Head’s up: If in the unlikely case you’re reading this as a 50+ year old, with a lovely semi-detached and a secure pension plan; this may not be the post for you.
If however you’re a millennial that has a house to rent and dresses to buy, here are some (very) basic financial tips. I say basic, because I know nothing about stocks and shares, but sometimes it’s good just to have a dose of common sense.
- I actually cannot believe I have to include this on the list; it seems too obvious. However the number of people I know that need to apply this is beyond measure, so here goes. If you lose a bank card/pin number etc, get off your arse, get to the bank and sort it. Seriously, a trip to town in the rain might seem like a hassle, but in the long run it’s a lot easier than finding a mate to buy things for you on the premise you transfer the money, every single time you need a new outfit or pint of milk. Shocking, I know.
- Set up regular direct debits, for just after pay day. This might seem a bit rich, given I’m writing a post on finances, but I don’t really know the exact amount my car/insurance/phone cost per month. I have a vague idea, if I really sit down and think about it. What I do know is that they all come out the week after pay day, and whatever’s left after that is all for fun stuff (basically shoes.) Easy? Yes. Lazy? Meh, probably.
- Face the hard truth: If you haven’t been to the gym in 3 months, you ain’t gonna go. I know, you mean to go, you’re busy. But is faking an interest in weights really worth £70+ a month? Honestly?
- Spend ten minutes on Google checking tax brackets, and five minutes a month looking over your pay slip. Trust me on this one, your boss might be the most organised, professional person ever to have graced our planet – but everyone makes mistakes at some point. It’s up to you to make sure you are getting paid what you agreed, don’t just sit back and wait for the tax-rebate that might never come.
- Don’t feel pressured into lending people money. OK, so helping a friend out every once in a while is a given – but if it’s becoming a regular feature of the relationship you’ve got to learn to say no. And if you are going to give them another loan – make sure they’ve paid back all previous ones before you transfer the cash. It will probably be awkward, hard and may even cause an argument (if the person in question is a totally douche bag) but you are not their personal bank. You’ve got to manage your money, and they have got to manage theirs, simple as.
- Before signing up for a monthly plan – think about the long term cost. £30 quid here or there to make something slightly more convenient can easily add up to a holiday. A few more TV channels to ignore whilst you play on your phone or an all-inclusive jaunt to the Mediterranean? Take your pick.
- Get an ISA… Don’t we sound all grown up? But seriously, it’s a lot less tempting to dip into your savings when the grumpy woman at the bank tells you you’ve got to give 40 days’ notice before withdrawing anything.
- If you’re already in debt, it can be a stressful place. So start off by stalking pinterest boards all about facing the fear and taking control – now you’re in the right mind-set, go and get it sorted. Even small steps like visiting the Money Advice Service can help open up your options and make you fell more in control.
- “Just don’t spend more than you’ve bloody got” – Dad, since 1992.