Money, money, money - despite what ABBA says, isn’t always all that sunny. From the global pandemic to its resulting economic fallout, the recent financial hardships society has been subjected to has meant that the cost of living is now harder than ever to keep up with.
Are you teetering too far over the edge of your overdraft? Are your direct debits pulling the rug from under your financial feet? We know that floundering with your financial payments can often leave you feeling out of your depth, so we’ve pulled together some empowering expert tips on how best to fight financial fear and gain control over your current account Link opens in a new window.
Common bank account worries
Are you used to holding your breath and checking your current account with one eye open? If logging into your online banking fills you with instant concern, then you’re not alone. Though it’s something that all of us use, our bank balance is one of the most common causes of stress and anxiety.
Those who suffer from financial fear may have experienced one, if not all, of the below:
- A fear of looking at your bank balance
- A dependency on your overdraft
- Concern over poorly timed direct debits
- Avoiding analysing your outgoings
- A reluctance to put aside a savings fund
Tips to get control over your current account
Don’t be afraid to check your bank balance
Do you put off checking your bank balance? Checking your bank account every few days is a simple yet effective way to stay aware of your spending, minimise money-related fear and will help you avoid any nasty surprises. It’s also an easy way to spot any mischarges or unusual activity on your account.
Making time to establish a routine with your bank balance and scheduling in weekly checks will only help you to feel less anxious in the long run.
Decide the direction of your direct debits
It’s important to try and map out your monthly spending as much as possible to retain financial stability - starting with your direct debits.
Rather than random payment dates, organise your payments so that they make sense for your spending schedule. And if you’re struggling to deliver on certain days, reshuffle your payments to accommodate that by contacting the company who you're paying the direct debit to and asking if you can change the monthly payment date.
Top tip, try and schedule your direct debits so they come out the day after payday and your balance can cope with the hit. Plus, having all your direct debits coming out on the same day, each month, removes any unpredictability from your monthly spend.
Buy into budgeting
Now it’s time to talk about the thing you all knew was coming. That’s right - we’re going to talk about budgeting. Sure, no one likes to do it, but it really can transform your current account from something you panic about to something you’re prepared for. To make sure your budget plan works for your current account balance, it’s important that you cover all bases.
We recommend setting aside a decent amount of time to go through everything, as well as making sure all of your paperwork/digital statements are to hand, such as:
- Your recent bank statements
- Copies of your household bills
- Details of your savings and pension contributions
- Information on any other income and outgoings that you need to account for
Having all of this information at hand will help you make a watertight budget plan first time round - without them, you may be forced to do several re-evaluations to account for forgotten financial commitments.
Be savvy with your savings
Parting with money can be a tough thing to do, even when it’s for the benefit of your future self, so putting an automated amount of money away into a savings account is a simple way to save without putting too much strain on yourself.
If you struggle with compulsive spending, putting a fixed amount of money aside each month can help act as an invisible barrier to block those unnecessary, flippant purchases. Or try the seven-day rule, where you sleep on a purchase for seven days before splashing the cash on it. If it's still something that you're thinking about and want by the end of the week then buy it, but most of the time you'll have forgot about it by then.
Also, our clever mobile banking app Link opens in a new window allows you to create Savings Pots to help you save towards your goals - not only are there no limits to the number of pots you can set up, or the amount you can save in them but you’ll also earn interest on the whole balance of your savings pots.
Keep track of your transactions
Gone a little OTT with your outgoings this month? With contactless cards and Apple Pay being the norm for so many, it’s so easy to spend, spend, spend. You can now buy in a blink of an eye - and fast-paced spending can have a knock-on impact on your bank balance without you even realising.
With our mobile banking app Link opens in a new window, you can easily keep track of your transactions as our app automatically tags each transaction with one of 20 pre-sets or you can create your own custom tags. You can even set specific balance and transaction alerts too, to help you stay on top of your money.
Other ways to fight financial fear
Be open about your finances
It’s always better to be open about what’s troubling you - even when it’s about your financial problems. Storing all of your money worries away will only weigh you down even more. A problem shared is a problem halved, after all.
It’s important to remember that your problems are not a burden to those who care for you, so choose someone you trust to remind you of the realities of your spending. There’s no shame in having financial fear or expressing your emotions. You never know, your chosen confidant could even help you come up with some solutions, too, as well as being a shoulder to lean on.
Get professional advice
Whether it’s guidance on how best to manage debt, creating a budget and sticking to it, finding work, claiming benefits or any other financial assistance, getting practical, professional advice is always a smart idea and can make all the difference to your stress levels. Money Helper Link opens in a new window provide free and impartial advice via phone, live chat and WhatsApp or if you’re a Virgin Money customer, check out our support hub Link opens in a new window.
Be kind to yourself
We get it - checking in on your current account regularly can be challenging. As you review your spending habits and debt patterns, try and remember that it’s not out of the ordinary to feel weighed down by money worries, especially in this current climate. Steer clear from damaging self-depreciation and don’t punish yourself for your financial mishaps. Focus on clear aspects of your financial recovery that you can control and look forward to the future. Remember, giving yourself a break should never be the last thing on your to-do list.
For more information on how to cope with financial problems, visit our Brighter Money article Link opens in a new window.
Take control of your finances with the Virgin Money Mobile Banking app. Get the app with any of our current accounts.
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