In the UK, the average family would only have enough money to last for 3 weeks if they lost their jobs. The fact is, as a Nation, we do not manage finances well.
So, be different.
This needn’t mean extreme cuts. Just start off small and increase your savings incrementally. The first thing to do is draw up a proper budget.
• You should learn how to budget
A budget is simply a record of your income against your expenditure. First, you settle the ‘needs’. These are things like accommodation, food, transport, and debt payments. Then come your savings and finally, your ‘wants’.
A clear budget will prevent you from spending too much on non-essential items and paying those high interest rates.
• Lose your credit cards
Try to go without your credit cards. It may be difficult in the beginning but eventually you’ll get used to it.
Also, try to use your credit cards for emergencies only, paying the full balance at the end of the interest free period.
• Pay yourself first
You work hard to get your money. So, isn’t it time your money work as hard for you?
Set up a direct debit to transfer a percentage of your money to your savings before you spend any of it on your ‘wants’.
• Stop paying that much tax
One of the best ways of ensuring you only pay the minimum is to submit your tax return on time. Advice is available from HM Revenue and Customs’ website. There’s information on how to save money tax-free, how to claim tax credits and how to get income tax allowances and relief.
• ‘Bargains’ are rarely true bargains
Make ‘quality, not quantity’ your mantra.
Try to buy only what you truly need. Don’t feel bad if you overspend on the odd occasion but ensure it is really just the odd occasion. Go for items that will serve you well for the next couple of years.
• The chic of second-hand
Everyone who’s anyone now spends those rainy Saturdays trawling round the charity shops. Who would’ve thought you could shop for a good cause?
• Reduce, reuse, recycle and repair
Limit what you buy and that will save you money.
Add the other 3 commandments of frugality wherever possible and you’ll save even more.