In our consumer driven world, it has become a rarity for people to live without debt. Certainly, in the UK, almost all adult citizens owe money to somebody. It might be credit card companies, universities, motor insurers, utility providers, or the banks.
Some also owe money to friends and family, either because they struggle to manage their spending or don’t make enough to support themselves. Whatever the cause, getting into debt is easy, but climbing back out can feel like an insurmountable challenge.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get your spending back on track and live a debt free life. It all starts with a simple step, action, or choice. So, why wait to sort out your finances? There’s no time like the present.
Check Your Benefits
The benefits system is changing. To make sure you’re ready, read up on the new rules and find out what you’re entitled to. Be prepared for a change in circumstances, as many families will now receive less support. Visit www.contactuniversalcredit.co.uk for information on the new system.
Say No to Additional Debts
When you’re already struggling, it can be tough to resist the lure of credit cards. However, they are one of the quickest ways to accumulate more debt. Wherever possible, try to avoid high interest lending. It’s much better to visit your bank and work out a manageable solution than it is to keep borrowing irresponsibly.
Write It All Down
One of the easiest ways to control spending is by keeping a comprehensive diary or journal of transactions. Try to write down everything you buy or pay for, so it’s obvious where the money goes. It’s handy to have a written record because it makes it easier to spot oddities, unnecessary splurges, and areas where you can make positive change.
Plan for the Future
For most, the descent into debt starts with an unexpected crisis. Your car or boiler might break down. Changes to your benefits could mean less cash in the bank each month. It happens to the best of us, but one way to prepare for it to put a small amount of money away each week. Even if it’s just a couple of pounds, it could make a big difference when life gets tough.
Be Proud of Your Restraint
When you make sensible decisions and find the strength to step away from unnecessary purchases, indulge in that sense of achievement. Financial restraint is something you should feel good about. Find low cost (or better yet, free) ways to reward yourself. Watch a favourite movie, take a long walk, do some yoga, or cook something exciting.
In the western world, we’ve come to equate spending with happiness. However, if you want to live a debt free life, you’ve got to break this unhealthy dependence. Look for pleasure in the little things.
Get outside more. Swap purchases for moments with friends and family. Make saving an organic and natural part of your life. The most successful way to save money is with small, progressive steps. It all begins with one smart choice.