Jon Taylor, manager of the Christians against Poverty (CAP) Debt Centre Brixton, offers some hints and tips to free up some cash
This month, grab a calculator and see how you can make your money go further.
Adjust your budget – If your idea of savings is whatever fell our your pocket into the sofa, then consider the three C’s: cut back, cut costs and cut out.
Cut back – We all have a few luxuries in the budget, but are there some that you could reduce to save money?
For example, a takeaway for two each week could cost you around £18. If you only went for a takeaway every other week, it would save you around £468 per year.
Similarly reducing a £3.50 lunch out every day to just one day a week, you could save up to £728.
Cut costs – You can reduce some expenses without cutting them out altogether.
For example, switching to a cheaper energy provider, using restaurant discount vouchers when eating out or buying cheaper supermarket own-branded products.
Cut out – Often people have gym memberships or subscriptions that they are not using, or not getting enough value for money on.
As the weather improves, could you try running or cycling outside instead of forking out on a costly gym membership?
Many people find that a few simple changes can make a real difference to the amount they have left over at the end of the month.
Savings – Savings are not just for a rainy day, but are very important for future needs.
Setting some saving goals will help you to keep motivated. Make a list of future expenses short and long-term – car insurance, house improvements or university fees.
Calculate how long you want to save for and how much you’d need each month, then set up a monthly standing order into a savings account.
Small things add up – From this April, personal allowance tax changes from the previous budget will come into effect meaning that most of us will see around an extra £10 in their pay cheque each month.
Ok it’s small, but why not make it go further by putting it into a savings account rather than letting it vanish into the spending black hole.
Do it now and you could have an extra £90 for Christmas.
If you have done all you can to your budget and things are still looking dicey then Christians Against Poverty can help.
CAP offers free help regardless of age, gender, faith or background. We also run free CAP money courses to help get your finances more in shape. Check out capuk.org for more information; or for help today with unmanageable debt, call 0800 328 0006.