Financial difficulties can impact on all areas of your life. If they are not jumped upon immediately, they can spiral, causing you to lose everything. However, there are many things you can do to try to reduce the risk of ending up in that place to start with. Continue reading for our top tips.
The word budgeting may make your brain think of the US TV shows where stay at home moms collect thousands of coupons to buy seven trolleys' worth of food for just $5. It can include that, but you don't need to be that extreme. Simply sitting down with your partner, if you have one, and going through income and expenditure is essential. Work out where unnecessary spending is occurring and try to cut that back. If lots is cash being withdrawn from the bank and you are not sure what it is being spent on, try keeping all receipts for a month and analyzing your spending at the end of that. It can be enlightening.
We often hear of parents going to extreme lengths when trying to encourage their family members to get on board with saving money by trying own brand products rather than the big brands. Swapping labels and decanting food into alternative containers are just two ways. However, it is not simply groceries that can be swapped to make savings. Try looking at your utility bills and whether you can make savings by choosing different providers. TV companies, such as Sky, may also be receptive to your situation if you explain that you are struggling to afford the current package. It does no harm to see if there are any offers available to you. The same goes for your mobile phone billing.
If your annual holiday involves going to an expensive resort abroad, try to investigate your options closer to home. Not only can you save on the costs of the flight, accommodation could be cheaper too. There is so much to explore within the UK, like Nottingham, that you could surprise yourselves by having more fun and getting more for your money. Try to avoid eating out every night and cater for yourselves every now and then.
In the UK, we are lucky to rely on the NHS for healthcare. However, not everyone has that option. In the US, for example, taking out an insurance package such as Mutual of Omaha Medicare can prevent massive, unaffordable expenses should the policy holder fall ill or be involved in an accident. Although healthcare may be free because of the taxes we pay, it is also advisable to consider what would happen should you fall seriously ill and be unable to work. Critical illness cover is one way of ensuring your mortgage payments would be paid while you are incapable of doing so.
Teach your kids the value of money"Dad, can I have a new game?" We all know those pleas for expensive toys, games or even just the money itself for going out. If children aren't taught from an early age that things cannot simply be bought on a whim and that they have to be earnt, not only will your children be spoilt, you will end up splashing out far too often than necessary. Providing pocket money in exchange for helping around the house or encouraging them to help out with tasks, such as washing the car, can help instil this value into your offspring.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist