It can be tough managing money, sticking to a tight budget can be tiresome at times but it’s a necessity these days when money does not stretch very far and costs just seem to keep mounting up. It’s so easy to get into debt and wonder if your bank account will always be in the red, its time to stop overspending and learn to budget effectively. I was prompted by UKCredit to come up with ideas to help families save money.
To stop you dipping into your overdraft (and lining the banks pockets in the process) making a few lifestyle changes can improve matters considerably. If you usually spend lots of money on family days out, look at making it more affordable, make up a packed lunch, bring your own drinks and make sure you search for free activities and attractions in the area you plan to visit. Younger children are just as happy playing with autumn leaves as they are heading off to an expensive theme park.
Try and stop wanting the best of everything – learn to make the items you do have last, do you really need a bigger TV or a faster car? Will your children miss out because they do not have the latest console…? NO! Stop borrowing to keep up with your friends and family, hopefully if your children see you making things last, they will follow your example. Learn to live more modestly BUT if you really do want something special then save until you can afford it without getting into further debt. I think we are all a little guilty of this at times, getting drawn into consumerism but be grateful for what you have rather than what you would like instead.
Try and fix things yourself, hubbie has kept our washing machine going, sorted out the tumble dryer when it gave up the ghost, kept laptops going considerably longer than you would expect and bled the oil burning boiler so we could restart it.
Children always complain they are hungry, but you can feed them for less if you look out for special offers, use coupons and learn to shop at the times of day the reductions are made.
Lifestyle changes are only one step; you need to look through your finances with a fine toothcomb. When I first got together with hubbie we realised he had been paying for Sky cover for a year after cancelling his Sky subscription! Check through your bank statements and see if there is anything you can get rid of.
We have also consolidated debt to make it easier to manage, rather than having multiple lenders to juggle, this applied when we first got together as a couple so we could get our finances in order. It might be worth getting a loan just to clear off your other debts, even better look out for lower rates of interest so you save money as well as keep a closer eye on what you owe.