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Why not make 2012 the year your finances work for you? If 2011 proved not to be your most money-savvy year, there’s no need to start the next 12 months feeling glum. In fact, there’s every reason to re-think the way you manage your money and take charge for the year ahead.
Taking a fresh look at your financial habits could make all the difference: looking at which good financial habits you should keep, which ones you should take up, and which decisions you’ve made in the past that should certainly be left behind with it!
Let’s look at some ideas for getting to grips with your money - which could help to make your coffers healthy and wealthy in the future.
Good planning is the key to good finances: knowing what shape your money’s in, how it’s spent and what it will be spent on should be some of the main starting points for any financial review.
Drawing up a basic budget is important. Work out exactly how much income you get every month, your total outgoings (make generous estimations if necessary), and what ‘spending’ money you have available. You could use bank statements and receipts to help you do this - and a simple pen and notepad could help you to draw up a financial plan for the coming months.
If you’ve had trouble remembering payments for things like bills in the past, set reminders or highlight them on a calendar. Setting up Direct Debits or standing orders for regular payments could also be a handy way of automatically organising your finances and keeping on top of the ‘essentials‘.
If you’ve recently got married, moved in with your partner or are in a long-term relationship, you may decide that opening a joint bank account is an important next step.
You may decide it makes sense to combine your finances with a joint bank account, which could make budgeting for all your shared costs - mortgage/rent, bills, food, tax, etc. - easier. There are many possible joint benefits to opening an account together: as well as a mark of trust and commitment to each other, it could also help you to budget and work out how to spend any ‘spare’ cash you have left over.
If this is something you could be interested in, you can find further information about a joint bank account here.
Remember, you don’t have to deal with your finances alone. If you feel a bit of guidance and advice is what you need, or you want the confidentiality and peace of mind that only a professional could offer, there are many professional companies out there who could help you.
Don’t hesitate to speak to a professional adviser - and begin a fresh start with your finances sooner rather than later.