Golden rules for healthy finances

When it comes to achieving and maintaining healthy finances, unfortunately there is no magic wand you can wave and suddenly have all your problems solved. However there are a number of golden rules for personal finance that, with a little hard work and effort, will gradually get you ahead financially.

1. Pay off credit card debt

Credit card debt is one of the major blights on personal finances in the UK. Interest rates tend to be high and, when consumers only make the minimum payment, can build up and increase your overall debt. And if you don't pay off your credit card in full every month, you'll end up paying more for goods and services than you would if you paid in cash.

2. Spend less than you earn

This isn't only one of the most important golden rules for finances, it's also a golden rule for happiness. A few cost-cutting measures can add up to big savings overall.

3. Make a budget - and stick to it

A monthly budget is one of the best tools at your disposal for keeping on top of your spending. Be honest about your incomings and outgoings; record them all over the course of a month and see how they weigh up. Then, where needed, identify areas where you can make savings. Allow yourself treats occasionally for sticking to your budget and achieving your financial goals.

4. Have a good retirement plan

The longer you put off planning for retirement, the more of an uphill struggle you will face. Start making regular pension contributions as soon as possible.

5. Pay yourself first

It may be clichéd, but this is one of the best golden financial rules to give your savings a boost. Set up a direct debit from your current account to your savings account and time it so that it happens the day after your salary comes through.

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