represent a significant leak (or collection of leaks) in the boat.
Debt isn’t a way to make your money go further – it’s a way to poke another hole in your long-term financial goals.
5. Protect your finances
A solid financial plan is not just taken care of from month to month – it’s all about preparing for the future so that, when it comes, it doesn’t derail us (or our finances). For that reason alone, investing in the proper protections for your income is the key to ensuring your money does more for you in the long term.
We can help you to address the big, overarching question of insurance and protection, and address the biggest risks to your income (and how to cover yourself against them).
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.