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Budget Blast: Having Fun With Your Money

The world of finances can often be a very boring one for those who don’t know much about it. Counting beans and making sure you have enough of the stuff is the most important part of it all, though you will also need to make sure that you are saving for the future. This post isn’t about the drab side of your money, though, instead focusing on some ways to have a little bit of fun with it. Before starting, it’s worth considering moderation. These ideas are just for fun, and shouldn’t come before covering your other financial commitments.

Having fun with money - wallet money clip image
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Playing Games

The world of video games has been growing a lot over the last few decades. People across the world are enjoying digital experiences, and there are more games than ever before to sink your teeth into. Of course, though, there are some games which can be connected to your finances. Betting and gambling can be great fun when they are done in moderation, with the thrill of winning being a great way to make you think more about your finances. Tools like premiere league stats for betting can help you out with this, giving you a much better chance of winning the games you play.

Making Investments

While this next area is often seen as extremely serious, making investments can be a great way to have some fun with your cash. There are loads of businesses out there that need help with their general operations. Putting money into their pot will often give you a small chunk of the business, while also giving you an insight into the way they work. Even the process of choosing a company to invest in can be a lot of fun, and will almost feel like a game. Of course, it’s not worth putting serious money into something like this unless you plan to make something out of it, and this will be harder than simply having fun.

Moving Money

There are always loads of different types of bank account available in the modern world, and most people have to use at least one of them in daily life. Not a lot of people realise that these types of services are changing all the time, though. It can make sense to move your money around on a regular basis, choosing accounts based on the interest you’ll get back from them. Of course, though, you have to treat this like a game if you’re going to have fun with it. Applying for an account with a higher rate than you’ve had before will be a high score, while doing research will be the work which gets you there.

Having fun with money isn’t something which a lot of people realise is possible. It makes sense that people worry about this side of life, but this doesn’t mean that you should have to treat it like something which is only serious. Instead, by having fun with this part of your life, you can push yourself to learn more about it, while also making significant improvements in the process.

Managing Your Money – Small Beginnings, Big Changes

The concept is straightforward enough, you want to save a little each month and build up a fund that will be there for you to tap into in case of an emergency or that you can grow in order to get that house renovation done, a new car or the holiday of a lifetime.

But while, yes, it seems straightforward it appears that for some of us those good intentions of saving for the not-so-distant future are hard to turn into reality. But what is it that’s holding us back? What prevents us from saving for the things in life we really want? Perhaps it’s a lack of organisation, a problem that exists around our monthly budget or the fact that we always seem to find something better to spend our money on. 

If you’re looking to make some changes in the way you manage money then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’re taking a look at how you can get yourself organised in your monthly outgoings and manage to start saving for those big things in life that seem so far out of your reach just now.

Managing Your Money - Small Beginnings, Big Changes - coins growing in jars image
Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay

The Dreaded Spreadsheet

You knew it would come to this, but if the idea of inputting all your incomings and outgoings into a spreadsheet bores you to tears or fills you with dread, then there are some far more user-friendly options out there to help keep track of your money.

We’re talking, of course, about apps and one of the best out there at the moment is Mint. You’ll find it helps you to set a monthly budget, see exactly where your money’s being spent and with a free sign-up, it’s far more satisfying than pouring over that Excel spreadsheet each month.

But yes, despite the more modern approach you are still tracking your finances and this is exactly where you need to start. Give yourself a long-term goal and simply spend the first two or three months getting used to tracking your money so you can figure out some of your spending patterns. You don’t need to change anything at this stage, this is the data gathering part of the process.

Analysis

When you do go back and take a look at where your money goes, you’ll begin to see some patterns emerging. Perhaps you spend the majority of your money at the beginning of the month and, what with your bills leaving at the same time, you’re left with very little spare cash for the last two weeks before payday.

You’ll also see what you’re spending your money on. That latte bought on your way to work every morning has, over three months, mounted up to quite a cost. This kind of analysis is worth going through to help you make some judgements and changes over how you ration your budget.

Finally, you’ll also be able to see all the direct debits and standing orders that are attached to your account. That insurance for a long ago expired laptop that still goes out or the expensive gym membership that never gets used, it’s a good time to make some changes and to see if there are any cancellations that might help you out. It will also give you the opportunity to shift around the dates that direct debits leave your account if that’s going to help you plan a little better.

Prioritise

Once you’ve analysed your spending, it’s time for the action part of the plan to get started. You’ll need to get to the point where you start prioritising. This might mean that you ditch the latte habit completely or set aside a budget for it where that weekly purchase becomes a once or twice a week treat instead.

You might think about dividing your budget up into several pots, including bills, essentials such as food and entertainment, including socialising and of course luxuries such as that latte.

Once you’ve found a natural rhythm for your outgoings, you’ll be in a great position to then add savings to that list.

What to Spend Your Money On

Once your savings are on their way then you’ll be able to think about what you’re saving for. We can’t recommend enough clearing your debts as a first priority. Not only will it free up your money in the long term, it will also help to improve your credit score. If you’ve been asking yourself How can improve my credit score? Then this is the very best way to make those changes.

Get those debts paid down and enjoy greater financial freedom. What you’re saving for is, of course, entirely down to you, as is the amount you’re able to put aside each month. Some experts believe in following the 50/30/20 rule where 20% of your income will go into your savings pot, 50% on the necessities and 30% on discretionary items.

If this works for you and if you have a fixed monthly income, then this can be a great method. Another equally as valid, though slightly more flexible approach is to set up a sweeper account. In this version anything that’s left in your account the day before payday or at a date you specify is swept into your savings account. It allows for those unexpected expenses, like a broken boiler and recognises that some months the savings are going to be minimal while other months there might be a lot more.

However you save and whatever you’re saving for is your choice but your active decision to begin managing money should be applauded. The difference you’ll make to your account with regular saving will seem minimal at first but you’ll be surprised at how quickly that small pot can grow. The sense of satisfaction, not to mention security you’ll feel is worth the effort of getting your accounts in order. Download an app, go through the process and add an extra layer of security to your finances.

Smart Ways to Make Positive Changes in Your Budget

Looking to be a bit more sensible with your finances? Maybe you’re fed up of running out of money mid month- or perhaps you have a new savings goal that you want to reach. You might want to get out of debt, or even just feel more organised. Whatever your motives are, being organised with money is no bad thing- here are some smart ways you can go about making changes. 

Smart Ways to Make Positive Changes in Your Budget - in control of your finance image

Switch bill providers

The companies that you pay your bills to are highly competitive, meaning a little shopping around will snag you the best rates. Every year, run some quotes through price comparison sites, and switch to the company which will provide you with the best rates and overall price- it makes no sense to be loyal to the company you’re with as they make their money from their long term customers. While you’re always going to have to pay for things like electricity, broadband and insurances, you shouldn’t be paying over the odds. A few hours just once a year searching for the best providers can save you a decent amount of money overall. 

Meal plan

Food is one area that just about all of us tend to overspend on. We all need to eat, and so it’s something that everyone should be more organised in, once a week, write up a menu for the next few days and then shop to that list. When you get home from work you know what you’re having and always have the ingredients on hand to make it. You don’t end up buying what you don’t need at the supermarket and you reduce your food waste too. Go on sites like Pinterest and write a list of all of the meals you enjoy eating or want to try. Then when you’re building your menu each week, you can pick meals off the list rather than having to think off the top of your head (which can be harder than it sounds!)

Set a budget for extra or luxury spends

We all enjoy our little luxuries- when you work hard it’s these fun extras that make it all seem worth it. Maybe you enjoy going out for meals in nice restaurants, perhaps clothes are your thing or you might just enjoy a night at home every now and again with a glass of wine, a takeaway and a few dollars to flutter at a slots casino. We all have our little enjoyment and luxuries and it’s nice to have them, but just make sure you’re budgeting for them. Your bills, food, travel and other important expenses should be paid first on payday. It’s only then should you treat yourself to any extras, using money that’s leftover. It can be helpful to have a cap or limit on your treat spends, that way you don’t go overboard and can save anything you have afterwards and put it in a savings account. 

Set up extra sources of income

Even if you already have a full time job, it’s a smart move to set up additional streams of income. Blogging, freelancing, even a home business can generate extra cash- this can make your life easier financially, help towards your savings goals or contribute to paying off your debts depending on your situation. If you ever lose your job then you have at least a little something to fall back on while you look for something new, and it generally provides you with a bit more financial security. 

Sell what you no longer use

Most of us have new things coming into our home all the time, so decluttering needs to be an ongoing process. Not only is this good on a practical level (we can sell what we no longer use to raise money and make space for the things we do) but it’s also great for mental health and wellbeing. Being surrounded by clutter, mess and having a house packed to the rafters can create feelings of stress and unease- research even shows that a messy bedroom can cause sleep problems. Go through your cupboards, drawers, wardrobes and other areas of your life and sell anything that’s still good but that you don’t use any more. Put this money into a savings account or spend it on debt- either is a much better use than having it tied up in items that are simply sitting there collecting dust. 

The Most Cost Effective Way To Buy And Sell A Home

Buying a new house and selling your old one is not only a stressful process but it can also be a very expensive one too. Even though you are likely to be making some money off the house ‘you’re selling, there are still extra costs that you can easily forget about and may not have accounted for, and they all add up. 

The Most Cost Effective Way To Buy And Sell A Home - exchanging keys image
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Get The Most From Your Sale

The first thing you need to do to save money when buying and selling your house is to make sure you make as much money as you can from your house and make your house more valuable and get the best price for it. You can do this by decluttering your home but be careful not to depersonalise it. People need to be able to imagine what the property would look like if they were living there, so you need to make it easy for them to see all the fantastic living space ‘you’re offering them but leave some personality in there too. People are often buying into a lifestyle as much as a property, so show them the attractive side of your lifestyle. Once you have done that you could give your home a fresh lick of paint which will make your home seem lighter and bigger and will enable the potential buyers to imagine what they would do to the rooms for their needs. It will also be easier for the buyers to move in and use the rooms immediately if the walls are painted a neutral colour rather than in a bright pink or green. Also make any necessary minor repairs, any holes in walls, broken doorknobs, cracked tiles or torn carpets as people will want to move in and not have to fix things, so get it done for them so they can move in with ease. Then clean everything until it sparkles. Get rid of limescale, clean and repair tile grout, wax wooden floors, get rid of all odours, hang up fresh towels. This will make the place more appealing and allow viewers to imagine living there. Tidy up the garden too.

Be Aware Of Survey Costs

You will need a survey of your house and the house you are planning to buy, and there are three different types of survey that you can get; a Home condition survey which is a basic survey and consists of a visual inspection of the areas that are easy to see and is suitable for new-build and other modern homes. Then there is a ‘Homebuyer’s report, which is a more detailed survey and looks at the inside and outside of the property. It also includes a valuation. Finally, you could get a building or structural survey, which is the most comprehensive survey and mainly suitable for older buildings. The surveyor’s report may raise issues with the property and then ‘you’ll be able to consider whether you still want to go ahead or want to negotiate with the seller about the price. 

Take Your Home Online

Once the house is looking in tip-top shape, then ‘it’s time to look at different ways to sell it. Today, you can do this a lot cheaper by taking your home online. When people are looking to buy a house these days, where is it that they look first? A massive 95% of people look for their new property online, and both Rightmove and Zoopla are averaging over 180 million searches every month, so one of the best options is to look for an online estate agent to keep costs down.  

Choose The Right Lawyer

As mentioned, moving home can be very stressful, whether you are a first-time buyer or ‘you’re an expert and have been buying and selling for years, either way, ‘there’s still a lot to be done, and ‘you’ll need to choose the right legal team to help you too.  According to Keoghs, you should always shop around to find the solicitors that can offer you the expertise, experience and commitment that you need to support you throughout the process, with all fees and costs highlighted and outlined so that you receive a specialist, friendly and efficient service at all times.

Showing Your EPC

When you sell your house, you will need to show the buyer an Energy Performance Certificate to show how energy efficient your property is. To do this, you will have to pay for an accredited domestic energy assessor to come in and look at the loft insulation, the boiler, hot water tank, radiators, lights, windows for double glazing and how the building is ventilated and constructed. A certificate is valid for ten years, and you can usually get an estate agent to recommend one, however, if you have chosen not to use an estate agent then have a look online for recommendations and reviews from other people. If you look on Purple Bricks, their assessors charge £84 for this service. 

You’ll Also Need Insurance 

You will also need to take out buildings insurance to protect your new home against damage from fire, floods, subsidence and other unforeseen circumstance and natural disasters. While ‘you’re doing this, it might be a good idea to look at contents insurance for your possessions too. Like any other insurance, the cheapest option will be to go onto comparison sites and see ‘what’s best for you.  

Paying Stamp Duty

You need to remember that ‘you’ll have to pay Stamp Duty too if you are purchasing a property worth over £125,000. First-time buyers only pay on properties over £300,000 while those with second homes pay on property worth over £40,000. This is a rather significant sum of money, and many people add it to their mortgage.

Removal Costs

Finally, ‘don’t forget about the removal costs. Of course, you can do the moving yourself and pack up the car. Or one of the cheaper options is to hire a van and do it yourself, or if you ‘can’t do that, then a professional removal company will also be able to supply boxes, insure the items and provide temporary storage if there are any delays in the move. 

Chasing Your Dreams – The Unexpected Costs

According to various surveys nearly 50% of Americans harbor ambitions of starting their own business. Whether for a new career, a passionate cause or an income boosting side hustle – it pays to be aware of some of the unexpected costs of chasing your dreams.

The infographic from turbo.intuit.com below explains some of the costs of starting a business, which you may or may not have considered.