If you are eager to revolutionize your finances, the task facing you may seem overwhelming. The coronavirus era has made all of us question our priorities. While we were once happy to splash the cash on vacations, home renovations, and a new set of wheels every couple of years, we now need to be more frugal with our money. We are more concerned about the stability of our jobs, the health of our children, and our ability to make it through the pandemic as unscathed as possible.
If you are keen to take a step back from your spending and be a bit more thrifty in your financial mindset, you need to be willing to begin a mental and emotional journey. You have to think about your financial goals and how you can meet them. You might want to become debt-free, you might need to save up for a new house, and you might be eager to be prepared should you need to take a sudden financial hit. Take a look at how you can begin your journey to financial freedom.
Becoming Debt Free
There is no better way to get on top of your finances than clearing all of your debts. While you may have a mortgage that is ticking over nicely, you need to consider clearing your credit cards, your store cards, and any hefty loans you may have. If you have a few credit cards that are maxed out that you barely tickle the interest on every month when you make your repayments, you need to investigate balance transfers. You may be tempted to simply increase your credit allowance and apply for further cards. However, by transferring the balances that you do have to some cards with zero percent on any money you place on it, you will be paying off capital every month. This means that you don’t have to worry about building up further debt.
Don’t apply for a swathe of credit cards, however beneficial they may be, because you will be credit checked for each one. This can have a negative effect on your credit rating meaning that you will be looked on less favorably if you need to apply for any other financial products. A personal unsecured loan can also be a great way to shift your debt as it can make the money that you owe simpler to manage. Rather than having all sorts of random debt repayments coming out of your account at different times every month, you can have one loan repayment coming out of your account instead. This can consolidate your debt and help you to become debt free faster.
Becoming debt-free needs tackling from many different sides. While you may be able to set up an effective way to clear your credit cards, you also need to curb your expenditure to complement your ability to shift your credit card balance. This is why you need to check out an online budget calculator to help you list the incomings and outgoings that you encounter as a household each week. Seeing it in black and white means that you can spot those pieces of expenditure that you can shave off in an effort to save cash and become debt-free. Is that almond croissant and caramel latte on the way to work every Friday really necessary or is it just a treat? Listing every iota of expenditure means that you will streamline your budget effectively so that you can live well within your means. Your expenditure should never exceed your incoming cash otherwise you will begin racking up the debt again.
Having a budget doesn’t mean that you have to live like a pauper. You can still enjoy meals out, days out with the kids, and leisure activities – you just need to budget for them, keep them as a treat rather than the norm, and seek out the best deals. A meal out doesn’t have to mean fine dining at a Michelin starred restaurant. Instead, look for deals online, go for the two for one meal deal vouchers in chain restaurants, and enjoy a takeaway now and then. These cheaper options will allow you to enjoy your free time without breaking the bank. If you do want to splash the boat out occasionally, you don’t have to go into further debt, you just need to shave off money from other areas of your expenditure.
As the coronavirus hit, many industries suffered financially. As retail closed down, hospitality crashed, and tourism became non-existent, our jobs quickly became under threat. This can cause untold worry and anxiety, especially if your finances aren’t top notch. If you feel like you could be faced with redundancy, don’t think that all is lost. You need to consider your options prior to the redundancy hitting and get yourself prepared. Redundancy can feel like a real kick in the teeth. Even though the rational side of you knows that it isn’t personal, it will still sap your self confidence.
Prepare by looking for jobs in the interim and check out the sorts of qualifications, certifications, and experience they require. Remember, you aren’t going for a promotion, especially not in this newfound competitive job market. You simply want to get a job that will help you provide for your family. It doesn’t matter whether you work in retail, cybersecurity, or hospitality management, there will be a job out there for you.
You need to take a look at your resume and get upskilled. You might not have applied for a new job in a decade or more, and things have really moved on. Check out the person and job specification for the sorts of role that you might be keen to apply for. Is there any of the essential criteria that you don’t meet? If so, make sure that you brush up your resume so that you do. Highlight your skills and consider getting help from one of the many resume coaches available out there.
If you need to take a new professional qualification or you need to do some online training, get enrolled. A potential new employer will be incredibly impressed if you have completed training off your own back and paid for it yourself while having a full-time job to juggle. You need to show commitment to finding a new job, so you need to put in the effort. When you consider these new training opportunities, they may cost money. Spend wisely because this will end up being an investment in you as a professional. Not all spending is reckless. This certainly isn’t. Check out grants from government schemes, as many people working in industries hit hardest by the Covid-19 pandemic are allowed to apply for grants and financial support to help them to retrain for another job role.
As a family, there will be ways that you can save money within the household. If you are keen to make your home more energy efficient, you can end up saving money in the long term. Rather than worrying about the initial outlay of solar panels, mini wind turbines, and a new more energy efficient boiler, look at the utility bill savings you can achieve. Solar panels are great for those homes that see a lot of sunshine. Harnessing the energy of the sun, you can generate your own electricity. This will power your appliances and heating, meaning that you can go off-grid. Any energy that you have that isn’t immediately used can be stored or sold back to the grid, making you some extra cash.
Thermostats are also an effective way to save money on household bills. The latest smart thermostats mean that you can control the temperature of your home from anywhere in the world as long as you have a smartphone, the relevant app, and a WiFi connection. For example, if you are leaving work and the evening is unseasonally warm, you don’t have to rush home to move the thermostat down. You can do this before you leave the office via an app, meaning that you won’t be wasting money on heating your home when not needed and you won’t return to a sauna.
If your home loan is looking a little too steep for you now, don’t default on payments. Instead, consider selling up and swapping your large pad for somewhere a little smaller. Downsizing can release equity within your current home, helping you to feel more financially free and giving you the opportunity to pay off debts and feel more financially secure. When your money situation is more buoyant you can climb the property ladder once again.
It can be challenging to find financial freedom during a global pandemic. You may struggle to overcome your anxieties and worries about health, money, and your job. However, rather than wallowing in your discontent, you can force yourself to look to the future and plan for it. By considering your finances, you can empower your family to become debt free, enjoy more buoyant savings, and prepare for a financially free future.