There’s a lot of questions we have about money – specifically our own personal finances.
And when it comes to counting out your pennies and making sure they all add up right, you’ve got a lot of work to do. Especially if you’re someone who considers themselves no good with money, and even hearing the word ‘tax’ strikes fear into your heart.
Don’t worry, you are not alone. A lot of people struggle when it comes to dealing with money, and there’s a lot of conflicting information out there on how to better your chances. You look online for a few answers over what to do with a 0 dollar invoice and you’ll have 10 to 15 different sites pinged back to you who don’t quite seem to know what to do either.
So, to try and make your finances less of an ordeal on your shoulders, particularly if you’re running a low income household or thinking of taking on a side hustle full time in the near future, let’s think about the ways money matters could be a little easier.
Clear your diary, it’s almost time to get your taxes squared away!
Take Your Tax Digital
Tax is something we all fear the most, when it comes to having to take account of the income that flows and in out of our businesses and households. But that very sense of dread over the approaching end of the financial year, and needing to get your tax return ready, is the very reason it’s one of the most researched areas of the financial world. This is the kind of information you can put to good use, as it’s led to the development of several pieces of software you might find useful.
The scheme of making tax digital is one that’s crucial for businesses to get involved with. With entire subsections dedicated to particular tax matters, such as mtd for vat, you can arrange your tax troubles into neat spreadsheets to be easily filed away one by one. So if you’re thinking of moving into the self employed sphere, whether as an artist or a writer or a craftsman in any capacity, you’ve got the number one tax issue already squared away.
It’ll be a much easier transition from a full time job working for someone else to working for yourself on orders that at first won’t be numerous in number. Working out tax when it seems you’ve got little to show for it can be a very daunting task.
Make Sure You Understand Your Budget
Your budget needs to be something you know the ins and outs of, back to front and all the way around. After all, it’s what you’re running both a business of your own and your household off of, and that means it needs to be relevant and essential from its conception. And if you’re not sure of where to start, or how to even track your spending month by month, there’s a good chance your budget won’t shape up into something workable.
The first thing to know is what you spend on a monthly basis, and what you’re most likely to spend next month as a result. You need to take into account bills that occur bi-annually, or bills that only occur every other month in these calculations, so aim to do a 6 month spread at the least. Then you factor in your income, and what you bring in on a monthly basis compared to this spending. Then take the first number away from the second number, to see if you make more than you’re spending – that’s the basis of a good budget.
How much money you could afford to lose each month, if you’re aiming to quit your job and build your own business? If you have no business plans, how much savings you could put away each month on this scale?
Always Take the Time to Compare
We all spend a lot of money on daily goods, and a lot of the time, our budgets get shifted around and pulled apart because of the amount of money spent at your local supermarket. If you’re a big shopper, or you’re just getting the groceries in week by week, you’re going to have to stop and let yourself think about the process for a moment. How much are you willing to spend on a loaf of bread? How much are you willing to spend on a box of eggs? How much are you willing to spend on a pack of toilet paper? Or better yet, what would you consider the normal, average price for all these things to be?
Once you’ve decided on that, it’s time to take to the internet, and specifically, to comparison websites. Find the foods and household goods you were thinking of, and then compare the prices in your head to the ones on screen – are they lower or higher than your assumptions? And beyond that, which supermarkets and other general goods stores have the same products for wildly different retail prices? Because once you know which brands stock the cheapest offers, you can better direct your shopping habits.
After all, we all like to snap up a good deal, and we all want to know we’re getting the best value for our hard earned cash. Of course, some items need to be traded for a higher price than you hoped for, to guarantee they’re of good quality and safe for human use and consumption. And of course, a lot of people believe that some brands are better than others. But that could also call for a second experiment – testing name brands against own value ranges; can you really taste the difference between them? Or are your spending needlessly?
Money matters can be made easier, as long as you have the time and effort available to do some research on your finances. Remember, there’s always going to be helpful information out there, but make sure it applies to you most of all.