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Financial management

Getting your finances in order is on everyone's to-do list - albeit floating permanently near the bottom because, let's face it, it's not very exciting. And who knows what horrors you might discover once you start looking? But that's the point - the sooner you get a feel for the state of the nation, the sooner you can head off any problems, or start making realistic plans for the future.

You don't have to start addressing the great big daunting things - begin with the little things and see what happens.

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Money coming in

While you're working out a budget, the most important thing to calculate is how much money you have coming in. This is usually the combined salary of everyone in the house, plus any benefits you might be getting, plus interest on savings and investments. Once you've worked this out, you know what you have to play with.

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Money going out

Next comes the tricky bit. Working out what you're spending each month. The big things will be your mortgage or rent, groceries, utilities, childcare, and commuting. But it's important to be realistic about how much you're spending on other little things too - like your daily coffee on the way into work, takeaways and generally having fun.

What's the difference?

Once you have all your figures, it's simply a case of working out the difference between the money coming in and the money going out. If you're spending less than you're earning, brilliant. You can put something away. But if you're spending more than you're earning, you've got a problem. Something has to give or you're in danger of getting into financial trouble. Try our budget planner and see how your finances shape up.

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Boost your income

If your outgoings outweight the money you have coming in, one solution is to try to boost your income. Getting a higher paid or second job, increasing your hours or negotiating a pay rise are all ways to boost your income, but they'e easier said than done. You could think about ways to make some extra money in your free time - either from home or online.

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Reduce your outgoings

The easiest way to balance the books is to reduce your outgoings. Think about consolidating any debts you have, looking for cheaper utility providers, switching your mortgage, cutting back on life's little luxuries and being more careful with your money. If you're an existing first direct customer, we'd be more than happy to talk to you about your finances (it's kind of our thing) so either give us a call on 03 456 100 189 or send us a message using our secure messaging service and we'll give you a call back.

Want to know more?

Budgeting's one thing but how do you start saving? Continue reading to find out how.

Learn about ways to save