Green Tuesday should replace Blue Monday
This week, we experienced the so-called Blue Monday; a day when, having got over the festivities of Christmas and the New Year break, summer holidays seem so far away that we start to get depressed. Allegedly!
It turns out that Blue Monday is simply a marketing ploy by the travel industry to get us spending money.
How about we replace Blue Monday with Green Tuesday? A day when we start to get our finances under control and plan for our long term future.
Let’s give ourselves the green light to feel better about ourselves by having a plan.
What simple actions can we take to get our finances back under control? Well, why don’t you try the following, because they won’t cost you anything to do other than a bit of time.
Green Tuesday budget plan
One way of feeling back in control is to have a budget plan.
On what do you spend your money? List all of the bills that come in each month; rent or mortgage, utilities like electricity, gas and water your expenditure on food and things such your mobile phone bill.
List the other regular expenses such as travel costs, insurances and clothes.
Then list your discretionary spending, such as entertainment and holidays.
We guarantee that writing all this down, best use a spreadsheet, will start the process of making you feel better.
And then ask yourself if there are any items of expenditure in your budget of which you can get rid? You can then save that money.
The classic example is the regular coffee that you buy each morning on the way to work. How much does that cost you?
A medium-sized Americano from a high street retail coffee chain is about £2.25 (more expensive for other items on the menu). That’s £540 per year, assuming five days per week for 48 weeks.
If you were to get up five minutes earlier each morning and make your coffee, that would save you a big chunk of that cost.
Organise your paperwork
Where is that letter that you received from the taxman? Still in the envelope under a pile of magazines on the coffee table or perhaps in that single-use plastic bag with all your other financial papers?
Commit to getting organised. Sort all of your paperwork into relevant sections in the drawer where you keep it all. Make sure it’s in date order.
Then ask yourself, do you need to keep it all?
Of course, you should keep relevant documents like certificates and policy documents. But chances are you have a pile of documents that are both dated and superseded by other pieces of paper.
And most of all, commit to never leaving a letter unopened because you are fearful of what is in it. Not dealing with a problem generally makes it worse in the future.
Set a regular day and time to review your paperwork and respond to correspondence received
Plan your debt-free day
Debt is a drag. The interest that you pay on any debt you have may well hold you back from doing the things you want to do in the future.
Have a plan to pay off the debt that you have as soon as you can, starting with the most expensive debt which tends to be short term loans and outstanding credit card debt.
That money you save by making your own coffee each morning can go towards paying off your debt.
Work out your debt-free day; the day when you will have paid off a particular debt.
It might be worth seeing if you can consolidate some debts together if you can do that with a lower interest rate than you currently pay.
Getting control over these essential parts of your financial life can help to change Blue Monday into Green Tuesday.