Life in the Finance Lane

One of my favourite stories as a child was The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, written by a very clever man called Clive Lewis (you probably know him as C.S. Lewis). Anyway, I once read a quote from Mr Lewis that went something along the lines of realising that, having left his 20s and entered his 30s, he was forced to come to terms with the fact that he was a walking talking adult. For me, that milestone age is fast approaching. I can’t ever see myself changing that much (there is another famous quote – I forget who said it – about only doing more of what you already know and love as you progress into your 30s, and not really adopting new interests), but I do think that my growing desire to succeed in life will force me to become a better decision maker, and ultimately become much better at handling my finances.

Budget Calculator

Make a list and check it twice and reconsider your purchases. All great advice. But slightly vague. A budget calculator spits out actual numbers. How much do you earn? What are your outgoings? How much would you ideally like to save each month? This website offers a free budget calculator. Now, I know how scary it can be to plough your most closely guarded financial information into a calculator and have it tell you how broke you are. You don’t need to tell me about avoiding checking your banking app in the run up to payday. But understanding your disposable income and seeing how much more money you could easily save each month is an eye opener that will start you on the path to financial mastery.

Pay Direct into Your Savings

You may have already looked into savings accounts – and you may have become instantly confused. There are so many options for savings and investments that sometimes it feels like you need to take a university course just to know where to begin. Nevertheless, the important thing is to begin. Saving, that is. The easiest way to start saving today is to open a savings account with your bank. The interest rate may not be the absolute best rate going, but usually we’re talking fine margins. The benefit of opening a savings account with your bank is the ease with which you can link your bank account – meaning you can set up a direct debit to pay in a small amount each payday.

Hard Cash – Save a Denomination

You might already know someone who does this. And you might think it sounds a little silly, and almost like you won’t stick to it. But I tried it and it really works. Here’s how you do it. First, you choose a denomination. It could be a coin or a note. Small or large (but probably the smaller the better). Every time you are handed this coin/note in your change, save it. Seriously, I know a guy who saved enough to buy a new biker jacket inside a year just from keeping the shrapnel from his daily coffees and lunches to one side. Impressive.

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