07 Jun Be savvy without savings in just 60 minutes
40% of the UK has less than £100 in savings – that’s around 17 million people. Costs are climbing faster than wages and millions of people in the UK feel the squeeze getting tighter and tighter. Savings are one of the best indicators of financial health, and those that have them are much less likely to get trapped by the spiral of debt.
But what if you don’t have any savings at all? In this post, we explain some of the best ways to be financially savvy, even if you have nothing saved up. The best bit? You can do all of the things on this list in under an hour.
On your marks, get set… go!
One of the biggest dangers to those without savings is unexpected expenses. Our research shows that most people get hit by at least one or two a year: car repairs, dentist bills, surprise school trips. We’ve spent dozens of hours asking people how they manage unexpected expenses, and the best way to start is by knowing that something always crops up.
It’s hard to put money aside each month when you’re living paycheque to paycheque, and monthly payments like contents insurance can seem hard to justify. You can’t put a price on your piece of mind, but you can put some kind of plan together. Is there somebody in your family that you can borrow money from if you need to? Do you know if your boss can grant you an advance on your salary? It’s a cliché, but failing to plan is planning to fail, and the spiral of debt sucks in tens of thousands of people each year just because they didn’t have some kind of backup plan.
What would you do in a financial emergency?
Understand your money
Be at one with your bank account. We’re not saying you have to love checking your balance every couple of days, but you should get really familiar with a.) how much money you have coming in each month and b.) exactly how much goes out, and where. Eliminate surprises.
You don’t even need to go over your bank or credit card statements with a fine-tooth comb. Categories are enough! Understand where you spend your money, and when. Even if you tell yourself you’re going to spend 10 minutes a month looking at your finances, you’ll quickly see where you can claw back some cash. Subscriptions, coffees, scratchcards: the things you regret spending money on stick out like a sore thumb. It doesn’t have to be painful! The better you know where your money is going, the better you’ll be able to cope when there’s an emergency.
Catch up on last months’ statement right now. It’s okay, we’ll wait!
We push this mantra pretty hard at Creditspring, but for good reason. You can’t improve what you can’t measure, so set yourself a financial target. Set yourself a goal! Be optimistic, and we promise you’ll surprise yourself. Pick something that’s specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-oriented. Write it down, and tell somebody. That way, you’ve set yourself a clear target to aim towards, and if you start struggling, it’ll be easier to find the source of the problem and make the right adjustments. Here are some examples:
“I want to have reduced my debt by 50% by April 2019”
“I want to be able to pay a holiday in Summer 2020 without borrowing money”
“Every time i get a takeaway, I’m going to put £10 in my savings account”
“I’m going to keep my coffee budget under £15 a month for the next £6 months”
What are you waiting for? You’ve made a backup plan, and you now understand your finances a bit better. If you had to set just two goals, what would they be? Tell us, and we’ll share the best ideas with the community.