As we prepare to welcome a new year many will wonder what resolutions or efforts they should implement, or attempt to implement, in 2017. While fitness regimes and vows of new healthy eating will be commonplace, many will also be considering how they can better manage their finances for 2017. A new year can be a good time to sit and re- evaluate our spending and try, if possible, to make some adjustments for the better.
Our financial pressures vary greatly from person to person. It depends on where you are in life and your personal circumstances. Whether you are married or single, whether you have children or not, what your family situation is, how much savings you have, your living situation and many other details factor greatly so there is no one size fits all approach to managing money. The range of financial pressures that we as a society deal with on a daily basis is frightening. Rising car insurance, car tax, fuel, rent, phone bills, credit cards, debt repayments, taxes on almost absolutely everything. All that before you even consider education costs, medical costs and childcare. The list is endless and so trying to save is near impossible for a large portion of people. The expectations placed on people to manage all of these bills and still be expected to come up with thousands for mortgage deposits is ridiculous, but that is a whole other post in itself.
Frequency of pay can also be difficult to manage. I recently switched from weekly payments to monthly and while I had been paid monthly in many previous employments, I had gotten quite accustomed to my weekly salary. The first month after the changeover was certainly the most challenging and waiting for pay day to roll around seemed like an eternity. Granted, I am now on my third month, I have gotten more used to it but nonetheless, ensuring your money gets you from one end of the month to the next requires a lot more careful consideration. When paid weekly, if you run out of cash by Wednesday you know you only have a day or two before you will be topped up again and the stark reality with monthly is not only do you have to wait four weeks for a pay cheque, sometimes the month squeezes in an extra couple of days. Yes, we all love those five week months don’t we? Another aspect of managing monthly is many of us will have direct debits and bills to pay based around when we get paid and so when you press the quick check balance on your mobile banking app and see a nice, healthy amount staring back at you, you know it won’t be staying that way for long with bills being deducted almost immediately. Substantial amounts of your wages are gone quite quickly meaning you are left scraping by until the next pay day for most of the month. It’s as if you are running on deficit all the time.
Each month before being paid I try and come up with some kind of a budget. I write down as many of my expenses for the upcoming month as possible and an estimate of those bills just to give me some kind of an idea on how much will be going out and how much disposable income I will actually have. Granted, some months have a lot less than others because no two months will have the exact same bills or amount of bills.
The reality is that financial pressures are some of the biggest concerns that our society has and I dread to think where people would be without organisations such as Cork Penny Dinners and St. Vincent De Paul as well as so many other local charities. These charities have enabled people to survive by providing food and other necessities so that our scandalous rents and other bills can continue to be paid. MABS is also another fantastic organisation which can assist people in devising budgets and guiding them to utilise their finances in the best possible way. As 2017 approaches it would be nice to think that a fairer society is on the horizon but it is difficult to imagine. While I know money can’t, and won’t, ever be a solution for all problems knowing that you and your loved ones are financially secure is certainly a big weight lifted from our shoulders. For now, Euromillions will just have to stop playing hard to get and let me win already!
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