Make positive financial changes in 2018

It’s a new year, the perfect time to examine your finances. Margaret O’Neill, Co-ordinator of Cork MABS, shares some tips for a fresh financial start in 2018 and how to make positive changes
Make positive financial changes in 2018
DO THE SUMS: Make a list of all the important outgoings in your household.

EVERY year we seem to say “this year is going to be different I’m going to...”

In an ideal world it all sounds so easy but we all know it’s never as easy as it sounds to break habits of a lifetime and take positive action for change.

However, we all aim to be organised and have less stress in our lives!

So here are some useful tips to help you on your way.

The New Year heralds new beginnings and the best of intentions to get things right. We all have lots of demands on our income: keeping the roof over our heads, food on the table, a warm home and clothes on our backs to keep out the cold.

MABS has some useful tips for you this year and to avoid stress and strain!

MAKE A LIST OF ALL THE IMPORTANT ITEMS

Make a list of everything that you need. Use headings: Mortgage/Rent, Gas/electricity, food, Transport/Home Insurance, Sat TV, Family Event (Communion/Confirmation), Back to School, Holidays, and Christmas etc. It all sounds a bit daunting!

However, take solace, these expenses are common to everyone and with some careful planning it will be less frightening and much more manageable.

PRIORITISE

Look at your list — now prioritise, identify what is more important. Remember the roof over your head; heat/light and food come first. Everything else comes after these essential items.

CREATE A BUDGET

If you are paid weekly and some of your large expense items are monthly, consider what works best for you a weekly or monthly budget. If weekly suits you best, break down your costs into weekly amounts remember there are 52 weeks each calendar year (not 48).

NOW PUT MONEY AWAY

You could use “tins/envelopes clearly marked with gas/electricity, mortgage/rent etc.

Decide what works best for you. However, if you think you will be tempted to dip in don’t risk it. Set up a “Budget Account” in your local Credit Union and arrange regular payments.

If you are paid through a bank, consider setting up a separate account to cover regular expenses and transfer the total amount in there each week/month. That way you won’t be tempted to spend money you don’t have and will avoid an overdraft and the associated bank charges.


SHOP SMART

Do a regular weekly/monthly “big shop” for groceries. Check the food and household items storage cupboards before shopping to avoid duplication. Don’t be tempted by special offers. Remember they are only “savings” if you really need them. Stay away from the local shop if possible as it is likely you will overspend. That loaf of bread or bottle of milk could end up costing you €10 as you are likely to pick up non- essential items while there.

BACK TO SCHOOL

It seems the school year comes around so fast — so plan for it. Remember that budget you prepared, use it, set a little aside each week/month to spread the cost and to avoid the stress and strain it can bring in the lead up to the school year.

MEDICAL EXPENSES

Take note, that some dental treatments have recently been re-introduced so will help to reduce your medical expenses. Check out the full details at www.citizensinformation.ie

PLANNING FOR NEXT CHRISTMAS

Christmas happens every year again plan for it, as we said you can never be too early. From January start saving a regular amount each week or month in a bank or credit union — somewhere you cannot access this money easily.

Why not start a savings club with a shop or with a group of friends or neighbours. Or, if you are a member of a loyalty scheme with a supermarket, you could carry-over the vouchers until the November mailing and use them for Christmas grocery shopping.

Chat to your friends for more ideas on ways to save and remember — more savings = less borrowings = less stress = more enjoyment!

CONTACT MABS

CORK MABS advisors are available to meet with you free of charge Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

CORK MABS are located at 101 North Main Street Cork.

Contact them on 0761 07 2090. Also check out the handy budgeting tools available on the MABS website at: www.mabs.ie

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