FAQ Friday: A step-by-step guide to managing your finances

April 16, 2021

Every Friday, we share the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) from the hundreds of consumers who contact us each week. This week we take a look at the steps you can take to help manage your money.

Knowing where to start can be difficult. From how to make a household budget, to picking the right savings account for you, money management can sometimes seem like an overwhelming task. Here is a step-by step guide with some top tips, to help get you started:

Start budgeting: Taking the first step toward sorting your personal finances can be scary, especially if you’re not sure where to begin. One of the simplest ways to start managing your money better is to create a household budget. To help you get started, our budget planner is an easy online tool that, with only a few clicks, will show you all your regular income and expenses.

Cutting costs: Has your daily coffee fix become a twice daily fix? Are you a regular online shopper? To show you what you are spending every month on items that you might not really think about, or budget for, try our spending calculator. This will help you figure out where you can cut back, and what you can cut out, to help you save a little extra.

Make a savings plan: Once you’ve established how much you can afford to save, you might consider setting up a savings account. There is a better chance that you will keep to your savings plan if you have a separate savings account and set up a monthly direct debit.  Our savings Money Tool will help you compare interest rates as well as other benefits on savings accounts from all the main financial providers.

Limit your credit card spending: Try not to use your credit card to cover your day to day expenses unless you can pay your credit card bill in full each month. The temptation can be to only pay off the minimum balance on your credit card each month, which will cost you a lot in interest and could mean it takes you several years to pay off a large balance.

Manage credit card debt: Start by figuring out how much you can pay each month. It is important that you pay as much as you can afford, and not just the minimum repayment. By paying more than the minimum repayment, by even a small amount, will reduce the time it takes you to clear your debt and will save you money in interest. Our free credit card calculator will show you how long it will take you to clear your debt.

For example

If you have credit card debt of €1,000 and the interest rate – known as APR – on your card is 17%, it will take you two years to clear your debt if you pay off €50 a month and you stop using the card completely. It will also show how, if you increase your repayments to €100 per month, you could clear your balance in 11 months. So, the debt is paid off 13 months earlier and you save in interest repayments.

Check out if switching could save you money: Have you checked to see if you are availing of the best interest rates and benefits on the market when it comes to your current account, savings account and mortgage? If not, it could pay to switch. Check out our credit card comparison tool to see what’s on offer across all the main financial providers, with only a few simple clicks!

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