We all look forward to payday regardless of what we actually do for a living.
But it does not seem to matter how much we earn; when those monthly utility bills hit the account, there is never enough left to do what it is we really wanted to do with the money.
Even when you do feel that there will be enough to go and enjoy yourself, there is always something that goes wrong and requires all the hard-earned money to pay for, such as a heating system breaking or the washer or dryer giving up the ghost.
Well, although there is no promise that this will not happen, there are a few ideas that can perhaps stretch your monthly budget a little further.
Checking your bank statements regularly
The best way to start budgeting is to be aware of what is already going out of your account on a regular basis. It is always wise to keep a close eye on your bank account. This way, you can spot straight away if there is any unusual activity.
Keep hold of your receipts and write on them what it is you actually brought and date if they are faded or not easy to read. Keep a total of the amounts you spend and ask yourself, “do I really need this, or do I just want it?”
Sometimes, it is not always easy to see what or where the money is going, especially if you have multiple payments to companies to which you owe money. Using loans for debt consolidation streamlines your debts and means you only have one payment to think about every month. By doing this, you will be able to see much more clearly where your money is going and where it can be saved.
Cooking from scratch may seem like a bore to some and a very enjoyable task to others, but it is a really good way of saving a bit of extra cash.
Choose enough of your favorite recipes to last you a week, preferably ones with the same or very similar ingredients. Write a shopping list and follow it to the letter – try not to go down the aisles of the supermarket you do not need to, and make sure to buy the ingredients with the longest sell-by or use-by dates.
Plan a cooking day, whether it is on the same day you food shopped or the next, but make it as close to the shopping day as possible so as not to waste the fresh food which you have brought.
Batch cook your meals, separate out the portion you want to eat that day, and put the rest in the freezer for the rest of the week. Having a variety of meals already prepared and just needing to visit the microwave before mealtime cuts down on the number of times the fast-food restaurants or takeaways get visited. This will cut down on the money disappearing from your account too.
Using any of the supermarket online apps, you will be able to work out how much each recipe is going to cost, by dividing this amount up into the number of portion sizes you will get out of each batch will allow you to budget your meals. This is handy if you have a week or weeks coming up where the money needs to go elsewhere or just simply isn’t going to be there; you can choose the cheaper meals.
Find more helpful budget tips in our finance archives.