Smart changes and no-nonsense decision-making make all the difference between living beyond your means and slipping into debt, or living a happy life with minimal money worries. When your budget starts to look tight hit back to meet the challenge. Find online resources packed with practical advice on living through challenging financial times. You could even find yourself enjoy new things such as getting creative to up-cycle furniture, batch cooking with your friends and family to save on wastage, or planning a vintage wedding.
Start thinking about how best to stretch your pennies with these quick tips and then explore https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk for practical advice on how to boost your financial wellbeing, particularly when you are on benefits. The switch to the new Universal Credit, which is currently being rolled out, will make monthly budgeting even more important.
Maximise your income
Start by assessing your income channels. Is your employer offering any overtime you could take advantage of? Are you receiving all of the benefits you could be entitled to? Do you have any surplus items you could put up for sale on eBay or similar online marketplaces? Explore every option available to you to boost your income and you might not have so far to stretch to cover all of your monthly bills.
Swap and save
Every time you find yourself approaching the online or offline till, remember to investigate the value of every purchase you make before handing over your cash. Make a mental note to weigh up whether or not a more expensive item has more benefit in the long run than a cheaper version. Household cleaning products are a good place to start and the same is true of toiletries and basic cooking ingredients. Fancy packaging doesn’t guarantee a better grade of flour for example. Spend a little time reading the labels as this is where the really important details reside.
Use everything you have
Time runs away with the best of us. Racing from pillar and post is a big reason why many people find themselves spending more money than they can afford every day. Grabbing food during your lunch hour or making fast purchases on the fly so you turn up looking prepared can prove costly. Thinking ahead stops circumstantial spending and reduces waste. As a nation we waste £12 billion in unused food each and every year, as reported by the BBC. Claw back some of those pounds and pennies by batch cooking once a week after a full grocery shop and making soups to freeze from any vegetables that won’t make the dinner plate in their prime.
Budget your time too
You can enjoy your life and avoid the stress of overstretching yourself financially by working out a weekly or monthly budget. Not only can a budget help you cover essential bills and carve out savings, it can also help you spend time with loved ones. By highlighting birthdays ahead of time you can shop around for affordable and thoughtful gifts, plan your travel to visit family by booking tickets in advance or sharing lifts.
Accepting last-minute party invitations can be pricey. Work out what you can afford to do and avoid expensive situations such as spontaneous drinks with work colleagues, a shopping trip to brighten up a rainy day or eating out because the cupboard is bare.