Spending on special occasions: Keeping the purse strings tight

Rarely has budgeting and keeping a tight grip on the purse strings been so important as it is in these days of financial uncertainty.

Even though recent figures suggested that the UK may be beginning to climb slowly out of the recession, many households up and down the country continue to need to budget well.

However, there are occasions when an unexpected or one-off payment can suddenly throw all your well thought out calculations out of whack, leaving you with a big deficit in your finances.

These sorts of purchases can be unexpected with things breaking at the most inopportune time and needing a replacement or events and occasions you can plan for further down the line such as weddings and birthdays.

No-one wants to see big occasions spoiled by a lack of finances and, by the same measure, people don’t want their well-thought-out fiscal affairs blighted by an important piece of kit that needs replacing.

To deal with the first issue first, when it comes to those expensive eventualities that you know are planning, it’s essential to think well in advance.

So, if a close family member has got a big birthday on the horizon or there’s a wedding, a holiday or any other special event, it really does pay to think well in advance.

This means cutting costs in the run up the big day (or days) and making sure that you manage to find the cheapest deal going by shopping well in advance to save the most money.

In areas such as transport and accommodation you can save a huge amount of cash by booking well in advance and, as always, it’s essential to compare prices properly before committing to one company or service.

The general thing to remember is that, as important as this event or holiday may be, is it really worth jeopardizing your future finances for?

Keep your financial limitations in the forefront of your mind at all times and ensure you don’t overstretch and over commit yourself to debt management problems further down the line.

For things like accidents and unexpected expenses, there isn’t a great deal one can do to predict them, even if you had the most expensive crystal ball going.

Obviously prevention is better than the cure and you should always try keep the possibility of accidents as low as possible but the sad fact of life is that, at some point or another, something will go wrong.

To try and remedy this and reduce the impact as much as possible, insurance policies are always wise while having a little bit of savings to fall back on if things do get very bad is also a good option in the short term.

Approaching any sort of financial problem head on is always advised rather than burying your head in the sand and being, as the experts call it, a ‘financial ostrich’.

According to Barclays many people are refusing to be realistic about their financial situation and, as such, are suffering from ‘chronic Banxiety.’

Indeed, more than a third (36 per cent) said they regularly refused or put off opening bank statements.

Dan Wass, Barclays managing director of current accounts, said it was essential for people to be honest with themselves when it comes to their monetary situation.

“We’ve all been guilty at some point of sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to our finances,” he said.

“No-one really wants to know they don’t have enough money for something they’ve spotted in the shops do they?”

As well as making a concerted effort to budget for all eventualities, he said there were other nifty tools available for people.

“While the research may reveal that Banxiety is more common among the younger generation, luckily, there are some pretty quick and easy cures,” Mr Wass explained.

“Services such as mobile banking apps, SMS balance and limit alerts to keep people in touch with their bank balance at any time will help remove the dread-factor and reduce the nation’s symptoms.”

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that while many purchases are necessary and some are often unexpected, taking a more holistic approach to your budgeting can really help in the long term.

Spending on special occasions: Keeping the purse strings tight

Sweating the Big Stuff

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