This has been a tough 12 months for many. With unemployment figures staying high and job uncertainty still rife as the furlough scheme continues until later this year, workers are finding it difficult to know how to manage their finances right now.

However, there are signs of progress and things are beginning to look up. As the country slowly eases out of lockdown, restaurants are searching for waiting staff and retail outlets are seeing surge in footfall. This indicates that fortunes are changing for employees and there’s a chance that things will get back on track after a long third lockdown.

Wherever you stand, whether you’ve been working right through, you’ve been furloughed, or you’ve had to seek a new role, it’s worth taking the time to weigh up your current financial position. Maybe you’re searching for ways to earn more or perhaps you want to budget better. Whatever you’re looking for, read on for some finance tips.

Make a budget

This is a great jumping off point for any financial overhaul. It can be easy to lose track of what you’re paying for, especially if you’re trying to juggle work life with family life. But by sitting down and creating a realistic budget, you’ll find ways to manage your money better.

First, take a look at your bank statements for the last six months. Highlight your income and then look at your outgoings. This will flag areas where you might be paying more than you’d like on certain things. For instance, how much is your car insurance? How much does the weekly food shop come to? If it’s been a while since you looked at switching energy and insurance providers or since you looked at your weekly food bill, this is the time to do it.

From there, you can work out how much of your salary goes towards the essentials each month. You can budget for bills, leisure, and any regular outgoings such as clothes for the kids.

Anything left over? Set up a savings account. This pot of money can be then used for an emergency, such as a boiler breakdown, or for annual events like Christmas or birthdays.

Earn more money

Maybe you want to get some additional funds to cover your hobby or perhaps you plan on saving up for a new car. Whatever the reason for wanting to earn additional money, there are different ways to earn extra cash.

First, try selling your unwanted items. Do you have a music collection that you once adored but you’re happy to sell on? Maybe there’s furniture that you’ve stored in the attic and isn’t being used? Or you might want to sell your clothes on? Gather everything you no longer need and list it on a local community page or reselling site.

Alternatively, you might want to try dabbling in the markets. Once seen as something for trained traders, now there is access to a range of platforms that can be accessed on the go. Forex is one of the most accessible trading routes, and there are dedicated brokers that provide access to things like the Metatrader 4, which allows you to try your hand at the markets and customise it to suit your needs.

If you’re skilled in something, why not share your knowledge? Becoming a tutor is a great way to earn extra cash and you get to enjoy the thing you love. For example, if you’ve trained as a pianist, you could offer lessons. Alternatively, you might want to mentor students in maths or even provide proofreading services. Whatever you’re good at, try sharing it.

Set financial goals

Knowing what you want to achieve with your finances can help you get to where you need to be. Start with small goals that are achievable, such as opting to make lunch at home, and you’ll soon find that you have savings in your account that can go towards the larger goal of revamping the garden, for example.

Try to have a few smaller goals to attempt and one main goal to achieve. This will ensure you can keep on track and not become overwhelmed.

How are you planning on managing your finances in 2021?