Following the pinch of Christmas, January’s bank balance can confront us with a bit of a shock. It might be time to make some important financial decisions, so CAP has composed a questionnaire that will give you an idea of where you’re at:
1. Are you aware of where your money goes each month? (E.g. Direct Debits, bills, credit card or overdraft payments.)
a) I am always aware of all my outgoings.
b) I am aware of most of my outgoings.
c) I don’t always know where a lot of my money has gone each month.
d) I pay very little attention to where my money goes each month.
2. How much is in your current account?
b) I’m not sure but I know I’m in the black.
c) I think I’m a little way into my overdraft.
d) I have absolutely no idea.
3. Where does most of your excess money go?
a) Into a savings and investment.
b) I save some, but spend most of it on holidays and activities.
c) I buy a lot of clothes/books and somehow seem to save very little between paydays.
d) I splurge on treats and things I don’t need, and regularly overspend.
4. Do you live by a budget?
a) Yes, very strictly; and if I need to spend over my budget I account for it and make sure I spend less next month.
b) I have a rough budget and try to live by it, but sometimes I overspend.
c) I made a budget a few years ago but it’s probably out of date now.
5. Do you generally pay for things with cash or card?
a) I always use cash, and if I pay with card I write details on the receipt and keep it for my records.
b) I generally use cash because it’s easier to keep track of how much I’ve spent.
c) I usually pay with card but very rarely pay for things on credit.
d) I use whatever plastic is to hand.
6. What happens when you buy presents for friends and family?
a) I decide how much to spend and never go over.
b) I agree a mutual budget with the other person but if I go a little over it’s okay.
c) I tend to buy what I know the person will like, even if it’s a bit too expensive.
d) I often forget what I’ve bought for them and keep buying more and more things.
7. How often do you reassess what your money goes on?
a) Once or twice a month.
b) Three or four times a year.
c) Maybe once a year.
d) I’ve never assessed my finances in my life.
8. Do you manage to keep on top of your debts?
a) What debts?
b) Yes, they rarely cause a problem.
c) I just about keep up, but I sometimes miss payments.
d) I’m always behind on repayments and interest builds up quickly.
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