I checked my bank balance this morning, as is my custom when I’m feeling a bit anxious and need a number to grab hold of.
I had £685.18.
Not too bad, considering it’s January, and I normally spend about a million pounds on Christmas. The rent has to come out still, but hey ho, not so bad.
And then I looked at that bit underneath that says ‘pending transactions’ – the things you’ve bought already, but just haven’t come out of your account.
They came to £664. 38.
I did a quick(ish) sum.
I made it £20.80.
Not so cool.
The irony is that I actually have a first class Economics degree, have worked in finance, and am the one in my family who is considered ‘good with money’, but then family finances can be tricky, whatever your background. If your family was a small company, you’d have a person whose job it was to manage the financial side of things, so it’s no wonder that we all get ourselves in a bit of a pickle sometimes when it comes to juggling bills, savings, mortgages, pensions, investments and of course, the biggie, pocket money.
I’m a big advocate of the ‘knowledge is power’ ethos – the worst thing you can do if you are worried about any aspect of your finances is to bury your head in the sand. There is potentially a lot of money out there, just waiting to be saved, if you’re just able to set aside a little bit of time to find out the facts and take some positive action.
That’s why I’m really happy to be working with NatWest on their latest initiative to help families whip their finances into shape in 2016. They’re working with The Telegraph to bring together all sorts of useful information in one place – a family finance hub of sorts – with information on everything from saving money on your water bills to finding restaurant deals online.
They’re also putting together a series of very short videos, including Money Clip tips and a series called ‘Money Clip Minutes’, where you can learn more about a subject in just a minute. Like this one about fuel prices:
Over the next few months NatWest will be adding loads of new resources and I’ll be helping out by talking about specific money related subjects that I feel are especially relevant to me, including tips on day to day budgeting, ideas for dealing with debt, and saving money on utilities.
If you want this to be the year that you take charge of your finances, make sure you check back regularly for my finance posts, and do take a look at the Telegraph hub. You could also take a look at the NatWest Reward current account. With the NatWest Reward current account you earn 3% back in Rewards on selected household bills paid by Direct Debit. They have a cool little calculator to help you work out how much you could potentially save.
Do you have any financial goals for 2016? Are there any particular aspects of your finances that you find harder to manage than others?
The NatWest Reward current account is available for £3 per month to UK residents aged over 18 only. Payments for services like maintenance, repairs and insurance won’t earn Rewards. You will also earn at least 1% Rewards on debit card spend at NatWest’s Partner retailers and 1% Rewards on contactless debit card payments until 31/12/16. Photo credit – Africa Studio/shutterstock.
Haha, my bank balance is equally slender this month. January is the worst! I’ve made it my mission to be better with money this year, so thank you for this post. I’m usually pretty good but last year I went a little “LET’S JUST HAVE FUN’ crazy and, erm, now I need to catch up with myself. xx
I know the feeling Fiona – I get waves of thinking ‘sod it, you only live once, let’s just enjoy ourselves’, followed by intervals of sobbing into a pile of bank statements.
I was really hoping to be able to save some money this month but that is looking increasingly unlikely as the month goes on. I’m really hoping to start saving more money in 2016 but I’m on maternity leave at the moment so there isn’t really much money available to save. I’ll definitely be checking out your posts though for any advice you can offer.
Oh this is quite exciting as I am with Nattiest and will be looking forward to seeing these new small changes to make keeping on top of your finances easier
This sounds like a really good (and useful) idea – we’re pretty good with money but don’t do any kind of budgeting or anything and I’m sure there’s loads of ways we could be smarter. I didn’t know you had an economics degree! x
It’s good to hear that even people who are good with money can find it a struggle. Our balance isn’t looking as healthy as yours, though, even with the pending payments.
january is a nightmare isn’t it, your skint but its cold & grey & you want to buy things to cheer you up! x