Good Life Guide: How to feel more in control + build a financial routine
What’s this Good Life Guide about?
I’m acutely aware that there’s no handy hack or tip that can make the times we’re living through easy, but in this Good Life Guide, we’re looking at some of the things you can do to hopefully feel a bit more in control. We’ll cover:
🙏 How to feel more peaceful about money
📆 How to build a financial routine
👋 AD BREAK
Firstly, a quick note from Santander who is the sponsor of this educational guide. They’ve asked me to share two things with you:
1️⃣ A PSA for those of you who bank with Santander! If you have a Santander current account, there is a prize draw open at the moment worth £1,500 towards your utility bills. You can enter here
2️⃣ A quick FYI on the 1|2|3 account...
It’s not a free account (it’s £4 a month) but the cashback is generous:
- 1% on council tax bills, mobile phone/internet bills
- 2% on gas and electricity bills
- 3% on water bills
If you’re on the hunt for a new current account and trying to work out whether it’s worth it, here’s a useful calculator (click on ‘interest and chargeback’)
Things you should know about:
- As mentioned above there is a monthly fee to maintain the accounts
- To earn cashback, you need to pay in £500 a month and have 2 Direct Debits (so you’d want this to be your main account from which you pay your bills and get your salary paid into)
- 18+ T&Cs apply.
Thanks Santander 👍
How to feel more peaceful and less anxious about money and work
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If you're feeling particularly frazzled right now, the post above might be a good starting point but if you're in need of additional help, here are some resources:
👉 If you’re struggling to make your minimum payment and manage debt
Please always speak to your lender first - they are obliged to help. The next stop is a free debt charity:
- Citizen's Advice is a great starting point
- Community Money Advice is excellent if you want to chat with someone in person
- StepChange offer online and telephone advice
Avoid scammy texts offering to wipe your debt and any service which charges you
👉 If you need help with energy bills/council tax
- If your property's tax band is A to D you’ll be receiving a £150 rebate in April
- If you’re struggling to pay your council tax, get in touch with your council. They may be able to reduce or reschedule your payments or grant hardship relief
👉 If your mind needs help
Mind.org is a brilliant resource but to speak to a qualified professional your GP can also be an option (although waiting lists are long), otherwise, search for ‘means-tested therapist’ or ‘sliding scale therapist’.
If debt is also a worry...In addition to getting good advice, you can also access something called The Debt and Mental Health Evidence Form. You can find this online and ask your health or social care professional to sign it. A debt adviser can guide you through this process. Having this form means lenders will be more considerate of your situation.
How to build a financial routine
Once you feel a bit more in control of things, you might want to think about building a financial routine.
Not that kind of routine.
What is a financial routine?
A financial routine is a set of habits you do on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. As a self-employed person, mine looks something like this:
- Check my accounts once a week (am I roughly on track?)
- 14th of every month - Pay Rent - 5 mins to check direct debits
- Last Friday of every month - Check through accounting software, invoice, pay myself and update finance spreadsheet
- Set goals for the year
- Review investments
- Oversee tax return with my accountant
How to build yours
Using the following categories, select the activities most relevant to you:
- Check your accounts
- Spending: Are you roughly on track?
- Check direct debits & standing orders
- Check returns have been made (and actually send stuff back!)
- Stay on top of debt repayments
- Invest - if you’re investing using the ‘drip feed’ strategy (investing little and often)
- Think tax: make the most of your ISA/personal allowance
- Tax return - do you need to complete one?
- Review your financial goals. Have they changed? Do you need to change your investment strategy?
- Are you using the right financial services for you?
A word on scheduling
The best way to make this a routine you actually stick to is to keep it simple and automated. Hopefully, you’re already using things like direct debits but to avoid you having to actually remember what to do when, I highly recommend you use recurring events in your calendar.
I hope this guide has been helpful - I know these are really challenging times and there are no quick fixes but we will be talking more about the cost of living crisis and support available over the next few weeks.
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