Time to maintain good habits

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According to the government department that oversees spending, Britons have saved more than £143.5 billion during the course of the pandemic.

But as the next phase of unlocking family and working life comes into force on Monday (12 April), it’s likely many of us will loosen the purse strings – and, as a result, could find ourselves in experiencing financial difficulties in the not too distant future.

‘There are some simple actions we can all take to feel free and spend again without accidently building up overdrafts and credit card worries,’ says financial services expert, Aseem Munshi.

‘If you don’t have a budget in place, now is a good time to set one up. Think about your spending through lockdown and how much you want to set aside to enjoy. What are you happy to spend on socialising with family and friends, self-care or new purchases?

‘If you already have a budget, update it with your increased spending for the next few months but be sure you can still meet essential expenses.’

Spending on drinks and dinners with friends and family, getting some much-needed self-care booked in, and organising shopping trips will once again start to become the norm, albeit these events may have a different look and feel to them for months to come

The Office for Budget Responsibility’s findings are welcome news. But while a return to normality beckons, it is highly likely many people will see their spending increase. So, in a bid to stay in control of your finances, here are some simple and practical steps designed to help enjoy yourself without blowing the budget, advocated by Aseem Munshi’s Updraft business.

View your accounts in one app

Some financial services companies give you the option to view all your accounts in one place, even if they are from different providers. This means you can see exactly what you have coming in and going out which will help with any updates to budgeting. Plus, there are benefits like being able to check your credit score and track any changes whenever you like.

Put financial goals in place

Having a goal to work towards is a big motivator. Try and make these experience or lifestyle-based rather than just a number. Psychologically it is harder to dip into savings when you are focused on saving for a specific item or experience. 

Bring your debts into one place

If you owe money on credit cards, buy now pay later schemes or you’re in an overdraft see if you can bring these all into one place. One total with one monthly payment is a lot easier to manage.

Don’t worry about falling off track

And don’t panic if you feel like your finances aren’t going in the right direction for a few months. As we make the most of the new freedoms, outgoings might be slightly higher as we enjoy a new routine. Try not to worry, your spending is likely to settle back down – as long as you adapt your budget.

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