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How to manage your money better

Becoming an adult is often associated with taking up a lot of financial responsibilities like paying your bills. But it also makes way for a lot of 'firsts' - whether it is saving up for your first car, your first independent holiday or something more long term like a house deposit.

Meeting your expenses and commitments, while saving up for the things you want, can be a challenge. Here are three financial habits that may help you:

Set financial goals

Having specific financial goals can give you a clear sense of purpose that you want to work towards. Break these down into short, medium and long-term goals. For example:

  • What do you want or need to purchase in the next 12 months?

  • What breaks or holidays do you plan to take?

  • What high interest debts would you like to clear?

  • What are your medium-term plans (e.g. saving for a home deposit)?

  • What savings might you need for your long-term future?

With lots of competing priorities, remaining focused on your savings goals can be hard. Here are three things you can try:

  1. Write your goals down and keep them somewhere prominent, so that you are reminded of them regularly.

  2. Break big goals down into a series of smaller ones, so that it is easier to keep track of the progress you are making.

  3. Get friends or family involved, so that you feel more accountable for achieving your goals.

Learn to budget

The key to managing money well is to 'live within your means'. By making sure that your monthly costs and expenses are less than your income, you'll be able to stay out of debt and save for your future.

A good starting point is to learn to budget effectively. Creating a budget will help you record your income and expenses, and monitor your spending. Thus, helping you take control of your finances. There are plenty of mobile apps that can help you get in the habit of creating a budget and sticking to it.

Need some help to put a budget together? Check out our article on Creating a budget and learn to create a budget, identify ways to reduce spending and save more.

Plan for repaying any debt

Most people borrow money at some point in their lives, whether it's to fund their education, buy a car or home. Managing your debts can be easier if you have a plan ahead for repayment. Before you take on debt make sure you do the following:

Review the contract in its entirety. Be aware of the terms and limitations of your contract. If you don't understand something, ask.

Make a plan to pay off the debt. Before you take on debt, make a plan to repay it. This will help you to stay on track and avoid any consequences of a missed payment.

Track it. As you take on debts in the form of loans, credit cards or bills, make sure you review your repayment progress regularly. Keep track of your credit score or rating, and monitor it for any suspicious activity. Report anything you don't recognise straight away.

Getting into the habit of saving money while you're young is important, but it can seem difficult while managing debt repayments.

Prioritise repaying high interest debt first, before you put aside some savings. If possible, try and build up savings in addition to making those payments.

You may find this article useful: Save? Or pay off debt?

Learning to become financially independent isn't always easy. However, by establishing a handful of healthy financial habits early on, you are investing in your future financial health and wellbeing.

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