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The start of a new year is always tough when it comes to money. Most of us have spent more than we can really afford on Christmas presents, food and other festive delights, and January is hard work. The good news is, you’ve nearly made it. You’ve survived January. Whether for you that meant a month without booze or without meat. A month to get your diet back on track and lose a bit of weight, or a month to take control of your finances, spend less (or perhaps nothing at all with a no spend January) and start planning to save, it’s nearly over, and you’ve made it. Hopefully with some success.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the end of January doesn’t mean that you can start spending with wild abandon. Most of us are still on a very tight budget. We go into each new year with optimistic, and poorly planned ideas of how much money we’re going to save and how much of our debts we’re going to pay off. We imagine ourselves next Christmas, with a nice little savings pot and a debt-free life. But, about now, you might be starting to realize that many of these dreams have been unrealistic. In fact, you might be struggling to see how you are going to save a penny in your current financial situation, where you are more likely to be looking at a payroll loan than you are closing accounts.
Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that even on a very tight budget, there are things that you can do to reduce your expenditure, lower your debt rates and even save a little rainy day pot to help you out in emergencies. Below are some of the easy ways that absolutely anyone can start to save.
Many of us stick to the same suppliers, because we’ve been with them for a long time or because they offer excellent service. This is a mistake. By switching providers, you could save a fortune every year.
When it comes to switching, it’s not all about your gas and electric bill. Pretty much everything that you pay can be compared. Is there a bank account that offers better interest? Or one that will gift you money to switch? Can you switch to a cheaper mobile phone contract or a new internet provider? Even things like your gym membership could be cheaper elsewhere. Gas and electric is a great place to start, just don’t make it where you end too.
Even if You Rent
Most renters are for some reason under the assumption that they can’t switch providers for household bills, like gas and electric. But, in most cases, this isn’t true. Your landlord might object if it means fitting a meter or making other changes to the property, but as long as it’s a simple case of switching supplier, and it’s going to save you money, they shouldn’t stop you. You can always get in touch first to double check, explaining why you want to switch and what is involved in the process.
So, you’ve compared, and your provider is either the cheapest or the only one that offers what you need? That’s great, but there are still ways to save. First, ask yourself if you really need everything that you are paying for. Cable TV is a great example, do you watch all of the channels that you pay for? Could you cancel your account, get Netflix, and Amazon Prime and still save money? Do you really need unlimited internet on your mobile phone? Or do you spend most of your time connected to wifi anyway? Try to reduce contracts where you can.
You can also haggle. When people ring up to cancel a contract, they are often offered a period at half price. It can’t hurt to try.
Make a Debt Plan
Debts ruin our finances. They can take a substantial amount of our income, to pay for nothing. You see no return, and most of your payment is in interest and doesn’t ever come off your totals. Being in debt can be depressing, and it’s often hard to see a way out. The first thing that you need to is make a plan. Try applying for balance transfer cards, to get rid of all of that interest. Then, try to pay more than the minimums.
Find a Side Hustle
It’s thought that 1 in 4 workers today have a side hustle of some kind. A way that they make money, away from their usual employment. Some people start businesses from home. Others make a few extra pounds taking online surveys. Think about what you could do, and take a look at the options — remembering that every little helps.
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