Eight of the Easiest Ways to Make Your Money Go Further

For many of us, economizing is essential, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. No matter whether we’re having to scale back to make ends meet or because we have a certain financial goal we’re working toward, it’s difficult finding a way to do it without making your life utterly miserable.

At least, that’s how it can appear on the surface. The reality is rather different. In fact, reducing your spending can actually be incredibly simple, so long as you’re committed to your cause and know how to go about it.

With lots of bite-sized steps to make building your bank balance easier, here are a few of our top tips and tricks to help make your money go further.

Be wise and budget

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The simplest place to start when it comes to scaling back spending is with a budget, so we suggest spending some time sat down, concocting a plan. We don’t mean working out some vague abstract notion of what you’re going to do, but actually pulling out a chair, grabbing a notepad and pen and writing some handy calculations to guide your hand. The first step is to jot down a cash flow statement – essentially, what money is coming in and what’s going out. Once you have this, take that second figure and split it in two: how much of the money is spent on what you ‘need’ and how much goes on what you ‘want’. This will provide you with two essential insights: where your money is going and where it’s being wasted. Once you have this to work with, it’s time to focus on reducing the latter figure: websites like Money Saving Expert will become your new best friends, helping you to spot deals on essentials and on luxuries. Speaking of which…

Do everything at a discounted price

No matter how good you are at budgeting, there are still going to be certain necessities you need to spend on, as well as certain luxuries you’re not willing to sacrifice. In these instances, it’s no good burying your head in the sand and ignoring your outlay so as not to worry yourself. It’s better to be proactive and one way to do this is by shopping around for discounts. These can be found in every sector, so never buy on impulse or solely for your personal ease. Instead, look around for bargains, whether it’s discounted loaves of bread from your local supermarket come day’s end or casino bonuses from Oddschecker to make your money go further. The latter may not count as a necessity, but the reality is that you do have to have the occasional instance where you spend a little extra on enjoying yourself. Being economical in your choices will make all the difference.

Start saying ‘no’

With the above in mind, you nonetheless have to create some semblance of balance, which means familiarizing yourself with saying ‘no’: to yourself, to your friends and to anyone or anything that will require you to spend money you don’t have. Though it’s fine to occasionally be naughty, you’re never going to realize your financial goals if you’re forever breaking the rules you have set. This means there’ll be times where you have to look at what you’ve already spent and pass on those after-work drinks or that slap-up meal with your special someone.

Don’t buy it just because it’s a bargain

We mentioned above that you should always have an eye out for discounts, but we ought to qualify that statement a little further by saying a bargain is only a bargain if it’s something you need. What we mean by that is that you must school yourself into the habit of only purchasing goods and services you genuinely require, no matter how enticing something’s price looks on paper. If you don’t have to have it, don’t buy it, irrespective of special offers and their appeal. Even at 50 per cent off, an unnecessary buy is still money poorly spent.

Compare providers

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Another tip-top tip for those hoping to make their money go further is to review all of your existing outlays and compare them to alternative providers and the deals they could offer. We’re talking about everything from your phone contract to your home and car insurance, gym membership, broadband package and more. Although you might be tied in for the interim, it’s worth looking at alternatives for when these inevitably come to an end. And switching will often – literally – pay off, with new customers frequently getting better deals than existing clients. Aim to get everything you need for as little as possible, while always remembering to keep an eye out for any hidden costs that might crop up along the way. If it looks too good to be true, it possibly is, but savvy shoppers can still manage to find some great deals so long as they engage their brains.

Find some hobbies that are fun and free

Have you ever weighed the cost of your exercise regime against the necessity of making ends meet? If so, we have another tip: take some time to research a few free hobbies to fill up your hours. Your gym membership probably won’t count as a must-have when weighed against your need to eat and there are lots of cost-effective alternatives out there for those who take the time to look for them. Community running clubs, dog sharing apps that let you take someone else’s pooch for a walk, hiking or even taking a stroll on the beach with your partner all cost nothing and deliver the same effect: a healthier overall lifestyle. There are plenty of ways to occupy your time for free if you think outside the box.

Go back to basics

We’re talking about swapping out well-known but pricey brands for more economical alternatives. Shopping the economy range in your local supermarket, sacrificing haute couture for high street fashion, and choosing trainers that cost under $20 and come minus a Nike tick are all ways to cut your costs. Half the time, you won’t even be able to tell the difference. Scale back on your label snobbery and you’ll soon find that your bank balance soars.

Make a shopping list

Last but not least, we always advise those who want to reduce their outlay to make a list of what they need before they hit the shops. It doesn’t matter whether it’s doing the weekly shop in your local grocery store or selecting a new capsule wardrobe for work, so long as you list your must-haves and make sure you don’t stray from them. The easiest way to avoid temptation is to go out feeling focused and having a clear idea of how much you can spend so that you don’t end up lured in by luxuries and blowing your budget without even meaning to.

Follow these eight easy tips today to make your money go further.     

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Is It Time to Take a Credit Counseling Course?

Many people go into their adult lives without a financial education and it sets them up for plenty of money-related strife, especially as it relates to debt. When interviewed for a study about teen spending habits, a large group of educators stated that young people were not fully educated on “complex and potentially damaging financial products.” With educators likely facing their own debt issues, getting a good financial education is pretty rare these days, leading many into debt with poor budgeting skills.

If you’re in a position where you’re struggling with your money and need help, you can turn to a Licensed Insolvency Trustee, formerly known as a bankruptcy trustee, for credit counselling help. You can receive tips to help you deal with debt along with a tailored counselling session to help you handle your finances better and set yourself up for a better life. For instance, credit counselling from David Sklar & Associates can help you:

  • Build better credit
  • Rebuild a poor credit rating
  • Navigate what it means to “start over”
  • Identify and achieve your financial goals

 Not sure if credit counselling is right for you? Read on to learn about some of the warning signs of unhealthy money habits and what you can do about them.

1. You Don’t Know How to Budget

You don’t have a sense of where your money’s going on a month-to-month basis and you aren’t setting aside anything for savings. If you don’t know howto budget your money or don’t know how to stick to a budget, then counselling can help you master this important skill.

2. You Can’t Manage Your Debt

If you don’t actually have a full sense of how much debt you have, how the interest rates are affecting you, and when you need to make payments, then this is a sign that you aren’t tuned into your spending. You need to be realistic about your finances in order to plan for a future. Counselling can help.

3. You’re Often Making Late Payments 

Paying bills late is a sign that you don’t have the funds in your budget to make payments. This can be for a variety of reasons but at the end of the day it means that too much of what you earn is going towards credit card payments. If you’re late in credit card payments and bills, not only is there a discrepancy between your income and spending, but your credit score is going to decline.

 4. You’re Hiding Things from Family & Friends

 If you find yourself hiding your spending habits and the extent of your debt from family and friends, then that’s a heavy burden to carry that is probably causing you a lot of stress. Being reluctant to share your credit or debt situation, however, is a serious sign that a problem exists.

Counselling Can Help

There are plenty of reasons why someone may end up in a difficult financial situation and it can feel like there’s no way out, but it doesn’t have to feel that way. You can get out even If you’re dealing with harmful habits like gambling, excessive shopping, taking out too many loans, etc., There’s supportive counsellors will refer you to a support agency to help you with you rissue and help you plan for your financial goals.

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A Quick and Simple Guide to Envelope Budgeting

You have a hard time keeping track of just how much money you spend on a regular basis and you’re worried that most of it is being spent in the wrong places. To make better decisions with your paychecks and kick bad habits to the curb, try envelope budgeting.

Why is it important to have a budget at all?

Having a budget keeps you from living beyond your means and spending money that should be going to essentials, long-term goals and general savings. Living without any limits encourages you to go through a stressful cycle of getting a paycheck, burning through it in a hurry and pinching pennies until the next check comes in.

Another reason why you need a budget is for helping you save enough money for emergency costs — these costs can be for unexpected medical bills or household problems that need to be repaired right away. Setting aside a portion of your earnings every month will eventually give you a considerable sum to deal with unfortunate surprises.

When people haven’t left themselves any savings for emergencies, and they don’t have time to wait for their next paycheck to come in, they can look to a place like MoneyKey as potential solution. The company can approve a cash advance for them a lot faster than any regular bank so that they can fix their problem as soon as possible.

In addition to the speedy service, people don’t have to pay off the advance in one lump sum — you can stop by MoneyKey to learn more about howto apply. You’ll also learn how paying these cash loans back in smaller installments are easier to manage than traditional short term loan repayment schedules. To avoid this situation entirely, experts suggest that people save up at least three to six months’ worth of expenses for emergency costs.

What is envelope budgeting?

The style of envelope budgeting requires that you take out the extent of your monthly budget in paper bills — then you divide the sum into separate spending categories, which are conveniently divided into labeled envelopes. Some popular categories for envelopes are groceries, rent, gas money, entertainment and personal care.

When you leave the house with the goal of a purchase, you bring the proper envelope in your purse or bag with you. So, if you need to stop at the pharmacy to get more toothbrushes and floss, you grab money from the personal care envelope and put the change back inside.

If you feel like after a month your original calculations for categories weren’t a good fit, you can always adjust. It’s easy to move some more money into the groceries category by sacrificing some of the costs of entertainment. Over the year, the budgeting style will force you to confront and modify your spending habits.

Why should you pay with cash?

The reason why traditional envelope budgeting is so successful is that it gets the household to depend on cash instead of debit or credit as its main financial resource. Paper moneymakers it easier to maintain spending limits because you can see exactly how much of it disappears.

On the other hand, people can use their cards all week without noticing how much they’re spending. You’ll be estimating the extent of your purchases until you decide to check up on your accounts, tally up all of your receipts or worse — discover that the payment won’t go through when you’re standing at the cash register.

 Research from assistant marketing professor Avni M. Shah revealed that people find that paying with cash hurts — the experience feels more vivid to consumers than using plastic cards, online transfers or vouchers for the same purpose. Since it’s so hard for people to spend their cash, the purchase ends up feeling more significant.

What if you’re looking for a compromise?

Many people will find taking out their entire monthly budget in paper bills intimidating. If you relate to this feeling, you don’t have to jump into the deep end straightaway — envelope budgeting 2.0 uses a combination of the old method and online banking to keep the household finances in order.

You can treat accounts as your envelopes, storing different types of savings into them for safe-keeping.Digital accounts work best for monthly essentials like phone bills or child care fees, along with long-term goals and emergency funds. 

You don’t have to hire a financial advisor in order to save money and make smarter spending choices. You can manage your monthly expenses and put away a significant amount of your income all on your own. All you need to do is to take out a sum of your paycheck in paper bills, get some envelopes and commit to your budget.

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