It may sound obvious but to successfully live within your means, the cash you spend each month needs to be less than, or at least equal to, the amount you bring in. For some people, this is a lot easier said than done. Credit cards, loans, and even emergency funds allow you to buy things you want when you want them, consequently it is easier than ever before to get into debt.
We all like to enjoy life outside of work and spend money in our free time, whether it’s going out to eat, having drinks with friends or watching the latest blockbuster movie at the cinema. But when money is tight, we have to be careful with the ways we entertain ourselves, to make sure we stick to a budget.
Here, we’ve put together a simple checklist to help you live successfully on a budget.
Create a budget that’s realistic
There is absolutely no point in having a budget you can’t manage – a good working budget needs to be realistic. When putting it together, you need to understand what, and where, you can cut down to save money. You must identify how you can allocate your income so that it meets your expenses.
It might be worth using an online budgeting tool, as these can help you keep everything under control and potentially save you even more money. It’s the perfect way to keep track of everything and see where you’re going wrong.
Reduce your car costs
Cars are expensive, there’s no escaping that, but there are numerous things you can do to lower the amount you spend on them. Such as, car sharing travelling to work with a colleague to cut down your petrol costs or adding a second driver to your car insurance policy as a named driver can lower your insurance costs, especially if they’re older and have a long history of no claims.
Until October 14, you can claim an MOT paid for by Halfords Autocentre when you purchase one thing in their store, above the price of a 5p bag. This can be redeemed any time in the year, making it one less thing to worry about and save you money.
Allow yourself to be flexible
Being flexible is one of the best ways to live comfortably and within a budget. We understand it’s not easy, but the simplest actions such as purchasing store brand products, instead of branded, makes a difference.
When you’re living on a budget you need to learn how to prioritise what is important to you. You may have to ditch going out for dinner every week and cook at home instead to save the pennies, as a family this would be a great time to get everyone together.
In Collaboration with Debbie Fletcher