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8 steps to getting your money in shape 💪

31 Jan 2022
7 min read

Bank account feeling particularly empty this month? Want to make your money go further in 2022 but no idea where to start? We feel you. 8 steps is all it takes to whip your finances into shape. Work your way through the list and you’ll be feeling better about your money in no time.

Build a budget

No one’s pretending that budgeting is a fun way to spend a Saturday. But it is key to knowing where your money is going and spotting opportunities to cut back.

Write down how much money you bring in each month, and then any fixed costs (like mortgage or rent, bills and food). Take away your expenses from your take-home pay, and the money left over is how much you have to play with each month.

Wish you had a bit more disposable income? You’ve got two options: boost your salary or slash your fixed costs (more on this later 👀).

See where you’re spending

Budgeting and tracking are a match made in heaven. How do you know if you’re sticking to your budget if you’re not keeping an eye on your outgoings?

Try to make tracking your spending a daily or weekly habit. Whenever you spend with your Curve card, you’ll get a real-time notification letting you know what you’ve bought and where. It’s a simple way of keeping on top of the little things and seeing where you might be splashing out unnecessarily. Plus, it’ll help you notice sooner if someone’s using your card fraudulently. You can freeze your card in the app, protecting all your linked cards at once.

The Curve app also gives you handy spending insights, so you can see where your money’s going on a daily basis. Track the balances on all your accounts in one place and see which card you spend most on. A lot of challenger banks are great at breaking down your spending, but only on that particular card. Curve gives you the bigger picture, with 20/20 vision on what you’re spending across every account. Easily split out your personal and business expenses for a closer look at your finances.

Debt be gone 🪄

Depending on how much debt you have, paying it off might not be easy. But it’ll be worth it.

One way is to use the debt avalanche method. You’ll start by paying off your debts with the highest interest - like payday loans and overdrafts. Focus on one debt at a time and make sure you’re making at least the minimum repayment each month on all your credit agreements. Curve Flex has a typical 13% APR, so depending on your situation, it could come in handy for paying off high-interest loans or moving out of your overdraft for good. Join the waiting list if you haven’t already.

The debt snowball method works in the opposite way. Here, you pay off your debts from the smallest to the largest amount, regardless of the interest rate. This means you can pay off small debts quickly and make tangible progress, but it might cost you more money.

Stressed or confused about where to start? The lovely people at StepChange can give you free, expert debt advice to make the whole process easier.

Save for a rainy day

Tired of being told you could afford to buy a home if you stopped eating avocado toast? 🙄

The secret to successful saving is starting small and being realistic. If your rent or mortgage eats into a big chunk of your take-home pay, it might not be realistic to start stashing £500 a month. So find a number that feels manageable. If brunching is a weekend ritual you’re not willing to sacrifice, where else in your budget can you cut down? Just £2 a day could save you £730 over the year, for example.

The most important thing is having an emergency fund. This is typically 3 months’ of expenses that you could dig into should the worst happen. Keep this somewhere safe (like a secure, easy-access savings account) and try not to delve into it unless you absolutely have to.

Check your credit score

Your credit score could be holding you back without you even knowing. This is the number that affects whether you’re offered a loan (like a mortgage), and how much you’ll pay for it. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get better deals on credit. Simple. 

Everything from whether you pay your bills on time to how much of your credit limit you use each month can affect your score. While there’s no secret recipe for the perfect score, when you check it you’ll usually be given tips on how to improve it. Plus, it’s your opportunity to fix any mistakes that might be damaging it without your knowledge.

Bear in mind that certain types of credit checks can impact your credit score. These are known as ‘hard’ credit checks, and are often recorded when you take out a loan.

It’s free to check your credit score, so do it now. Make sure you’re getting the credit you deserve.

Make some extra cash

We’ve talked about cutting back, but there are loads of ways to pocket more money on the side. See if any of these could work for you:

  • Take on a side hustle like a bar or babysitting job, if you have time.

  • Sell the stuff you no longer use. Chuck your old clothes on Depop and anything else on Shpock.

  • Ask the council if you can pay your council tax in 12 month instalments instead of upfront if you’d rather spread the cost.

  • See if you can negotiate your bills. It’s always worth phoning your energy or entertainment provider to see if they can sweeten the deal for you.

  • Cancel unused subscriptions. We’re not judging, but do you really need Netflix, Disney+ and Now TV?

  • Claim cashback on Curve. That’s right - get paid to shop when you use your Curve card, with cashback on big-name brands and even more when you refer friends.

Give your pension some TLC

Grand plans to relocate to the South of France and hole up in a villa when you retire? You’ll probably need a pension. You don’t want to be relying on £180 a week, which is the max amount you could get from the government.

It’s one of those things that often falls off the radar, but knowing how much you and your employer are paying into your pension is important. Check your contract or payslip, or speak to HR to find out more about your contributions. If you can afford to, paying in the maximum amount each month could be a good idea in the long-term.

Going green with your pension is one of the best things you can do for the planet. So it might be worth finding out if you can swap to a more eco-friendly pension scheme or provider.

Treat yo’self with Curve 💅

Kicking your finances up a gear isn’t all doom and gloom. New to Curve rewards? Saving just got a whole lot smoother. 

You’ll get regular one-off rewards from brands like ASOS, Selfridges and IKEA. If you already get rewards with your debit or credit card, you’ll get double when you pay with Curve. Nice. 

And if you’re off on holiday, Curve gets you fair exchange rates on all your cards and you can take out up to £200 a month abroad for free.

The sooner you get Curve, the sooner you can start saving 💰

Legal bits:

This information is intended solely to provide general guidance and is not financial, legal, tax, investment or other advice. Nothing contained on our site constitutes a recommendation or endorsement. Curve UK Limited and Curve Credit Limited (or their affiliates) are not liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, you should obtain independent financial advice by finding a qualified, independent and regulated financial adviser in your area.

Curve UK Limited is an introducer appointed representative of Curve Credit Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference number 925447). If you use Curve Flex, you consent to Curve UK Limited introducing you to, and sharing your personal information with, Curve Credit Limited. Learn about how we process your personal data in our Privacy Policy. Curve Flex is available for UK residents only and is subject to creditworthiness and affordability checks. T&Cs apply. 

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