If you want to improve your financial situation, then Mary Waring, author of The Wealthy Woman (rrp £12.99) has these 7 steps to help you get started.
1. Calculate your starting point
Work out the value of everything you own, (your house, car, investments, pensions etc) and deduct the value of everything you owe (your mortgage, credit card balances, HP etc.). The difference is your net worth.
This will be your staring point and base calculation. Now set a target for what you want this to increase to over the next six months or 12 months.
2. Control your debt
If you have large balances on your credit card and only pay off the minimum each month you are paying a huge amount of interest which can mean a purchase will cost three to four times the original amount!
So before you put a purchase on plastic consider how much it will cost you to pay it back in total, and ask yourself: "Do I still want to buy it on credit?"
3. Save before you spend
If you plan to save what balance you have left in your bank account at the end of the month, invariably there won't be anything left. A better option is to have a standing order each month that goes out of your account as soon as your income comes in. That way your savings will be taken care of. In many cases you may not even realise you have less spending money available.
4. Save regularly even if it's only a small amount
For example, if you were to invest your child benefit (currently £20.30 per week) from the day your child is born until they are aged 18 and get a 10% return each year, at the age of 18 that would be worth over £53,000. That’s enough to fund university, provide a deposit on a property, fund a gap year etc.
5. Monitor your spending
If you think you don't have enough money to save, keep a detailed record of all that you spend, including cash, over a three-month period.
When you have completed the three-month exercise, review each item on the list and consider "how can I reduce it?"
The exercise is designed to make you more aware of what you're spending your money on, and to see whether there are options to reduce your costs.
6. Review everything regularly
Doing the above exercises is not a one off. Over time bad habits can creep back in. So repeat all this on a regular basis to ensure your money is working hard for you.
Set regular targets for what you want your net worth to increase to and then monitor your progress.
The important thing to remember is that this is an ongoing process and not something you can do once and forget about.
7. Enjoy your money
Don't be fearful of dealing with your finances. If you approach each of the exercise with the attitude that it won't work or you'll hate doing it, then that's exactly what you'll get. So find a way to make the process enjoyable and rewarding.
Everyone will approach these exercises differently. What's important is that you find a way that works for you. Follow the steps to improve your financial position in the knowledge that small steps on a regular basis can lead to a significant increase in your wealth.
There’s more money-saving advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.