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Start to take control of your money and you’ll start to regain control of your life; it’s as simple as that! Money is at the heart of everything we do in our daily lives apart from paying the bills, to making decisions about our future and enjoying our leisure time. Money worries drain and diminish us and stressing about financial troubles is a sure-fire way to sap your energy. So get organised and get in control. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is!

Know where your money’s going
Ever feel as though your money is simply frittering away? Chances are that it is! Keep a spending diary for a week and note down everything, every single thing that you spend money on. You’ll notice two things happen; firstly, where you’re wasting money and secondly, that you start to think twice before spending because you don’t want to record it in the diary! Keeping a spending diary can be a powerful tool to change your pattern of behaviour.

Set a budget
People are scared of budgets, but these are the key to your success. Work out all your incomings and use your bank statements to record your outgoings. Be honest. For annual expenses, apportion the cost equally throughout the year. There are online spread sheets and plenty of advice sources to get you started. You may find that you’re spending more than you earn and, in which case you can use your budget to identify areas for improvement. Change your utility provider to a cheaper tariff, start walking rather than taking taxis or your car, cancel that gym subscription you never use, stop buying food on the go and cook from scratch, visit your local library, seek out special offers, the list is endless and you’ll get plenty more ideas when you get started. Trim the budget until it balances. You can also look at raising your income to help it balance; maybe it’s time to ask for a pay rise at work? Alternatively, could you earn money through utilising your skills, hobbies and interests outside of work? Think creatively with a focus on your end goal to get in control of your finances.

Downgrade your purchasing
If you have an expensive car and don’t need it maybe downgrade it to a smaller, more economical model. You’ll save on insurance, road tax and petrol too. Use the extra cash to pay off your debts, in order of the most expensive. If you buy branded groceries, downgrade a notch to the regular or basic ranges which are often of the same quality. Also use vouchers, special offers and even cash back credit cards if you’re disciplined enough to pay them back in full every month.

Get help and advice
Finally, if your money troubles really are getting serious, see a debt adviser or join a support group for advice and guidance. There are various groups online with other people like you also trying to get back in control of their finances. You’ll find a powerful support network, new ideas and the knowledge that you’re not alone, and that you’re working to make a positive change for your future. Make it even more powerful by setting goals for your well-managed financial future – whether that’s a reward holiday (paid by savings when your debts are gone), or a house move in 10 years time!

This guest blog was submitted on behalf of IVA expert by financial writer Francesca, who comes from the UK.