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Making your money go further

2015 budget
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No matter how much you earn, you probably wish you could make your money go further. Here are some tips on how to make sure you get the most out of your cash.

Budget

Even if you don’t find yourself running short at the end of the month, budgeting can be a great way of saving money. Write down all the essentials for the month (rent, bills, food, childcare, petrol, etc) and tally up how much you’ll spend on each. Then work out how much you spend on extras (gym memberships, nights out, takeaways, etc). This will show you exactly how much you’re spending, what you’re getting for your money and where you might be able to cut back and save some cash.

Do an annual check

Every year you should check your savings accounts, insurance policies and utility providers to ensure you’re getting the best deals available. Swapping energy supplier, for example, can save cash without much effort on your part. Comparison service uSwitch claims the difference between the most and least expensive providers can be more than £200 per year, so it’s definitely worth looking into! Bank accounts with bonuses for the first year are great but if you forget to change at the end of the introductory period then you might find you end up with a really low rate of interest.

making your money go further

Shop around

Shops as well as well as banking and utility providers can vary massively on prices. Before you make a big purchase do some research online to make sure you can’t get the same product elsewhere at a better price. If shopping online don’t forget to factor delivery charges into the final price you’ll be paying.

Plan your meals

Taking a list to the supermarket (and sticking to it!) helps ensure you don’t spend more than you intended to. Supermarkets are notorious for trying to get you to spend more money once you’re inside. Plan your meals in advance and you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for, making it easier to avoid impulse buys that you don’t really want or need. Try to avoid convenience stores as these are often more expensive than larger supermarkets.

Loyalty cards

If you buy a coffee on the way to work or frequently go to the same place for lunch then a loyalty card can be a great way to save a little money. Many places offer a free coffee/baguette/whatever once you’ve presented your loyalty card a certain number of times. This means every tenth coffee or so is free.

Discover the stylist in you

Those of us who need to dress appropriately for work or have hectic social lives may find that we spend more than we would like on clothes. Instead of buying something new for each occasion, raid your wardrobe to see what you already have and use your imagination to create a new outfit. Dresses can be adapted for work by adding a long cardigan and thick tights or dressed up for a night out with high heels and sparkly jewellery. When you do go shopping don’t buy an item without first considering what you already have that could go with it.

Cashback

Make your money last by going through cashback sites when shopping online. Websites such as Top Cashback and Quidco offer cashback on loads of online stores when you click through from their site. This means that if you spend money online you can claim a percentage of it back through your chosen cashback site. Everything from bank accounts to toys is included and these sites are free to sign up to.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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