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A Guide to Taking Control Of Your Finances


September 23, 2022 ( Newswire) The decision regarding the proper way to manage and save your money is an important one to make. Here is a guide to building your family's financial future.

Bank Account or Building Society?

Different types of current accounts are available, each with its own pros and cons, which can make the choice of what best suits you confusing at best.

You can use the "best buy" tables found in the financial pages of magazines and newspapers as a guide, but those usually focus on the benefits of being in credit. Keep in mind that your account of choice has to be suitable for how you plan to manage your account.

Individual Savings Accounts?

Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs) are tax-efficient accounts that let you save up to a particular amount each year. Every year, you get an ISA allowance that sets the maximum you can save within the tax-free period running from April to April.

The ISA allows you to invest up to the limit in cash, shares, and stocks, and you have the option to switch savings between the two should you choose. If you actually opt to invest the maximum amount possible, you may divide the money between the cash ISA and your shares and stocks ISA.

The tax efficiency of ISA is on the basis of current rules, and the current tax situation might not be maintained. The benefits derived from this tax treatment primarily depend on individual circumstances.

Credit Cards?

Credit cards used widely can not only help you with cash flow but also with taking advantage of the interest-free payment window.

If you fail to repay your bill in full each month, however, it can end up being an incredibly expensive form of borrowing. Keep in mind that just paying the minimum amount or forgetting to make a payment each month can impact your credit score negatively.

Equally, transferring your existing balance to a 0% interest card can be a great idea for some. If you still have a balance at the end of the free period, you could look to transfer the balance to a different card with another 0% balance transfer offer.

Understanding Interest Rates

If you incur an overdraft by overspending, for example, you will likely incur interest charges, especially if you haven't cleared this in advance with either your building society or bank.

Today's regulations ensure that the full cost of borrowing or going overdrawn is explained fully beforehand. For those that love to save, the law also requires banks to quote the rate if you held the product for an entire year.

If it's a loan, this is referred to as the annual percentage rate (APR). When it comes to savings, it is referred to as the annual equivalent rate (AER).

If you choose to take out a loan, it is important to also consider other features, such as the length of the loan and how much the repayments cost each month. With savings, however, you may want the option of withdrawing interest each month or leaving it invested so that you can earn a higher interest amount.

The APR or AER allows for easy comparison of the loans or savings, so you can see which is the cheapest or most expensive in real terms.

Budgeting and Managing Your Finances

Budgeting for daily essentials such as food, housing, fuel, etc. is relatively easy to do. However, building up a 'buffer' to cope with the unexpected, such as perhaps the need to survive a period of redundancy or replace your car is more challenging.

While putting aside some money for future plans isn't an exciting activity, savings give you the flexibility to do things when you want to, without getting into debt or impacting your daily existence.

Budgeting might be dull but it's also common sense. It's never too early to create a credit and debit spreadsheet that lists your income and expenditure, such as food, energy bills, travel, car costs, clothing, and leisure pursuits. The point is that you need to organize your finances to ensure that your expenditure never exceeds your income.

Budget Planning

The old-fashioned way of budgeting is listing all your income on one side of a sheet of paper and your expenditure on the other. If you put this into a simple spreadsheet this will definitely work out the figures for you as you go along.

Today, there's plenty of personal financial software available online along with budgeting apps that can be downloaded. Some, especially those that are paid, "sync" the data across a variety of compatible devices to allow you to update the information regardless of your location or between different users.

Build a Side Hustle

A side hustle can be a great way to make a little bit more money and be that little bit more comfortable than you already are.

A side hustle can be anything, though a lot of people prefer to have an online side hustle that they can spend a few hours here or there on. Side hustles can be anything from renting out your car, to leasing out a parking space to building and promoting a business online

Make Your Budget Work for You

You can prioritize your spending by using a budget planner. Instead of simple spending first and then reconciling your income and expenditure later, a budget planner allows you to see whether you can actually afford a planned holiday or replace a household appliance.

So, a good budgeting plan means moving money from one side of the balance sheet to the other, ideally reducing the outgoings to make it easier to save.

Don't Put Off a Pension

Saving for your retirement may seem like a long way off, but you should start putting as much as possible aside for your retirement. Obviously, the money you save in a pension plan cannot be accessed and for the vast majority of people, it can only be accessed after you are 55 years of age (rising to the age of 57 by 2028). Make sure that you are clear on steps to investing when deciding how to save for your pension.

Your future financial security is just as important as your current situation, and the earlier you can start to save, the more time your pension will have to grow. A good pension income will give you far more options regarding how you spend your retirement.

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