10+ Budget Hacks To Help Stretch Your Money Further!

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

 Are you struggling to stick to a budget? Are you finding it hard to make ends meet every month? Don't worry. You're not alone. Millions of people are in the same boat. But that doesn't mean you have to give up and suffer through austerity measures month after month. You can do plenty of things to get your budget under control and start saving money. Check out these budget hacks and see which ones work best for you. Implement as many as you can today and start seeing the savings add up!


Try A Budgeting App


Anyone who has tried to save money knows that it can be challenging to stick to a budget. There are so many temptations and unexpected expenses that can quickly eat away at your savings. But what if there was a way to make budgeting easier and even automatic? That's where budgeting apps come in. Some apps will allow you to put money into them, while others will just track the figures you input. I use Moneybox for my lifetime ISA, which helps track my savings. But there are other apps such as Emma that help you see where you are spending and can even earn you cashback.

These handy programs help you track your spending, set goals, and stay on track. They can also remind you of upcoming bills and help you find ways to save money. Budgeting apps are a great way to hack your budget and finally start saving more money. So why not give one a try today? You may be surprised at how much difference it makes. I'd recommend trying out a few before committing, especially if you need to pay. There are many free budgeting apps if you're not ready to pay to manage your finances! 


Negotiate Services & Bills


We have all been hit with an increase in bills. Many of us worry if we're going to be able to afford utilities this year as the price continues to increase. Believe it or not, most of your bills may be negotiable. Consumers may not get a discount because they don't take the time to make the call. It may take a little more effort, but it is well worth the time. Even if you could save an extra £100 a month, that's £1,200 a year toward your savings or financial goals. So, take a bit of spare time and make a few calls.

First, look around at cheaper suppliers to see if you can get a better deal for switching. Some utilities, insurance and cell companies will offer you a reward for switching to them. If you'd like to stay with your current supplier, give them a call and let them know you're looking elsewhere. They can usually offer you better packages or a cheaper discount for your loyalty. It's also worth looking at things like insurance before the renewal date. I've managed to cut my insurance by £500 as I've joined a multicar policy with my partner, who also shaved £100 off his bill!


Use A Bank that Helps You Budget


It's no secret that managing money can be difficult. Where does it all go? As soon as you get paid, the money is gone again. One way to help get a handle on your finances is to use a budgeting assistance bank. Many online banks now offer features that allow you to see where your money is going. Banks like Starling and Monzo will even round up your spare change and deposit it into a separate saving pot attached to your main account. This is incredibly useful as it can help you naturally build an emergency fund.

If your bank isn't helping you save money, maybe it's time for a change. There are plenty of options, so do some research and find one that best suits your needs. If you're recommended by a friend, you can often get a cash reward for swapping to a better bank. Some banks will even offer you cashback, better interest rates or fee-free spending abroad. Look around at different banks and see what perks work for you and what you're looking for. 


Try Meal Prepping


According to Statistica, the average UK person spends £15.26 a week eating outside the home, but what if you could save that amount? Meal prepping can help you save on cash and be healthier. Take a Sunday with your family and plan all the meals for the week. It makes it even better if you divide your meals into individual containers. What's better than saving time and money?


Establish AutoPay and Savings


Wouldn't it be nice if you didn't have to think about your bills or savings each month? Well, setting up auto-pay can do just that. By setting up auto-pay, you also eliminate the chance of forgetting to pay your bills. Setting up your auto savings is also a great way to help you keep on track. This will help ensure you always pay yourself first and prioritise savings.

One way that my partner and I do this is through a joint account. We estimate how much things cost by looking at previous bills. We both put half into the account. The account has direct debits set up for all our bills. That way, we can spend the money in our personal accounts without worrying about how much money will need to come out! I also put money aside each month into a savings account before I spend anything. That way, I know I won't be overspending and cutting into my savings. 


Make a Shopping List


Have you ever been to the supermarket and bought ten items you didn't need? Are you tired of pitching leftover food? If so, make a grocery list and stick to it. Before heading to the grocery store, make a list of items you need. Do not derive from that list when you get to the market. This is another excellent way to stick to your budget and save time when wandering through the store.

If you're looking to save even more, do a pantry inventory. Do you even know what's in your pantry? See what you have, and then make a recipe out of it. Add any missing items to your shopping list. Countless apps help you figure out a meal with ingredients you already have. Get creative and make something new. There is no need to waste unused items! We did this during the first lockdown to save money and use up what was in the freezer/pantry. Not only did we clear out rubbish, but we were also able to donate unopened food and save some money. There were a lot of things we had frozen and completely forgot about! 


Wait 48 Hours Before Making a Purchase


Impulse purchases can really break the bank. If your item was not budgeted for, you need to allow some time to contemplate the decision. When you see something you want to buy, take at least 48 hours to think about it. You never know. You may decide it's not worth it!


Review Your Budget Weekly


Making adjustments to your budget is a part of the course. Your budget will fluctuate every month. That's why it's essential to sit down every week and review your budget. Determine where adjustments should be made and change your budget accordingly. If there are unexpected costs, you need to factor those in and determine how to afford them. It's good to have sinking funds where you save each month for upcoming expenses such as birthdays, Christmas and car insurance/issues. If your bills go up, you'll be able to spot them straight away to avoid overdrawing your accounts. By reviewing your budget, you'll also know where your money is going. I often look at my statement and wonder what I've purchased, but since reviewing my budget, I know everything that comes in and out of my account. 


Take a Walk


You know that walking can be good for your health, but did you know it can help your budget? If you live close to a convenience store, work, or your friend's house, take a walk and save on fuel. Even if you can just save £10 a month on fuel, that could be a big win for your budget. Especially in 2022, when fuel prices are continuing to rise! If you're able to cost it out, it might also be cheaper to take public transport than drive if you're going a distance.

Taking a walk and getting outside can also help you save money with the kids. As summer approaches and schools break up, we tend to spend lots on days out. Instead, why not try some free outdoor activities! You could visit local parks or national trust sites for free adventures. Many have lots of things to do while you're there to keep the kids entertained. 


Review Your Subscriptions & Contracts


Many people have subscription services they don't use. Even if it's minimal, it can still add up. Review your bank statements and credit card bills, and ditch any subscription you don't use. If you haven't used it in a month, it may be time to get rid of it. There is no sense in paying for something you don't use.

While it may be convenient to let your subscription contracts auto-renew, you may be missing out on a better deal. Companies are often willing to give their existing customers discounts to avoid cancelling their contracts. If you're willing to be brave and threaten to cancel your contract, you can usually get a better deal. For example, Sky often gives deals to existing customers - but you have to be willing to ask for them.

The same goes for any insurance policies. According to research by MoneySuperMarket, 52% of motorists let their car insurance auto-renew in 2021, which means that over half of us could be getting a better deal. So next time your contract comes up for renewal, don't be afraid to shop around and negotiate a better price.


Use Generic Brands


Even if you're devoted to a brand, generic brands can be just as good. Shop around and try purchasing a generic product. You never know. You may even like it more. Brand loyalty is just fine, but it's time to try something new when it affects your budget. There are some things my family won't give on, and that's okay! You're allowed a little luxury in your life. But things like beans, wraps, desserts etc., could be swapped once a week. I like to play a taste test game with my family, and if they like it more, we keep it. You could also swap laundry and cleaning products to see if it makes a difference. If it's not something you're happy with, see if you can find places to purchase it cheaper instead of purchasing it at full price. 


Budgeting can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. In fact, there are many simple things you can do today to start getting your finances in order. We've put together a few budget hacks that will help get you started on the right foot. One great way to start budgeting is by using an app. There are several different apps that can help you track your spending and stay within your budget. Another great way to save money is by establishing auto-pay for your bills. This ensures that you never miss a payment and helps avoid late fees. Which budgeting hack will you try? Let me know in the comments below!


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1 comments

  1. Love all this advice! It’s so important we’re getting the most for our money now

    ReplyDelete