How To Audit Your Financial Life

Money can seem complicated. But in reality, it’s only ever as complicated as you make it. It may not feel like it, but you will always find that you can improve your situation, no matter what it looks like now. When you firmly believe that you’re stuck and that you’ll never get to where you’ll be, this is just something in your mind. So you need to shake that off, really get to grips with your situation and start to turn things around. The best way to do that is to be really objective with yourself. Even if, right now, your situation isn’t that bad, you can really make a change and improve things going forward. And if you have big dreams, then this is something that you’ll really want to do.

Cathryn Lavery
But what’s the best way to go about it? Because you know roughly where you are now, and you know where you want to be, but how do you make that leap? This is what the audit will help you with. It’s going to help you to break down your current situation and really figure out what changes you need to make in order to get to where you want to be. And there are always changes that can be made. So let’s see what they are.

 

  1. Set Some Goals

 

When it comes to doing anything in life, you need direction. So when you’re looking to make changes to your financial life, you need to have goals. So start out your financial audit by having a vision of what you want to achieve. Whether you want to buy your first home, launch a business, or just build up some firm savings, these goals are essential. Maybe you even want to transform your lifestyle? When this is the case, putting those goals in place is the first step for helping you to do it.

 

  1. Break Down Your Pros

 

The next step is to begin the audit of how you are right now. And to do this, you really have to be objective with yourself. You need to make sure that you can highlight the strengths that you have. Maybe you spend within your means? Maybe you’ve created a savings account? Maybe you earn well? Whatever it is, make sure you’re aware of any positive things about your current situation.

 

  1. Understand Your Cons

 

Next, we have the hardest part to do. Because you have to be able to understand your flaws and your weaknesses if you’re going to turn things around. And to do this, you have to be quite tough on yourself. Be honest and work what’s letting your current financial situation down. Maybe you’re in a lot of debt? Maybe you can’t control your spending? Maybe you earn pittance? No matter what it is, work it out, and own it.

 

  1. Budget Better

 

Now that you are more than aware of how you’re doing, it’s time to budget. By building a better budget, you will be able to take control of your earnings. You’ll find that you can start to really allocate your funds in the most cost-effective way. You’ll often reduce unnecessary payments that you make and start to get smarter with how you view your money.

 

  1. Spend Smarter

 

From here, you then need to be able to make your purchases count. Start by switching your bills to better deals. Use sites such as moneypug to find them. When you can save money on your bills, you’ve made the best start. Then, you’ll want to cut out expenses that you don’t need altogether. This is going to help you to free up cash for your financial goals.

 

  1. Home In On Your Earnings

 

When you’ve got a better grasp over your outgoings and you’re really starting to control them, you then need to do the same with your income. Ideally, you’re going to want to increase your earnings. The best way to do that is to work on getting a raise, go out for more work, or to even diversify your income by adding an automated stream.

 

  1. Keep Everything In Line

 

Finally, you then need to make sure that everything matches up going forward. The decisions you’re making with regard to your money have to link to your goals. Essentially, your actions have to match your ambitions. So be sure that everything you do, every time you spend, and your attitude towards your financial situation all mirrors those original goals that you set out.

Why it’s not impossible to buy your first home

For first time buyers, the prospect of saving a deposit for a first home can seem impossible. In the last few years, house prices have risen meaning that buyers need to raise thousands of pounds in order to secure a mortgage. For many people, this dream seems unreachable and young couples often make the decision to continue renting rather than spend years scrimping and saving for a mortgage. But, what if it wasn’t as impossible as it looks?

Make a plan

The first step in reaching any goal is to make a plan. Take a look at some of the houses you’re interested in and find out what kind of deposit they require. It’s also worth looking into the amount of deposit you’ll need to secure a mortgage. You can use as little as 5% to get a mortgage but it may mean you have to pay increased interest rates, so it’s better to aim for at least 10% if possible. This will give you an idea of how much you need save. The figure you come up with may seem impossible, but it’s important to consider your options before giving up entirely.

Rowan Heuvel
Help to buy

When it comes to raising a deposit for a mortgage, you may not have to do it all by yourself. After all, banks want your business, so it’s in their interest to provide you with as much help as possible. Help for first time home buyers can come in many forms. You may want to consider applying for a help to buy scheme, where a 20% deposit is put down for you. However, you do have to keep in mind that the deposit is repayable, and you may also have to pay interest if your home is sold for a greater price in the future.

Get paid to save

Saving money in your regular current account is just heading for failure. Unless you’re ridiculously strict on what you spend, it’s likely you’ll dip into your savings every now and then if you’ve got easy access to them. Putting your savings in a separate account is much safer. Take a look at the savings accounts that will give you the best return. You may have to deposit a minimum amount every month and you may not be able to make any withdrawals for certain period, but the amount you gain will be worth it.

An understanding family member

If you’ve got a family member with a bit of extra cash floating around and they’re willing to give it to you as a deposit that you eventually pay back, you’re in luck! However, many people haven’t got that amount to give but it doesn’t mean they can’t help. Take a look at the new 0% deposit mortgage offered by the Post Office. They will give you 90% of the house value and secure the other 10% by placing it against a family members home. The downside is, if you fail to repay your mortgage on time, both you and your family member are in trouble.

Difficult, yes. Impossible, no.

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Making Money From Blogging & Content Creation

There are so many people that think that making money blogging is impossible or somehow (inexplicably) taboo. However, given half the chance they would probably give it a go too – they just don’t know to. So many people try their hand at blogging and content creation thinking they will be making mega bucks straight away and that simply isn’t the case. You need a variety of different things to even start to see that money roll in and it can be a hard slog to get there.

Your Own Domain

There are so many blogging tips out there and one that is suggested but that isn’t a necessity is getting your own domain. It helps you to be taken more seriously. You can either buy a domain via Blogger or use self hosted WordPress. There are some other options but these are the most popular choices. The free WordPress.com itself has some strict rules about monetisation whereas self hosted WordPress (like this blog here) give a lot more freedom.

You can use Blogger without buying a domain but if  Domain Authority is important to you, you wouldn’t be able to give a genuine result as the results would be impacted by the Blogger score itself.  Having my own domain has definitely helped me secure more work.

You May Need To Spend Money To Make Money

If you truly want to turn your hobby into a business, then you need to pay out some cash. You may need to spend a little in the short term to benefit you in the long term. Making money blogging can be a long and arduous task so it is essential to make sure you have all the best tools to hand.

You Need To Put The Time In

Focus on creating content and making your site look the part, If you want to be making money blogging, you need to look the part and so does your blog. If you are running a parenting blog, make sure there is plenty of interesting and evergreen parenting content there for your readership. You need to ensure it looks professional, has great quality content and has your contact details easily accessible. Take the time to sign up for social media and get using them to drive traffic to your site.

Content Is King

The phrase ‘Content Is King’ does get bandied around quite a lot but it couldn’t be more true. If you are serious about making money blogging, you need to have quality content that people want to keep coming back to. The odd post every couple of months where people don’t know when to expect you or a badly written post with little to no research or (I hope you never do this) plagiarised posts are never going to earn you any money. You need to put the hard work in and make sure that you have something for people to come back for. Check out these content marketing tips for fantastic content creation.

Traffic Is The Key

There is plenty of monetisation which relies on your traffic. Adsense, affiliate links etc. These all need decent traffic and people clicking through on them to actually make you an income. You want to target the right places to get the traffic – got a wedding blog? Utilise wedding related hashtags on Twitter and wedding related promotional groups on Facebook. Find new and unique ways of advertising yourself and your site. If you have 50 people checking out your site once and not coming back due to no quality content, you can’t seriously expect them to want to click on your ads or affiliate links – they have no incentive to. Give them something they need and they’ll help you. A you scratch my back, I will scratch yours mentality.

Advertorials

Once your content is perfect and you have a decent amount of traffic making its way to your site, you may find people contacting you about sponsored posts or banner advertisements. These are definitely one of the best ways to make money blogging and can earn you quite a bit of money if you set your rates accordingly. Banner advertising generally advertises a company in your sidebar for a set amount of time, decided on by you or the company whereas sponsored posts are blog posts featuring a specific brand which stay on your site either for a set amount of time or forever. Some readers can get funny about sponsored posts – plenty of people write them like reviews but if you can make them snappy and interesting, often people won’t mind. Making them snappy and interesting is just what readers want.

Adsense/Affiliates

I mentioned them briefly in a previous point but once you’ve got a steady flow of traffic, you can now add these in. Hopefully you will start to see a steady income grow from these. Make sure your Adsense adverts are placed where visitors can see them but where they aren’t too imposing that they will annoy your readers. Make sure your settings are set so relevant ads come up – you don’t want ads that don’t match your content.

With affiliates, only include ones relevant to your content. If I was writing a post about balancing blogging as a work from home mum, I may link to a blogging eBook. If writing about products on Amazon or Ebay, I would use my affiliate codes for those. Don’t just stuff affiliate links in because you can.

It can be fairly easy to make money blogging if you are prepared to put the time and effort in. If you follow the tips above, you could be well on your way. I’m finally making a decent amount from blogging and content creation – and you can too!

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