The age old proclamation of ‘where has my money gone?’ resonates with those of us who are shocked at the state of our bank balance at the end of the month.
If like most of us you suspect that you are probably overspending, here are our top five tips to remedy your leaking pockets:
Freeze those credit cards
It’s an old trick but it works. If you’re finding it a struggle to pay off your credit card bill every month, it’s time to stop spending and start managing your plastic. And for those occasions when temptation might prove too great, prepare by putting your credit card in an old ice- cream tub, filling with water and popping straight in the freezer. If you still feel tempted to spend, the time it takes to defrost a block of ice will give you plenty of time to mull over the consequences of interest only payments.
Shopping – any type of shopping – relies a fair amount on the whimsical and care-free nature of the impulse buy. If the online basket is full or you’ve convinced yourself that the item is absolutely necessary, name five reasons why you need it, make sure you can’t find it cheaper and then give yourself 24 hours before buying it. If, after this self-imposed time-out, you’re still 100% sure then it’s probably a good investment. However, we’ll bet that most of the time you’ll find that the money’s more important than the item.
Have a ‘stop spending’ month
Sound impossible? This new fad is a great kick-start to saving or getting your finances in order. By cutting out all spending for one month, you’d be shocked on how much you actually spend on non-essentials. Rent and bills aside, transport, food and luxury items could all be cut out and the money saved to wipe out debt. You’ll also be surprised at how much food or how many toiletries most of us have hidden away. By not buying anything new, not only can we save money, but we can also use up things we might otherwise waste. So raid your store cupboard and brush off your bike and start saving more money today
Have a target to your saving and tape a picture of the goal to your credit card
Whether it’s a trip to Bali or a new home, having a visual reminder of your financial goal will motivate you daily to keep your cash in your pocket. Make it as personal as possible to you and your goal and it will make you feel a lot more positive when saving becomes a bore. Trust us – it’s a lot more difficult to feel sorry for yourself on a night in when you’re dreaming of your dream holiday/home/university degree or new car.
Cut your bills and your house will save for you
There is no greater hindrance to your saving scheme than an unexpected bill. Unfortunately we all have to pay our bills. However, there are ways to keep them as low as possible and avoid any nasty surprises. Firstly, make sure your home is as energy-efficient as possible – heating your home can be expensive so make sure it’s staying inside where it counts. It goes without saying that you should make sure that your home is on the cheapest tariff in your area (there’s no sense in you paying more for the same electricity as your neighbour after all) and above all, make every little count by making sure your heating and electricity are only used when necessary. If your energy bills are already low, see if you can save on your internet, TV or insurance costs. Just a little vigilance and you’d be shocked at how much you can save.
Blog: Money saving tips that will shock even the most frugal! Ever used your pets’ hair to make clothes?