3 tips to make your budget last until payday
We’ve all been there: payday arrives and you feel rich, but regardless of whether you get paid monthly, fortnightly or weekly, somehow it’s hard to make your money last all the way till your next pay.
Here are three tips on how to make your money last till your next payday.
1. WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET
The first step and most important is to work out your budget. The good news is that setting up a budget is relatively easy. You’ll need to work out how much money you earn, how much your necessary expenses are and how much you have left over.
The hard part is sticking to your budget. You need to make sure you set aside the money you need to live, with a little bit of wiggle room for expenses that change (such as a higher power bill in winter). Some people find it easier to build a year-long budget so they know well in advance how much they should expect to spend.
If life’s little surprises keep catching you off-guard and putting you on the back foot, it might be time to start an emergency fund. An emergency fund usually means putting some money aside each payday until you have 3 to 6 months of your usual expenses. It doesn’t matter how little you can afford to put aside, just put aside something. Having a buffer means your budget won’t get blown out every time life happens.
And don't forget to include some discretionary spending too. It's our top tip to ensure you can actually stick to your budget without giving up on fun.
2. USE CASH, NOT YOUR DEBIT OR CREDIT CARD
You’ve gone to the shops to buy one necessary item, and you come out with a couple of new shirts on a two-for-one special. It’s hard to resist a good deal and sometimes nothing feels better than a bit of retail therapy - even if it threatens to pop your budget.
You can curb this habit and save your money by carrying just cash and leaving your cards at home. Once you have done your budget, you’ll know exactly how much spending money you have until your next pay. Take it out in cash and only spend what you’ve taken out. You’re much more likely to think about your purchase if you have to hand over physical cash and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
You can still enjoy an occasional treat, just keep it within budget. If you need a pick-me-up then consider pampering yourself in other ways, such as treating yourself to an evening in with a good film and nice bath.
3. CHECK YOUR BILLS (AND GET RID OF THE UNNECESSARY ONES)
Necessary bills can’t be avoided, but if money is tight it might be worth looking at creative ways to cut back on those bills.
Can you reduce your mobile phone contract, internet or your energy bill? If you’ve been with the same provider for a long time, you’re probably no longer on special pricing, which means you could get a much better deal elsewhere. Sometimes your current provider will offer you a better deal to stay. It might seem like a big hassle, but it can be the difference between a tight budget and a manageable one.
Also, make sure you check your automatic payments and credit card charges for any ongoing subscriptions and cancel anything you don’t use. It’s amazing how easy it is to get caught up with automatic subscriptions.
If you follow these three steps, making it from payday to payday should be a little less painful. There are lots of free resources to help you with your budget. Take a look at Sorted’s Budgeting Tool to get started or speak to someone at MoneyTalks for free budget advice.
Avanti Finance has partnered with Love My Money to help you get ahead (or afloat) with your finances. If you're a current customer, you can get a 6-month free trial at this link. Enjoy, and happy budgeting!