Just when we thought we were heading towards a light at the end of the tunnel. At the time of writing, new lockdown restrictions have been put into place across certain parts of West Yorkshire, East Lancashire and Greater Manchester. It just goes to show how unpredictable our future is, and how easily the status quo can be compromised. Whether you’re affected by these new local lockdowns or not, the overwhelmingly clear lesson, is that you can never be too prepared for an uncertain future. Especially when it comes to our finances. With many people in the UK still on furlough or struggling to adapt to a loss of work or income, financial planning is more important than ever.
We’ve already looked at how to manage your finances in an emergency situation. In this post, we’ll take a look at some ways in which you can better prepare your finances for an uncertain future…
Regulate your savings payments
Proper budgeting is essential to your household’s financial wellbeing in fair weather or foul. However, if there’s one aspect of budgeting in which many of us are lacking right now, it’s saving. Savings are extremely important. They allow us to cope better with unforeseen expenses without having to rely on lines of credit (which result in mounting interest rates and prolonged debt). However, in order to make the most of your savings, you need to pay into them regularly. As in, every month. The best way to do this is to set up a standing order paid from your current account into your savings account on every payday. So you’re less likely to miss the money you set aside to prepare for the future.
Take a look at your car insurance excess
As confident as you may be in your driving, you may not be able to afford the excess on your insurance policy if you are involved in an accident on the road. Many of us opt for a higher excess when taking out a new policy, as this invariably means lower monthly premiums. However, this may be a false economy. You may be able to get low excess car insurance for a similar rate to what you’re currently paying. So you can drive with complete peace of mind.
Take control of your credit card debt
Credit card debt can be a sensitive topic. But you gain nothing from burying your head in the sand and ignoring it. Setting your payments to the monthly minimum may seem like a good idea, but the reality is that it can seriously prolong your debt and place long-term restrictions on your cash flow. Take control of your debt by moving it to new cards with low introductory interest rates. And when those rates expire… just move it again.
Master the art of meal planning
Finally, when you get home from a stressful day at work and the fridge is bare, the temptation to order a takeaway can be enormous. Especially when services like Just Eat and Deliveroo have made it so easy for us to order in. However, this can slowly erode your disposable income week after week. Instead, try mastering the fine art of meal planning so you can shop with precision and cook in batches. You may be astonished by what it does for your food budget.