Are you sick of living from paycheck to paycheck? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone — a recent survey found that a quarter of British adults have no savings whatsoever. Being in that sort of financial situation makes emergencies or even irregular events like birthdays significantly harder to handle.
The answer is rarely as simple as getting a raise or looking for a higher-paid job — but there are steps you can take to make your money go further. Here are four tips for starters.
1. Track your spending
As a nation we’re relying less and less on cash, while some European countries are close to fully embracing a cashless society. There may be several clear benefits to this shift but spending solely on your card can make it easy to lose track of how much you’re paying out — or even feel like you’re not using real money at all.
Tracking exactly where you’re spending will help you identify key areas you can save in. You could spot unused subscriptions that you’d forgotten about or realise just how much you’re spending every week on takeaway coffees.
2. Learn to budget
The next step isn’t necessarily exciting — but budgeting should be one of your most effective money management tools. By making a plan for every penny month on month, you’ll be able to prioritise essentials like food and bills and avoid overspending in other areas too.
If you do still want to consider alternative financial routes, such as a loan to cover a large upcoming spend, you’ll be able to factor this in and adjust your budget accordingly.
3. Shop around
Many of your bills such as your utilities, mobile phone and broadband will be made up of scheduled payments that automatically renew year after year. While it’s easy to let everything keep ticking over as normal, you’ll rarely get the same deals as new customers, so it’s worth shopping around for a better price.
As a loyal customer who’s threatening to leave, you also have a certain amount of negotiating power. If you’d prefer to stick with the same providers, call up and go through the process of cancelling – you may be offered a discount to encourage you to stay.
4. Sell unwanted items
What about making money back on what you already own? Getting rid of unwanted clothes, toys and even furniture on online marketplace sites like eBay and Gumtree is a relatively quick and easy way to earn yourself an unexpected cash boost.
All you need is a few photos, an accurate description and a plan for how you’ll deliver your unwanted items. Doing so will help to give your home a clear out — and it’s better for the environment than throwing them away too.
Do you feel motivated to make your money go further? Try a few of these four tips to see if you can enjoy better financial health.