Here is a very quick “off the top of my head” checklist to go through to see if you are in control of your money. There are obviously many factors to look at, but here are some very basic questions to ask yourself.
- How much have you spent on your credit card this month?
- What is your current bank balance?
- Do you have a personal budget?
Perhaps you feel that you know what you’re doing with your money, so why would these things matter? Let’s think about these questions a bit more.
How much have you spent on your credit card this month?
If you don’t know how much you have spent on your card (or multiple cards) this month then there is a serious problem! How do you know that you are within your budget? How do you know whether you can actually afford whatever it is you wish to buy?
It is really important to know how much you have spent on your card at any point in time as this will enable you to make informed decisions regarding your spending.
Most banks offer online banking or apps that will let you quickly see your balance. Why not get into the habit of starting the day by checking the balance so that you know exactly where you’re at. You can also take the 30 day challenge to track your expenses each day so that you can work out what your spending habits are.
What is your current bank balance?
It is very easy to keep track of your bank account. If you don’t already have a list of the debit orders that are automatically paid from your account, make one now. The date, the amount and what it is for. You should know when money is paid into your account (unless it’s a surprise gift) and thus you should have an idea all the time of what your balance should be.
When you actually check your statement, if things are not what you thought then double check the income you received as well as all the debit orders and other expenses. It is not uncommon for companies to increase fees without proper communication and you may find that your insurance or other contract has increased. If that’s the case then investigate it.
As with your credit card, you need to know what is in your bank account in order to make informed decisions about spending and saving. Seems pretty obvious does it not?
Do you have a personal budget?
If you don’t have a budget then have a look at how you can create a simple budget. Let’s be clear though that if you don’t have a budget then you are definitely not in control of your money. You will find that circumstances and other people are really in control of when and how much you spend. Think about that for a while and then calculate your financial health.
Set a reminder on your phone for 7 days from now and revisit these questions.
And now is a great time to follow through to the 5 habits to improve your financial health!