Get hold of your finances

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We don’t intend to make your life miserable; however, we have to be frank. Living beyond your means is definitely not the right way to handle your finances. Not even if your bank recently increased your credit card limit. Life is not without its sacrifices, sometimes we have to work harder to reach our goals. You need to plan your expenses. It’s as simple as that.

Set aside one hour this week to see where your money goes. You can use our simple budget calculator to help you work out your daily/weekly/monthly/yearly income and spending. Then once you know how much money you’ve got left (or not) you’ll be in a better position to plan ahead.

Try keeping a spending diary for some time and keep a note of what you spend and where you spend it each day. You will probably notice that you are spending your money on a lot of things that you can actually do without. A few cents here and a few euros there can all add up. Then see where you can make savings by cutting back on a few things you don’t really need.


Setting up direct debits for payments like utility bills or credit cards can help you budget better and help avoid late-payment charges. But make sure there’s enough money in your account to cover them, otherwise you will be charged by your bank. Check if your bank offers internet banking services through which you can easily monitor your transactions.

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Get into the habit of going through your account statements and check what money is going in and out of your account. Review your standing orders and direct debits. Check you are not paying for any unwanted services. Perhaps you were given a free introductory offer but now you are paying the full price. Are you paying for a membership or subscription that you no longer want or need? If you are thinking about cancelling insurance to make savings, consider how you’d cope if things were to go wrong. If you cancel your endowment policy or retirement plan before maturity, you will barely get back the premiums paid.
  

If you currently tend to buy on impulse then get into the habit of shopping around. You can shop around for almost anything, starting from groceries and clothes up to bank accounts, loans, credit and debit cards etc. There is lots of information available including product brochures, websites, and comparative tables . Start by having a look at our comparative tables to evaluate the fees and charges levied by banks in Malta for their services.

Many consumers are avid on-line shoppers. Shopping online is positive. Three cheers for competition and more choice! However, don’t be a binge on-line shopper. Be careful with whom you are dealing with on the internet. There are a good number of reliable, bona fide websites but there are others which, unbeknown to potential shoppers, are scams. If in doubt, stick to renowned online retailers.

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Check if you can save money by changing your payment method. Many companies offer discounts when you pay by direct debit instead of cheque or cash. Check with stores if they offer in house store cards or loyalty cards which may entitle you for some discounts when you purchase from their outlets frequently. Always check the terms and conditions before committing yourself to such schemes.

If you plan to get a loan make sure its the best deal available to you. If you have debt in more than one place, compare the different rates that you are paying and then shop around for the lowest Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The APR takes into account the interest rates applied, fixed or variable, and any additional costs payable to the lender. The borrower can use the APR calculator on MyMoneybox to compare fees and charges for loans and advances applied by banks in Malta.

Don’t worry if you don’t manage all of these resolutions in one go, just choose a couple to start off with and see how things go.

Even small steps can make a difference.



Last updated: Sep 07, 2016

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