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While most of us think we’re pretty good with our money, we can all benefit from giving our finances a regular health check.

If you’re looking to get to grips with your finances and develop better habits, then setting yourself some financial goals and drawing up a budget is a good way to get motivated.

Priority debts are those that have the most serious consequences if you don’t repay them, and aren’t necessarily the oneswith the highest interest rates. They include your mortgage and rent, council tax and utility bills. These need to be paid first. It also makes sense to keep a firm grip on your credit card spending. Once you have worked out your budget, you’ll know how much you can save each month.

 

HAVE A RAINY DAY FUND

Everyone needs to have some money put away for emergencies, and for the bigger, more exciting things in life like a special trip, a child’s education or a wedding. So, for most of us having some cash that we can access quickly to pay for unexpected things like an unforeseen bill, and some that steadily builds up for the future, makes good financial sense.

 

SAVE FOR YOUR RETIREMENT

Even if it’s currently decades away, if you’re working you need to be saving for it now. Pension contributions attract tax relief, and if you’re in a company scheme, your employer may pay into the scheme too.

 

LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS

Life’s little expenses like a trip to the coffee shop eat into your cash. A daily £2.50 coffee would leave you worse off by £875 a year, meaning one small lifestyle change could leave you hundreds of pounds better off.

 

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MONEY

Once you’ve got your debts under control, got your emergency fund set up and begun to save regularly, then it’s time to think about investing for your future. If you’re new to investing, a stocks and shares ISA can be a great place to start. They are tax-efficient, and many offer you the opportunity to pay in a lump sum or make regular payments.