Be fab with your finances

We use numbers in almost every aspect of our lives and in practical everyday activities at home, work and beyond. We use them when we go shopping or plan a holiday, adapt a recipe, decide on a mortgage, manage our diet or decorate a room. Good numeracy is essential to us as parents or grandparents helping our family to learn, as patients understanding health information and as citizens making sense of statistics and news. 

Decisions in life are so often based on numerical information; to make the best choices, we need to be confident with numbers. This is why National Numeracy Day, taking place on the 15thMay, is encouraging everyone to brush up on their numeracy skills and boost their confidence tackling numbers by taking the free online National Numeracy Challenge

One area where good numeracy is particularly important is managing your finances, so we’ve put together some top tips on how to be fab with your finances and make the most of your numerical know-how.

  • Start with belief in yourself. Confidence is the key to learning. If you give yourself the chance to learn and accept that mistakes are part of the process, your confidence with numbers will naturally grow. The first step to improving is believing that you can.

  •  Face down some maths myths.Changing the way that you think about numbers can make a real difference to your self-confidence. For starters, our ability to be good at maths isn’t something we are born with, the truth is we can all be numbers people.  
  • Take your time. If solving a sum makes you draw a mind blank, then you may be experiencing anxiety associated with feeling under pressure to work it out on the spot. But most of the maths we do every day does not need to be done on the spot or done in timed conditions. Take your time and allow yourself to think it through thoroughly. ​

  • Use a calculator. Don’t put yourself under pressure to calculate everything in your head. Any finance professional always has theirs in front of them so why wouldn’t you?

  • Keep control, even if you delegate. If someone else handles your finances make sure you are closely involved in the process. Always examine the figures before making any decisions, so that you are in command of your financial situation both now and later down the line. 

  • Check your understanding of percentages. This is an area where many people struggle, and it features in nearly all the financial decisions you will make in life. Do you use the percentage button on your calculator? The difference between 0.2% and 1% may not seem much but on a sizeable loan or investment this can make a huge difference both now, and how it plays out over time. 

  • Check your numeracy skills. Our ability with numbers can fluctuate throughout life. If you suspect you may be out of practice and could benefit from taking steps to improve, then the National Numeracy Challenge can help.