Christmas is normally the time when financial problems start to really build up. The usual household bills can be difficult to pay during the year but when there are Christmas presents to buy the budget really gets stretched over the limit. If you’re worried about ending up deep in the red after the festive season we have some suggestions on how to spread your money further.
Budgeting is Essential
Although budgets are commonly talked about many homeowners fail to create one. Writing down budgets is essential if you’re trying to manage your money more effectively. Create your budget on a computer or using pen and paper, making sure to include all of your income, including wages, tax credits and benefits alongside all of your normal outgoings. It’s also important to evaluate your spending over the past six months, taking into account all the extras the family has paid out for such as cups of coffee, clothing, days out, magazines and everything else you can think of.
Use your budget to spot any normal bills and expenses that you make that aren’t essential. These are the areas where you can often save a significant amount of money!
Look for the Better Deals
You’ll be surprised how much you can save by changing your suppliers. Learn how much you pay out each month on your utilities, phone calls, insurance and similar costs. Write down your tariffs and current monthly outgoings and start looking around for cheaper suppliers. There are comparison websites you can use but don’t rely on these sites alone. Do your own research as it’s possible for you to find even greater deals.
For presents, it’s the thought that counts. Whether it is a simple custom picture made into metal prints, or your home made jam, save money by giving something thoughtful rather than expensive.
You Don’t Have to Do Without
Cutting down doesn’t have to mean doing without. There are plenty of ways to enjoy some of life’s little luxuries. If you enjoy reading but need to cut down on the cost of buying books use apps on your phone or computer and download digital books or eBooks. There are plenty of excellent free books to choose from along with magazines.
Coupons and special deals can be found all over the place. Look in magazines but also online. Social media sites are full of companies marketing their goods. They offer lots of samples, free trials and freebies; all you need to do is look for them. While you’re using social networks to find free gifts don’t forget to enter some of the competitions too. Keep an eye out on the official accounts for the major brands and enter, you never know, you could win!
Satellite and cable television is another expense that can cost a great deal each month when you subscribe. If you enjoy watching several channels consider stopping your subscription and using freeview instead. Freeview offers lots of channels and they’re all free, all the time. You have more choice than usual television channels and you can even catch up on what you’ve missed out on depending on the service you use.