Let’s face it: money is easy for barely anyone, and particularly not in this day and age when everything seems to be so expensive. Luckily, there are ways for you to cut back in your everyday life so that you can have a much easier financial life. Here are some tips…
Make A Household Budget
First of all, it’s crucial that you make a household budget. You might be wondering where exactly all your money goes and here’s your chance to find out. Make sure that you line up your incomings and outgoings together, and make sure that your outgoings don’t exceed your incomings – you don’t want to be spending more than you earn, after all! You should ensure that you put down all of what you spend on the table – you might not think it’s expensive to buy a coffee and sandwich for lunch every day but things like that can really add up over time.
Pay Your Bills When They Arrive
There’s nothing that will make you feel more on top of your finances than paying bills the same day that you receive them. Doing this has other benefits than making you feel like a total financial wizard – it’ll also mean that you don’t stash them in a drawer for safe keeping and then totally forget about them, and it’ll mean that your bills won’t stack up and mean that you have a huge amount of money coming out of your account at some point.
Look Out For Deals
The first rule of deals is that you should only go for them if it’s something that you know that you’ll use – remember that stores essentially just want you to spend money, and if it isn’t something you would have been buying anyway then you’re wasting money instead of saving it! There’s no point in spending your whole life trekking around grocery stores with your hands full of coupons but it is a good idea to look for bargains in the things that you really need and that you buy some things in bulk like pet food and toilet paper – just make sure that you have somewhere to keep it! No one wants to have to build a coffee table out of excess tins of sweetcorn and pretend it’s an art installation.
Cook From Scratch
One of the best and healthiest ways that you can save money is to make sure that you cook all your food from scratch. Start buying more fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry and fish at the grocery store, and follow online recipes instead of using store bought sauces and meals. Batch cooking on a Sunday can help you if you’re worried about time pressures during the week, and you can also make sure that you plan out your meals carefully so that you buy the right amount of food and nothing goes to waste. It would be a little cruel to insist that you make perfect dinners from scratch every night, so cut yourself some slack – you can only do your best, after all.
Stop Using Your Cards
Using your cards constantly is a really great way to get into debt. It’s hard to figure out what exactly you’re spending if you’re just handing over your shiny credit card instead of paying in cash, so it’s time to take out the cash you want to spend each week and use only that. It will help you stick to your budget and it will also make you a lot more aware of how much you’re spending, meaning that you won’t be quite as tempted to throw away your hard earned cash on frivolous things.
Start Socialising Differently
It’s easy to spend far too much money on socialising – you figure that it’s okay because it’s important for you to see your friends, and of course that’s absolutely true. But it’s time to cut down on those lengthy dinners with lots of wine and cocktails at the bar afterwards – instead, go out for brunch or lunch or even coffee, or invite your friends over for a girly night where you can make popcorn and watch a movie together. Make sure that what you do suits every friend’s budget – you shouldn’t be at the whims of whichever of your friends gets paid the most all the time.
Quit The Gym
Let’s face it, that expensive gym membership you took out and that you don’t use nearly enough isn’t doing anyone except the gym itself any good. It’s time to quit the gym and to start keeping fit at home instead. You could devise a short exercise routine for yourself including push ups and sit ups or you could try out some yoga at home or you could even start jogging and do Couch To 5K (let’s dream big and tell yourself that you’ll be doing a marathon in aid of your favourite charity this time next year!). You don’t need expensive gym memberships, clothing or equipment to keep fit – all you really need is your own determination.
Look Online For Tips
It’s always a good idea to look online for any money saving tips. Let’s face it, if you’re not used to staying on top of your finances, then other people will automatically know more than you do, and you can always pick up ideas from articles like this one, or others with titles like ‘100 easy money-saving ideas’ or ‘Ways to make sure that your family stays frugal’. Following money-saving blogs will help you challenge yourself to save more and to be more careful with your cash.
Ask For More Money At Work
Here is a fact: you probably aren’t being paid enough. Companies will generally get away with giving you the absolute least amount of money that they possibly can, so it’s time for you to ask for more, particularly if you feel as though you’ve been doing a great job lately and your review is coming up. There’s no point in asking for the moon – but a reasonable raise is something that any good boss should consider. If it’s impossible, it’s time to start looking for another job – money is a way that companies show that they value you, and asking for more money is a way for you to show that you value yourself.
Save On Your Energy Bills
Over the winter you probably watched in absolute horror as your energy bills went through the roof as you switched on the heating to stay warm and cozy at home. Although it’s getting warmer now, you should still make sure that your roof is insulated and that your windows and doors are free of any cracks that might be letting cold air seep into your lovely warm house. You should also cover the floors with rugs to stop heat escaping that way, and make sure that you open your curtains to let sunlight flood into your rooms to warm them up too. (Just beware that that can show off the dust that you may or may not have allowed to accumulate over the winter!)
Talk To A Professional
Finally, one of the best ways to get financially in tune with yourself is to talk to a professional. Make an appointment with your bank or with a financial advisor and make sure that you write down a list of questions to ask before you go in there so you don’t forget anything. Talking to a professional will give you some more hints and tips for the future and most importantly, it will reassure you that you’re doing the absolute best you can.