10 things you can do within a day to improve your financial health
June 08, 2021
5 minutes to read
Checking our accounts or making a transfer ... often we will just fit that in between other things, whenever we have a spare minute or two. We may well get our business done that way, but that doesn't help us to see the big picture. Will I have enough to live on when I retire? And is my money earning a decent return? These are not the type of questions that you ask yourself when confirming a transfer while you are stirring the soup and listening to a podcast at the same time.
Maybe you also have some unfinished items on your to-do list? Perhaps you’ve been thinking for years about starting to get a bit more out of your money? Or perhaps you’ve been meaning to cancel that newspaper subscription for ages, but haven't got round to it yet?
Block off one day in your calendar, a day when you are not under time pressure or have 101 things to do. And really focus during that day. Make it as productive as possible.
Here is your to-do list:
1. Check your fixed costsTake a closer look at all your major fixed expenses and tackle them.
- Check the costs of your telecoms, energy, insurance, etc. Which mobile phone provider, energy supplier, insurer, etc. offers a cheaper alternative?
- Do you still need your own car?
- Is your rent too high and is it time to look for a cheaper place to live? Subscribe to alerts for new rental properties, within your budget.
- Which online (streaming) services or subscriptions do you barely use?
- And so on ...
2. Unsubscribe from sales newslettersYou can't spend money on things you don't see. Unsubscribe from sales newsletters and install an ad blocker.
3. Take care of the things that are boring, but necessaryDo you not yet have fire insurance? Have you not yet started saving for your pension? Do you not yet have an investment plan? Request them or start them today. Starting an investment plan takes 5 minutes.
4. Activate standing ordersDo you still pay the water bill manually each time? Automate regular payments with a standing order, so you don't have to enter each payment manually every month. It doesn't save you money, but it will save you time you can spend on more fun or interesting things.
5. Check your savings bufferThe fridge broke down or a thief rode off on your bike? It’s best to keep something aside for unexpected expenses. Depending on your situation, for most people a savings buffer of 3 to 6 months’ net income is usually sufficient.Is your savings buffer inadequate? Then draw up a budget (see point 6). Are you already saving for your pension and do you have money that you won't need in the next few years? If so, think about investing; it offers higher potential returns than saving.
6. Create a budgetThis way you know exactly what is coming in and what is going out (and where to), what extras you can put aside and where the weak points are. No interest or no time to track all this in detail in a spreadsheet or using an app? No problem. Budgeting can also be hassle free using the simple 80/20 rule.
7. Do you take advantage of all available public subsidies and tax breaks?Are you building, renovating or renting or letting a home? You may be eligible for subsidies. There are hundreds: who knows, you may even be eligible for a premium that you never even dreamed existed. Enter your post code on premiezoeker.be (Flemish Region) and check. Check here the overview of premiums in the Wallonia Region and the Brussels Capital Region.Pension savings, childcare, service vouchers or legal assistance insurance? Check here whether you are taking full advantage of all available tax benefits.
8. Allocate money for things that make you happier (and not only things that are useful)Being financially sound is not just about cutting costs and savings. It’s also about feeling good about the (financial) decisions you make. Focus on experiences, spending time with others and, for example, spending on things that help you save time, such as hiring a cleaner to clean your home. So take a moment today to think about whether you’re really happy with the things you usually spend your money on.
9. Check whether your investments need rebalancingInvestment trends come and go, new risks and new opportunities are always emerging, and market movements may cause your investment portfolio to become unbalanced. Check whether your investments are still in line with your investment objectives and find out how to bring your portfolio back in balance.
10. Plan the next daySchedule a half day for a few weeks later. There is a good chance that you will have to follow up or adjust some of the things you have started today. Checked everything off? If so, plan a day for next year.