How to save more money

Whilst looking for ways to save money might not seem like the most exciting task, it can make your life considerably more enjoyable. A little extra money in the bank can help you in many ways, not least of which is paying off some of your debt. Companies such as Wescot are regularly approached via their page on the site Yell, by people who are finding it hard to keep up with their loan repayments. Addressing this type of issue can be quite stressful, and as such, it’s always a good idea to do what you can to save some extra cash, and put that towards your debts. Of course, additional money can also be useful for things like home renovations, car maintenance, holidays, birthdays, Christmas, as well as unforeseen costs which could result from things such as major vehicle or property repairs, or unemployment.

If you want to save money on a regular basis, it’s important to adopt the mindset of a saver; this means maintaining an awareness of your personal finances at all times, and regularly looking at ways to cut back, or get a better deal. If you’re naturally more of a spender, you might struggle with developing the saving mindset at first; to help you adapt, why not enlist the help of a frugal friend? Create a saving competition, and see which one of you can save the most money each month or week. If you know a group of people who want to join in, you could take it a step further, and set up saving teams, in order to make it more competitive.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be particularly savvy when it comes to money, there are lots of easy ways to start saving. One of the simplest is to leave your debit card at home, and only use cash when you’re out shopping. This will ensure that you stick to the limit you have set yourself. It’s also important to stop viewing shopping as a way to cheer yourself up when you’re feeling down; ‘retail therapy’ will only provide a short-term boost of happiness, and will leave a big dent in your wallet over time. There are plenty of free ways to pick yourself up if you’re a bit stressed out; examples include getting a new book from the local library, taking a relaxing bath, or watching your favourite television show.

Of course, whilst it’s a good idea to cut back on frivolous shopping trips, being frugal doesn’t mean that you have to give up on fun days out entirely; just make sure that you look for events and activities which are affordable, and preferably come with a sizeable discount. Make use of discount websites like Groupon and Voucher Codes to source special deals on things like holidays, restaurants, beauty treatments and entertainment events.

In order to save, you should also take a close look at your current spending patterns. Creating a spending diary, and using a personal budget spreadsheet, is a great way to become more aware of how much you spend on a weekly or monthly basis. After you’ve gotten to grips with your habits, look at which shops and brands you tend to stick to, and consider whether you might be better off shopping elsewhere instead. Loyalty rarely pays off, and you might find that you can, for instance, save a lot of money by using the supermarket version of certain branded foods.

Whether you’re shopping in person or online, it always pays to compare prices before you make a purchase; particularly if you’re buying something quite expensive. There are plenty of comparison websites which can show you where to buy the cheapest broadband, insurance, or phone contracts. Some of these websites also allow you to compare supermarkets, and see which one will help you to save money on your weekly shop.

A lot of the time, a weekly shop ends up being costly, simply because of those little extra things that you’ve popped into your trolley; items such as cut basil and rosemary can often be surprisingly expensive. If you’ve got some time to spare, you might want to consider growing your own herbs in your kitchen. These potted plants often cost no more than a pound, and provided they are well cared for, they can provide you with delicious fresh herbs for months on end.

If you discover that some food items that you use regularly on special offer, you might want to consider buying the in bulk. Provided you’re confident that you will actually consume the food in question, doing this can save you quite a lot of money over time. However, even if an item is on special offer, you may still be able to find it cheaper elsewhere, so make sure to compare prices before committing to buying them. It’s also important to check the items’ expiry dates if you’re buying a large quantity, as otherwise, you may find that they go off before you have a chance to use them.

When buying products or services online, don’t forget to make use of cash-back sites. All you need to do is sign-up, and then click through the cash-back website to get through to your online shopping destination. When you then make a purchase, you’ll receive a small percentage of that money back. Do bear in mind that it can take anywhere from a few days to a few months for these savings to be made available to you.

You may also be able to make some extra money by selling the discarded items you have lying around in your home. A number of websites offer cash for clothes, CDs, DVDs and old mobile phones, which they then recycle. You might be surprised at how much cash you earn, simply by clearing out some of the clutter in your house.

How to Manage Debt

Being in debt can be a stressful and trying situation to face. Often as one debt is amassed subsequent debts are then entered into in order to pay off other financial commitments. This spiralling circle of debt is what causes financial breakdown and in the end it can be difficult to know where to turn. No matter how arduous the thought of combating debt may seem, it is essential to remember that there is no debt situation which cannot be remedied safely and in a controlled manner. There are a number of key techniques which can be used to manage debt, reducing it in a consistent and continual way until any and all required payments have been cleared.

Top Debt Management Tips

The hardest part of managing debt is knowing where to start. Sometimes there can be so much of it from so many different lenders that the task seems impossible. Thankfully, with some research and diligence, any debt can be tackled.

Some of the most effective approaches to debt management include:

  • State of Mind: The first step is to cultivate a positive frame of mind. This might seem difficult under the circumstances, but with the knowledge that any debt can be cleared safely, there should be a level of confidence in such efforts to reduce it. Denial is dangerous and should not be used as a comfort blanket. The only way to combat debt is to accept that it will take a long time, but knowing that each small step will bring the goal of being debt free that bit closer.
  • Creating a Budget: Anyone in debt needs to know their budget. This is the amount of money a person has available to deal with their debt situation each month. This should incorporate any income from an individual, their spouse, supplemental incomes and interest from any bank accounts accrued each year. By adding all of these totals together an individual has a budget figure for making any financial decisions including reducing debt.
  • Listing All Debts: One of the most effective techniques used against debt is list making. It might sound fairly undramatic, but lists allow for more organisation and a systematic approach to debt reduction. After creating a budget, the next list should involve listing all debt payments which need to be made each year. There will be two figures which will be needed for each debt: the minimum payment required and the total amount owed overall. These will be used in subsequent steps. By doing this, an individual should now have an idea of how much money they need to pay out each month in order to remain financially secure. Sometimes the amount owed will be more than is in a budget. If this is the case, then there are still financial actions which can be taken and will be discussed in subsequent steps below.
  • Making Sacrifices: Here, an individual should make two lists. One list is for necessities, everything which has to be paid each month. This includes all minimum debt payments, food, energy bills, rent, travel to work and any other outgoings which cannot be sacrificed. The second list is for everything else, known to be a luxury. This can include television packages, non-essential food and drink, hobbies – anything which can be sacrificed and is not required to live. When the necessities total is taken away from the available budget this provides an idea of how much money is left to pay off any debts. This will also provide a clearer picture of whether or not some luxuries can be maintained; however, it is always beneficial to clear debt as quickly as possible, so individuals should be strict within reason.
  • Prioritising Debts: Looking at all debts, list them from most expensive to least expensive on a monthly basis. The most costly debt each month is the debt which should be prioritised above all others. For every debt, an individual should pay only the minimum amount required, which usually does not reduce the debt and simply pays off the interest. This might seem like a bad idea as those debts will not be reduced; however, any money left over from the budget should now be put towards the most expensive debt. This means that with each payment, that debt will be reduced quicker. Once this debt has been cleared, the money saved should then be put towards the second most expensive debt. This is called “stacking”, and it is a very effective way to systematically manage several debts at once.
  • Alternatives: Looking at the necessities and luxuries lists, it is more than likely that cheaper alternatives can be found. This is often the case with food shopping and other unavoidable expenses. By planning meals, buying in bulk, and using cheaper brands, a good amount of money can be saved which can then be put towards debt payments.
  • Debt Advice: If debts are still too difficult to handle, then it is best to consult a free debt advisor who will be able to renegotiate debts on an individual’s behalf, in order to reduce payments to a more manageable level. Other resources include conscientious debt collection agencies such as Wescot, who will do their best to find the appropriate solution for anyone in debt they have been instructed to speak with.

Stay the Course

Debt management is all about consistency and organisation. It can be stressful, but any debt can be dealt with appropriately, either by the above methods or through contacting a reliable debt advisor. The main point to keep in mind is that every difficult journey starts with just one step. With discipline and hard work, anyone can become debt free in the long term, they just have to stay the course.