budgeting

HIGHLIGHTS: Finances Audit Questionnaire

One of the easiest ways to do a life audit is to just ask yourself ten questions for each area of your life and then give yourself a score to find out how to rate yourself.

 

Below I’ve outlined ten questions for your finances life area so you can easily assess where you’re currently at – simply give yourself a score out of ten for each question with one being awful and ten being excellent, with no room for improvement.

 

Finances

 

  1. Do you have financial goals? (i.e. pay off debt, save for holiday, join a pension scheme?)
  2. Have you achieved any of your financial goals in the past?
  3. Do you have a monthly budget and do you stick to it?
  4. Do you have enough money to pay your bills?
  5. Do you frequently spend more than you make? (Reverse scoring: 1 = always overspend 10 = never overspend)
  6. Do you have debt and are you paying it off?
  7. Do you have at least six months worth of living costs saved up as an emergency fund? (Scoring: no savings = 1, one month = 2, two months = 3, loads of savings = 10)
  8. Do you earn enough money to save?
  9. Do you have a pension you contribute to?
  10. Do you think you use your money wisely for the future?

 

Now add up your total score. Below is the scoring key:

 

1-10       =             1 mark out of 10 (poor)

11-20     =             2 marks out of 10

21-30     =             3 marks out of 10

31-40     =             4 marks out of 10

41-50     =             5 marks out of 10

51-60     =             6 marks out of 10

61-70     =             7 marks out of 10

71-80     =             8 marks out of 10

81-90     =             9 marks out of 10

91-100   =             10 marks out of 10 (amazing)

 

Crystal Clear Questions

 

Answering the following questions will help you to get crystal clear on what a perfect ten score for your work would look like in reality.

 

Have you checked what your credit score is and if not have you considered finding out through Experion? Once you know your credit score you could seek advice on how to improve your rating!

 

Do you have a monthly budget for the upcoming year? Do you have financial goals for the upcoming year? If not to either I would highly recommend doing so in order to gain forward momentum and direction with regards to your finances.

 

Do you know where your money goes each month and if not have you considered recording your spending?

 

Do you struggle to stick to your budget and if so have you considered working with cash only and placing money into labeled envelopes each month to eliminate over spending?

 

Are you satisfied you are saving enough and using your money wisely? Do you have a budget and do you stick to it? Did you find the questionnaire helpful? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.

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When you have substantial equity, such as a house, that you could base your borrowing on, it is seriously tempting to re-mortgage. But ask yourself this. If you didn’t have the money for a bigger mortgage before, how come you do now? And do you honestly, really have the money now?

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Why having credit cards that you don’t use harms your credit score

Did you know that by owning a credit card and not using it, your credit score gets worse? When you think about it, it makes sense, after all, if the credit is not being used there is no opportunity to see if you repay it promptly, thereby handling debt responsibly and gaining a higher score.

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Why spending could be damaging your dreams; How to create a budget that supports your life goals Part Four

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we examined how to cut back on spending and create a life goals budget, this week we look at how to create a monthly savings budget, how to budget with cash envelopes and explore how to evaluate your earnings strategically.

 

Download “Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb” Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb – Downloaded 199 times – 17 KB

 

Monthly savings budget – five year plan

 

Now plan how you are going to allocate your savings to your goals each month, using the life goals budget as guidance to when you will start saving and for how long. Also bare in mind when the goal is due to be completed and take into account the more minor things you will need to save for like birthdays, anniversaries or Christmas. This is the stage where you will clearly see how you are able to realize your goals financially and it is an incredibly powerful exercise, one which will empower you to create the life you long for!

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How to boost your credit score (and why you’ll be glad you did)

I recently checked my credit score and, after it being bad as recent as one year ago, it is now classed as excellent. The entire reason for the transformation was that I took out a credit card. I know, I know, it can be a risky thing to do, but I limited the risk by getting a very low credit limit. Most importantly (and I can’t stress this enough) I only used it to buy things I already had the money for. I simply paid by credit card and then immediately paid off the balance – not leaving myself in debt for more than a few days at a time. If you know you have the discipline to do this (and only if you’re confident you do) this is an extremely effective way to make your credit rating healthy again.

 

In the UK registering to vote raises your credit score, as does being at the same address for a long period, having the same bank account for a long period and obviously paying all debt on time and in full (and that goes for mobile phone bills too). Remember, in the UK, if you live in shared accommodation your credit score is also effected by the credit rating of those you live with – so choose your housemates carefully!

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How to check your credit score (and why it’s important)

I recently got my credit score from Doddle, a UK based site which offers the service for free. The reason I did so was because in the next few years I aim to buy a house with my boyfriend and I wanted to be as proactive as I could in making sure I had the best possible chance of securing the mortgage I needed. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that although there is always room for improvement, it is very healthy.

 

I would encourage absolutely everyone to get their credit rating, which you can now actually do for free. Of course, if your credit score is bad, such credit score sites offer an inexpensive service that tells you how to get your rating healthy again. Although this does cost a small amount of money the service is invaluable and well worth doing if you have a bad rating or are looking to buy a house or take out credit in the near future.

 

To get your free credit report please click on the links below. Remember ignorance is only bliss so long as you don’t realize the hard way you were ignorant (like getting rejected for a car loan or mortgage for example).

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Why paying off debt before saving is essential

The problem with debt is that often the interest on it is high – really high! In order to become financially healthy we must first pay off all loans and credit card debt. The only exception to this is with mortgages and car leases, which are ongoing costs (unless you are in arrears, in which case pay these off first too).

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Budgeting in action: open three instant savings accounts and name them after your goals

Now that you have a brand spanking new budget what better than to organize your savings by opening three new instant savings accounts to celebrate? This will allow you to keep track of how much you have saved up for each goal and means that you won’t ever get the purpose of which monies are for which goals confused and thereby leaving you short changed for completing a goal.

 

I personally have five savings accounts and they are named:

 

  1. Car Savings (for my insurance, MOT, services and maintenance)
  2. Peter Trip (money to see my boyfriend as we live long distance)
  3. America
  4. South Africa
  5. Website (stay tuned – they’ll be a big redesign next year!)

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Budgeting in action: Finish your life goals budget

Please download Accessible Psychology’s ‘Financial Budgeting Spreadsheet’ below, to take part in today’s exercise:

 

Download “Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb” Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb – Downloaded 199 times – 17 KB

 

Life Goals Budget, Part Two
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Budgeting in action: do the ‘Monthly Savings Budget – Five Year Plan’

Please download Accessible Psychology’s ‘Financial Budgeting Spreadsheet’ below, to take part in today’s exercise:

 

Download “Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb” Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb – Downloaded 199 times – 17 KB

 

Monthly Savings Budget – Five Year Plan

 

Now you have how much each of your three goals will cost in terms of money you can incorporate this information into your ‘Monthly Savings Budget – Five Year Plan’.

 

First of all, check that the amount you find in the ‘Total Monthly Savings’ column matches the amount in the Monthly Expenses and Savings Sheet – specifically the ‘Budgeted’ ‘Total Monthly Savings’ cell. If it does you can skip the technical bit!

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