This is another of those articles in the should I or should I not category, decided that not only should I publish it, but that it would be better as a standalone article, enabling me to create an article on learning to budget your finances in greater depth than my normal article.
It is fair to say, that in the majority of cases, at sometime in our lives we have all struggled financially some, unfortunately, often through no fault of their own, struggle all the time. This article is aimed at those who wish to make it easier to cope with their finances, or those who through no fault of their own are facing hard times financially.
Making a Start
Not Enough Cash to go Round?
As I mentioned in the introduction, unless we are very lucky, there are times in our lives when, for whatever reason we all struggle financially.
With great respect and humility, I would suggest that now, that more people will find themselves struggling, than possibly since the Second World War due to this virus which is sweeping the world. So it is hoped that this article may give us all some idea how we can cope, both during the crisis and once the pandemic is over.
It is a fact that a significant challenge is posed in our lives when we lack financial security or resources. If you do not have sufficient income to cover your monthly outgoings, or bills which you were not expecting or had forgotten, places a strain on your savings, not only does this cause stress, but it can lead to a number of negative outcomes in your life.
When we were scammed and lost our entire bank account, including our savings account. To say that we were devastated is putting things mildly. Fortunately, I think that is the right word, we had been there before, when a partner ripped me off to some £37,000, did get back on our feet, but eventually we did lose the house and moved away.
What we did to combat the scammer thieving and how we coped with it are loosely detailed in this article, along with some other thoughts.
It is a fact that financial problems whether they are due to poor planning, spending money that you cannot afford too, losing your job, unplanned for expenses and now the lock down, having to deal with these problems and learning how to deal with them is actually quite an important skill.
Below I have detailed some ideas which might help you to deal with having insufficient funds to get by.
You Must reduce Your Expenses Immediately
When we were scammed the first thing that I did was speak to the Bank, not just about I want my money back, but how could we cope until we did.
We had always cleared our main Bank credit card each month, it was suggested that we instead pay the minimum amount needed each month. I was not happy, as it would increase the interest charges, but it would release some much-needed cash. Should explain here that we have two Bank Accounts, my service pension goes into the other one, it only retains a very small amount of money.
The next thing that I did was to draw up, on an excel spread sheet all our known out goings. Council Tax, Gas, Electric, Insurance other such items that up until then had been part and parcel of a normal existence.
We spread the load, at the time we were always able to pay all our bills up front. This changed things, car tax and insurance became monthly. The pet insurance for the dog was canceled. Council Tax paid in full in three months become monthly and so it went on. Guess what we survived, we no longer went out for the odd meal, or shopped at the best shops, we really tightened our belts.
This worked so well that when our money was finally returned after some twenty-one months, our current account was as healthy as when we had been scammed, if not healthier, so in effect the returning funds doubled our current account.
Try to Increase Your Income
This is not as daft as it seems, can you do some overtime at work, get a part-time job, does your partner work, if not can he/she get something to help out.
Being retired, I looked at the internet, where I still am today, I just love it, joined Wealthy Affiliate, the companionship is really great and helps to get you through the darkest days, you can also make money.
At the end of the day every little helps.
Speak With Your Creditors
Whilst I did cover how we coped with this, with regard to credit cards in the previous section, am going to mention some factors that did not apply to us, but will certainly apply to others, who have a problem with their finances.
Do you have a mortgage? if so you must speak to the Bank or Building Society as soon as the problem occurs, they might be able to suggest a way to help you, such as extending the term, reducing the payment or even the interest rates for a short while. Is your car or cars on finance, if so again speak to the loan companies. Most would prefer an offer of something rather than nothing, with the resultant problems associated with recovering the debt or the car.
You Must Create A Budget
Not only must you create a budget that you can live within, but you must track and keep a check on everything that you spend. I am terrible at using my credit card for small things, forgetting that I have done so, then I wonder why the bill at the end of the month is so high. Yet it is a simple matter to keep my receipts from the purchase.
You cannot watch what you spend if you do not keep a check on your outgoings, it also helps if you look at these figures say every week, that way you can see if you need to adjust your budget as you are spending too much on what I call luxury items. These include alcohol, tobacco, nights out, cakes and sweets. If they are not needed until you get back on your feet then ditch the expense. Some items you may not even return to buying or even using, this of course will increase your savings when things get better.
You Must Focus On Your Priorities
It is a fact that if we are to survive, then we need food, water, shelter and good health, love would be nice to add in as well, but I have to accept that people can survive without it. Whatever else we have in our lives is a bonus. It does not matter but the hard facts are that buying things will not necessarily make you happy in the long run. No doubt buying things could have got you into the financial mess that you find yourself in, in the first place.
You must take a sheet of paper and write down the most important goals in your life, then, and this is very important, identify every expense that you really have got to have. (I am including here rent, mortgage, car, the essentials NOT going for a pint with your friends.)
After these expenses are deducted, if you have anything left over, these MUST go toward paying off your debts, or into a savings account. If you are having financial problems then nothing else, just focus on the important things in life, survival and getting out of the hole that you find yourself in.
At times I found this very hard to write, in fact it has taken me a number of weeks to do so. It brought back a number of times in my life which I would prefer to forget, but on reflection, through hard work and perseverance, thanks also to my fantastic wife, we have got there.
It is strange, but we still have not had a holiday for a long time, why? It would cost money! We are content and that is what matters most in life.
We might have our money back, but we have set a target of reaching a certain sum before we can treat ourselves again. Daft possibly, but having done without for so long, we can wait a little longer, we do have the odd bottle of wine and box of chocolates as a treat.
Do so hope that you enjoyed this article, and if needed, that it has helped you with any financial problems that you might have.
Please do leave any comments below, we so value both them and the time that it takes you to write them.
In these uncertain times I hope and pray that you and your loved ones stay safe.
The next article will be a special extra one on “A Way to Build a List”
Be Happy Healthy and Wealthy