Do you find that your expenses increase faster than the inflation rate? Do you wonder how can you can make your monthly budget last?
Make sure you have a budget
Establish exactly what you are spending your money on every month so that you can see where you might be able to cut back. Once you have identified where the money is actually going you can identify areas where you might be able to save.
Check your bank fees
Are you paying for services that you never use? Have you compared your banks’ charges with those of their competitors?
Don’t pay unnecessary service charges
If you draw cash from a bank other than your own you will usually pay additional charges.
Make sure you know the transaction fees if you draw from till points or transfer money to family.
Be aware that you start paying interest immediately when you draw cash on your credit card – you do not enjoy three or six months’ free interest.
Shop wisely – buy and sell
Consider saving on the full retail price by buying second hand, pre-loved or nearly new.
To make extra cash sell items that you do not need - everything from clothes to television sets can be bought and sold online.
Avoid hire purchase
Save up and buy with cash where possible because interest rates for hire purchase are high. You pay around 20% more over the repayment period than the original sticker price.
Would you buy that item if it cost 20% more?
Keeping up appearances
Don’t be tempted to “keep up with the neighbours”. Looks can be deceiving - they may drive a fancy car but you cannot see if they are in debt or whether they have any savings for the future.
Shop around but don’t drive all over to get a bargain because the petrol spent to get the discount might not make it worthwhile. If you know your prices buy long shelf-life items when they are on sale - for example toilet tissue, cleaning products and washing powder can be kept for a long time.
Use store coupons and discount vouchers
The main food retailers have loyalty programmes that can be tailored to your specific spending patterns.
Make sure you claim your points or vouchers but be aware of any monthly charges levied to belong to a rewards programme. Compare the charges with the savings because a reward scheme shouldn’t cost you money.
Drive at the speed limit
It saves fuel, reduces the chances of a speeding fine and could help to save your life.
Check your insurance
Make sure you are covered only for what you need. Remove items that you no longer have and add what you have bought since the last update. Make sure you are neither under- nor over-insured and that your premium is market related.
The cheapest premium isn’t always the best so be aware of exclusions and excesses and make sure you can afford the excess if you need to claim.
Are you hoping for a bonus payout after a specified time period if you do not claim? In most cases you can reduce your monthly premiums by not having a bonus scheme product. Rather take the saving from a risk product such as short-term insurance and invest it in an investment product.
Be wary of consolidating debt
You might pay a lower interest rate but it might well be over a longer period so the total interest paid will be higher. If you have debt issues, set up a debt plan with dates and goals to reduce the debt little by little. Do not give up.