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Do you know how much you can afford to spend each month, or do you keep using you cards and then lie awake at night working out how you’ll pay for everything?
With Brexit just over a year away, businesses concerned about the future and the world in a volatile place, money worries are on the rise, as are prices, and debt seems to be a bigger issue for many people.
While rent and council tax take up a big chunk of incomes, those large costs often aren’t the problem, it’s the smaller bills that add up and the unexpected expenses that can cause stress.
We have had a look at how to keep on top of things so you don’t feel like you’re going under every time you look at your statement.
Have a budget
Yes, it sounds simple but sometimes going back to basics can be a good idea. Making a list of the money coming in and out each month lets you see exactly what is happening with your finances, rather than burying your head in the sand. Firstly look at income, then list all of your fixed costs and should including your housing, utility bills, standing orders, car payments, insurance and phone bills. Then look at your fluctuating costs such as food shopping, entertainment, holidays, pets and anything else you have to cover. With all of this in hand you can work out how much is left, or not, and where changes could potentially be made.
Shop for the bargains
We all like nice things, but there are many savings to be had out there, and deals can really help keep you buoyant. Buying presents in the sales, stocking up on school uniform when it’s half price and shopping around for cheaper car insurance might seem like an extra job to add to your list, but the pounds soon add up. It is also worth looking at the money off vouchers on leaflets, loyalty cards and incentives as these can make a real difference to your pocket.
Another way of saving money is by actually only buying the food you need and not letting fresh items go to waste. Before you go shopping, work out what you are going to eat in the week, include packed lunches and snacks, and only buy those items. Yes, BOGOF might seem like a deal you can’t miss out on, but when that extra cake or loaf of bread goes mouldy, you haven’t saved anything at all.If there are items deals going cheap at the end of the day, buy them but only if you are going to eat or freeze them straight away.
Turn off your lights
It is amazing how many people leave lights on, have the heating burning at full blast when they are out and let the water run as they brush their teeth. All of these things cost money, so turn things down and switch them off if you want to save money, and the environment.
Second hand options
Vintage, retro, upcycle are all on trend and for a good reason, they offer value. You don’t have to buy everything new and if you go to charity shops, car boot sales and auctions, you will amazed at the bargains there are to be had.
Rainy day fund
We all like to think the unexpected won’t happy to us, but it does. If you can, try to save a little money each month so that if the car does break down or the boiler goes wrong, you have a buffer and don’t hit the red.
Keep on track
Once you have your finances in place, don’t them slip. Making lists, having a database and checking your online banking on a weekly basis can help you keep on track. If you do feel things are spiralling out of control, talk things over with a trusted friend or speak to Citizens Advice Bureau but don’t let the bills pile up and the stress get on top of you.