Checking our bank balance isn’t just about knowing where we are, although that’s step one. It is about stopping to think about money more often. It’s a daily reminder of what’s gone out already and how much we can afford to spend today. Bought the kids a treat yesterday? Does that mean we have to tighten our belts a little today?
Many of us set up Direct Debit payments in return for discounted gas and electric or just for peace of mind. But we need to keep track of exactly when they go out so that doesn’t leave us short. If they fall on a weekend date one month, that will
change the date the money disappears.
For people moving onto Universal Credit (UC), this could be a new discipline. Rent money comes to the claimant first and we want to know it’s gone on to the landlord like clockwork. On UC, it’s always worth checking what’s come in and that it’s what the Journal says we should have been expecting. And talking of the Journal, it’s worth checking that daily too.
Maybe create one routine to check it at the same time as looking up what’s in the bank. If we cannot check our balance easily, we could change how we use our bank account. We might register for daily text alerts. Or set up telephone or online banking. Fine, if there’s a cashpoint within five minutes’ walk but there are easier ways to achieve the first rule of the Finance 5-A-Day.