Keeping finances in check can be a headache for people of any age but, for millennials, those pressures can be that much more acute.
Making your way through the initial stages of a career or taking first steps onto the housing ladder can be tricky, so what can you do to make life a bit easier in 2017? Here are five areas that could help you take control of your finances and make your money work harder for you.
1. Become better educated about your finances
The more you know about finance, the more you can do about it. Information on any range of subjects is more readily available than ever before, whether on a personal finance sites or via an app such as invstr, and often broken down into bitesize pieces. From understanding the benefits and pitfalls of inflation to keeping a trained eye on interest rates, gaining some understanding of how finance operates will go a long way to enabling you to understand where the money drains are, and the best possible actions you can take to solve them.
2. Clear your debts
With interest rates already on the up and set to rise higher in 2017, it's good news for savers but testing times for borrowers. For every penny you owe, you'll owe that little bit more next year - if you don't get your books balanced. When it comes to being in control, the power lies in the hands of the lenders, so take it back by whittling down your debts. Chip away by paying more than the minimum payments, or clear your credit card at the end of every month.
3. Invest for financial freedom
Investing is no longer the closed shop it once was. Historically, the large banks have been happy enough to manage investors' money and keep hold of the information. For those wanting to become involved, it was too tough, or too expensive. Now, with app technology providing cheap and easy-to-understand platforms to appeal to all users, anyone can become involved and only require small change to do it.
With a little research, it is becoming easier to spot the market trends and hot buys, and avoid the dodgy assets. With the right know-how, investment doesn't have to be too risky and can reap healthy rewards.
4. Organise a proper budget
Think about ring-fencing the different areas of your life and organising a pot for each. What's your disposable income? How much goes on living? How much can you save? And then how much do you have left for fun? More savers are coming on to the 50/20/30 rule - where half of your income goes on living, a fifth goes on saving and the remaining 30% goes on enjoyment. This way, you can also easily see where you are being challenged, and how you can cut back in other areas where you're overspending.
5. Curb the extravagance
As we enter the New Year, there is more optimism than in recent years about the direction the economy has been going in. That's great for big business, but for the masses that means inflation, which means prices for your day-to-day extravagances are sure to go up. Still enjoy that beer or bottle of wine, but drink one less, or hold a glass until the following day. A small corner cut in one area, can alleviate some real pressure elsewhere.
There really are any number of ways to make your money work for you in 2017. Learn more about financial possibilities, and there's every chance for all millennials that you can take charge of your own financial future.