In Partnership with Everyday Loans
When it comes to keeping on top of our finances, many of us choose to ignore our bank accounts, turning a blind eye in case we don’t like what we see. Yet, this feeling of dread and worry every time you check your bank balance can easily be avoided.
Taking the time to truly understand your finances, where you’re overspending, where you can afford to save, can leave you with the knowledge that your money is being spent wisely. Plus, you’ll know roughly where your finances should be at any given time during the month or year – hello, worry free life!
So, how can you refresh your finances? We’ve spoken to Everyday Loans to find out more.
How much are you spending?
Firstly, how much are you spending per month? If you don’t know the answer, then create a budget sheet and input your income and list all your outgoings such as your utilities and other standard living costs such as petrol, alongside any other regular payments you make such as depositing money into your savings, morning coffees etc.
This will allow you to see if you’re spending beyond your means. If your total expenditure totals more than your income per month, then it’s not just time to get your bills decreased, it’s time to give your lifestyle an overhaul too.
You’ll also be able to see how much you are spending over the year. Did you know the average person spends around £700 per year on coffee?
Same thing, less money
Most of us would be horrified to find out we’re spending over the odds for an item we can get for less elsewhere. We’ve all become rather lazy when it comes to seeking out ways to save money on everything from our car insurance to our food shop. But the fact is we can get the same product for less if we just put a little time and effort into the task.
Here’s where you could be saving:
- Changing gas, electricity and water provider
- Checking your council tax band is correct
- Switching internet and phone provider, especially if coverage is poor
- Swapping items on the food shop
- Checking insurance is the cheapest it can be – car, home, pet, life, mortgage, boiler cover etc.
- TV – Sky, Virgin, BT etc.
- Looking into monthly subscription services such as Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime etc.
- Transferring credit card debt
- Saving on your mortgage
- Cutting loans
- Changing phones contract
- Changing bank accounts to take advantage of sign up fees
Are you still spending too much?
If, after you’ve checked if you could be getting something cheaper elsewhere, you are still in debt, then it’s time to make a serious change to your spending habits. Living a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget, can lead you into a downward spiral of paying for things you don’t truly need.
It’s time to cut-back.
The above step was about detailing changes which would have made a positive impact on your bank balance and have allowed you to live a similar lifestyle to what you are used to. If money is still proving tight, then it’s time to overhaul your finances and make a change which will have an impact on your lifestyle, but ultimately lead your bank balance into a better place.
Where can you cut-back and stop spending excessively? If you aren’t making use of all your Sky channels and packages, then switch to Freeview. Are you buying lunch every day? Then make a resolution to take something from home. Do you need to buy a newspaper each day or magazine every month when it’s easy to read online for free?
Making small changes similar to the above will all add up over the year.
Finally, it can become much easier to make changes to your finances and cut-back, if you know that you are working towards a goal. Therefore, to spur you on set a financial target that you want to reach.
Whether it’s to have enough money for a holiday, a night-out once a month or to save up for a house deposit – whatever it is, working towards it will help you to make the necessary changes in order to achieve that target.
Follow these money saving hacks
Us consumers are often loyal to the brands we know and trust, but there are plenty of similar products on the market that offer you exactly the same, for less. In fact, many of your favourite branded products are often made in the very same factory as supermarket-own versions – it’s just the packaging which is different.
It can pay to be disloyal in terms of where you shop and the products you buy, and while it may take a bit of extra time to go between supermarkets to purchase all of the products you need, just think of the money that you will save. The average UK family spends around £58.80 per week on food, however a study found that shopping around could save you as much as 60% on your total.
Take advantage of these shops to bag a bargain:
- Aldi stocks many award-winning wines for as little as £5
- Poundland is home to many ‘treat’ items such as Cadbury’s chocolate, branded crisps and biscuits. Plus, they have a range of household items for you guessed it – £1!
- Approved Food sells discounted foods in large volumes, so if you want to bulk buy items such as coffee, chocolate bars and cereals head there
- Also, look out for discounted food items which supermarkets have to sell off due to their sell-by dates. Items such as fruit, vegetables and bread often last beyond their stickered date