Often in life we get caught out due to poor planning. We pay more for flights because we book our summer holidays last minute, or we pay through the nose for lunch every day because we fail to prepare our meals.
Yes, it can be refreshing to live with spontaneity at times. However, repeatedly doing this where your finances are concerned is likely to cost you in the long-run.
Throughout this article, we’re going to break down some important measures you can put in place to help save money through simply financial planning.
Short-Term Financial Planning
There are several things that you can do in the short-term (maybe even today) to save yourself money.
As I mentioned above, buying lunch from the nearest supermarket or café can be expensive. By preparing your meals in advance using the foods you have in the house, you could find yourself saving a decent sum of cash over the course of the month.
An important part of short-term financial planning is learning about yourself. Create a monthly budget and identify areas where you’re overspending every month. Are you making too many small impulse purchases? Do you pay for subscriptions that you no longer use? Whatever it is, creating a monthly budget will provide you with the ultimate framework to take action in the medium and long-term.
Medium-Term Financial Planning
In this section, we’ll discuss how you can plan for the next 1-6 months to save money.
If you’ve got a car, then you may find that there are some potentially hefty costs just around the corner that you need to plan for.
If your insurance is due for renewal in the next few months, it may be worth starting to put some money away each month so that you can pay it in full rather than monthly. According to This Is Money, paying for car insurance in monthly instalments can cost 11% more than paying in-full. With the rising cost of car insurance this could equal £50 – £100 over the course of the year, depending on the cost of your premiums.
Another trick to save money in the medium-term is creating a birthday calendar. We’ve all been in that situation where three family birthdays fall in the same month. Not only are you rushing around at the last minute trying to find suitable gifts, but you’re also putting yourself at risk of overspending that month. Creating a calendar that holds all the birthdays of your loved ones will help you to plan in advance for their gifts and eradicate the chance of overspending.
Long-Term Financial Planning
We’re going to define long-term financial planning as anything over 6 months.
At the end of a summer holiday, how often do you find yourself saying “we really need to book our next one ASAP”. Yet it never seems to happen. We get back into our normal routine and the thought of booking our next holiday fades away with the tan!
However, booking your next holiday 6 – 12 months in advance could save you significant cash. Often, flight providers will put their prices up rather than down. In addition, several holiday providers will allow you to place a £1 deposit on hotels and spread the remaining balance (interest-free) over the months leading up to the departure – this can make it much more affordable.
Creating an emergency fund is arguably the best financial move you can make. An emergency fund essentially acts as a safety net against any unexpected expenses. This could include your car breaking down, emergency renovations to your home or veterinary bills. It is recommended that you aim to save 3 x your monthly salary, however anything you can save will be beneficial. To start with, aim to put away £100 at the start of each month. As you become accustomed to living for less, try increasing that amount to £150, then £175 and so on.
These are just a handful of the ways you can save money using financial forward planning. So, take a few hours to sit down and plan out your next few months – you’ll be surprised just how much it can help to improve your financial control.