The Ultimate Financial Checklist


Pay day! I love pay day. It's the only day of the month that I have ANY money. Of course, I've paid all of my bills, budgeted for the month and it's my parents anniversary this weekend so I'm flat out broke again but that is life. That is adulthood. That is the way of the world.

I earn enough to cover my necessities and still go out for a few sociables on a weekend so I'm doing okay.

In just over 2 months, my entire life and my financial identity is completely overhauling. My life and financial identity compared to three years ago has also completely changed.

I work in finance, I manage my own finances (with the help of Jamie who is like my personal accountant because he can do math in his head at insane speeds and notice trends in your spending that you will never notice) and so I thought I would share with you my ultimate financial checklist.

Being in your early 20's is the time that your life will transition repeatedly. You might make friends and lose them, you might go on holiday, have your heart broken, meet the love of your life and finally establish your independence but whilst you're learning the world, you need to learn how to look after your money and how to make your money look after you.

Below is my ultimate financial checklist to aid you through your 20's and 30's. These don't just apply to that age group though, you can start and change your life at any time!

1. Budget

You can't spend what you don't have.

2. Track your expenses. 

 Notice a trend in your spending and prevent overspending. Again, you can't spend what you don't have.

3. Help to Buy

I have rented twice and it has been the worst experience of my life and unbelievably expensive. At the end, I won't even own the home that I'm paying for! Help to Buy schemes make paying for and owning your own home more 'do-able' and saving for a mortgage not so much of a daunting prospect.

4. Find a career

It's never too late to find out what you what you want to do with your life. Why waste your time slaving away at an underpaid job you hate when you could be climbing your way up the ladder of your dreams?

Credit: Pinterest.com

5. Get a car

Freedom.

Although extra money outgoing, you will find yourself more independence and it will open up more career opportunities as well as the option to live 'out of range' of said career.

At least get a license. A lot of jobs ask you if you have your own transport. If you say no but that you have a license then they can even give you a car as part of your contract as a company perk.

6. Pay your debt

Debt is a viscous cycle that will only get worse. Red letters are scary territory and can cause complications in the long run.

7. Pay your Student Loans off

You may never pay off your Student Loan but the more you contribute, the less they whack on that interest.

8. Pension Schemes

Even if you're 18 and you've just left college, in your first 'pit stop' job that you don't intend to do for the rest of your life. Contribute a small % each month into a pension scheme to secure your future. When you leave that job, take your little nest egg with you and put it in savings. You won't notice the pounds leaving your account each month but will notice the larger lump sum you've built up later on.

9. Monitor your taxes

Tax codes in particular are sneaky and you could end up being owed money or underpaying tax and getting fined. Monitor your taxes and report any errors immediately to protect your money. Research taxing, tax codes and how it applies to you to understand your paycheck each month.

Whenever I receive a paycheck or a letter from HMRC, I check out www.gov.uk and links like this one to make sure that my finances are what they should be.

10. Savings account

It's not a nice experience living paycheck to paycheck, especially if you are renting/have a mortgage and bills. Have a savings account. Have many savings accounts. Don't let yourself experience unnecessary stress or money worries when you can put aside a small amount of money each month. Once you start putting money away and adjust to 'living without' that money (although it is always accessible), you won't even notice it's gone but if something happens (like job loss) then you'll have a comfort blanket to fall back on until you sort yourself out again.

11. Build your credit

The younger you start, the more you'll build and the better off you'll be in the long run. You can research in depth how to build credit but simple things like having a phone contract, paying bills on time, having a credit card and paying it off immediately, setting up manageable direct debits, all contribute.

12. Cancel the overdraft

And if you really feel that you need an overdraft, pay it off as soon as you get paid. Don't let interest build and debt spiral. Interest on overdrafts, particularly unplanned overdrafts can really damage your financial identity.

13. Bargain Hunt

Price comparison sites are a God Send and 10p noodles aren't that bad with a decent sauce over them. Don't waste your money unnecessarily and don't feel bad for finding the best deal that's right for you and your money.

14. Get work experience

Some say it's more important than education (hmmm). The world is a tough and scary place. Showing that you worked for little to no money whilst going to college is actually pretty impressive. It's sort of like 'levelling up' in a game. You worked a couple of weeks out of the summer or a few weekends at an internship but to a company, they see you as trained, experienced and someone capable of doing a job. It makes your CV more employable over someone who has done little to nothing.

15. House share

Splitting the bills and other things is always better than dealing with it alone.

16. Pay your bills on time

They will fine you and again, it can damage your financial identity if you are a repeat offender.

17. Get a high interest bank/savings account 

You work hard for your money so why don't earn money for having money?

18. Use tools 

Banking apps, money management sites/apps - be organised with your finances. I have a banking app and use Personal Capital's Free Financial Tools to monitor my finances all hours of the day.

19. Set up direct debits 

You will never forget the quarterly council tax bill again.

20. Consider living at home

I was pretty naive when I moved out. I had just got my first fixed term (not permanent) job and rushed into the first place I could find. Between phone bills, rent, council tax, water, gas, electricity, insurance, admin fees...the list goes on, I did not know where my money was coming and going. Consider staying in the Council tax free, reduced rent comfort of your parents home that little bit longer, save some cash, go on holiday and really research what you are doing.

21. Invest

If you're business savvy then invest your money and reap the rewards. I know people with shares in Krispy Kreme and those that live at home with their parents whilst renting out their home as well as working.

22. Have a piggy bank

Seems silly but every penny or 5 pence piece you would normally disregard, put into a jar and exchange it with your bank when it's full. The last time Jamie did that, he clocked in over a 100 pounds. Not bad for just throwing the odd penny in there.

*****

So that is my financial checklist that I recommend to you.

Do you have a financial checklist? What are your money management tips and techniques? Comment/link me below or find me on social media! 

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