Tag Archives: Finance

More Money-Saving Tips!

17th November 2014

Tips and Tricks

I’ve done a couple of posts on personal finance already, and, with Christmas coming up (sorry but it is!) I wanted to share a few more tips of how you can save money every day.

Money is such a stress on all of us, so I try to do what I can to make money less of a stress and less in control of how I live my life. There are lots of little things you can do to spend less and keep in control of your finances as, after all…every little helps!

  • At the end of the month do a little audit on what you spent your money on. You might realise you spent £70 on coffees or magazines and it’ll really help identify areas where you overspend.
  • If you have a craving to do some online shopping but don’t have the cash – try creating an Amazon wishlist of all the things you want to buy. This really helps me a lot! I love making a huge wishlist of all the cosmetics I want to buy over the coming months. It helps curb that shopping craving and you don’t need to spend anything to do it.
  • Take a packed lunch to work. It’s insane how much money you’ll save. Plus, it’s much healthier than eating out every lunch time!
  • If you do happen to have money left over at the end of the month, pop it into your savings account. You don’t *have* to spend everything in your account every month.
  • Don’t spend more money than you have – ever. Once you get stuck in the spiral of credit cards and overdrafts it can take a long time to get out of it. Know what your income is and don’t overspend. If you want to splash out on a designer bag, that’s great – but pay for it up front with money you’ve saved.
  • Sleep on big purchases. So, you fancy an iPhone 6? That’s great, but take a couple of days to figure out if you really want to spend that much money on it. If you do, go right ahead, but you might find yourself content with your older model when you take into account how many weeks of disposable income you’ll be giving up.
  • Stock up on essentials when there’s a deal. If you’ve got a favourite toothpaste or deodorant buy a couple whenever there’s a special offer on. It’s nice to have a couple of back ups in your cupboard and I often spot ‘buy one get one free’ offers on toiletries in supermarkets.
  • Do you really need that gym membership? If you use it, great, but if you don’t why not look at a cheaper alternative? Yoga, zumba, aerobics etc can all be done from the comfort of your home by streaming fitness videos on YouTube. Add in a few weights (use big bottles of water, if you want to save even more money) and you’ve got yourself a totally free workout.
  • Check online before making a big purchase. Looking for a new TV? Chances are you’ll find a much cheaper deal from an online retailer than buying in-store.

So what do you think? Do you use any of the above tips to save money? Let me know, what’s your best money-saving tip?

Sticking to a Budget: Top Tips

9th November 2014

I blogged a couple of weeks ago about how I budget each month and keep control of my finances. Today I want to share a few tips to help you stick to a budget and improve the health of your bank accounts.

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Copyright by Moyan Brenn

1. Take stock of your direct debits

Knowing what money is leaving your account on what days is so important, as it’s almost impossible to stick to a budget without knowing this.

Make a list of all your monthly direct debits and standing orders and note down what days they are paid on. It’s much easier if all your bills leave your account on the same day, to try and get your direct debit payment dates to match up where you can. For me, I like my bills to be paid as close to the beginning of the month as possible.

Make sure your direct debits are all necessary – are you still paying a subscription to an online magazine you never read? Or a gaming service you never use? When I last did an audit of my direct debits I discovered I was paying monthly insurance for a Kindle that broke over two years ago!

2. Cut down on grocery shops

I’m planning a whole separate post on how to save money on groceries but the first step is to limit yourself to one or two grocery shops a week. Popping into the shops every couple of days to pick up dinner is a surefire way to overspend on food – every trip to the supermarket is an opportunity to get seduced by ‘buy one get one free’ offers, and you’ll almost always find yourself buying things you don’t need.

Take it one step further by ordering online, so you can keep an eye on how much you’re spending so you don’t go overbudget. The drawback of online ordering is the delivery charge, so you’ll need to work out which is going to be the best method to help you save money. If you’re someone who struggles with willpower you’ll probably save more money by shopping online, even if you do have to pay for delivery!

3. Enjoy spending your disposable income

Budgets might seem boring and fuddy duddy, so make sure you really enjoy spending your disposable income. That money is there for you to spend on exactly what you want, so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about what you spend it on. Want to blow it all on mascara, ebooks or cocktails? Go right ahead. Your bills, food, petrol and savings are already accounted for, so why not spend what’s left over on things that make you happy?

4. Start saving for presents

I get a lot of stick from my friends for this one but, I promise you, it’s worth it in the long run! I have a standing order of £20 a month that gets paid into an account I use to buy birthday and Christmas presents with. £20 a month isn’t much and it really adds up throughout the year, so when it’s a friend’s birthday or Christmas is coming up I already have a pot of savings to dip into. It makes December much less stressful, as I already have a big chunk of the money there, instead of having to take it all out of my November pay cheque.

5. Make a finance spreadsheet

This is another one people always take the piss out of but pshhh, it means I always have money left over at the end of month so…yeah. A while ago I stumbled across a personal finance spreadsheet that was so helpful when I started budgeting. If you scroll down on this page you can download the ‘Spreadsheet Budget Planner’, which is a great way to get started.

A spreadsheet allows you to see a breakdown of your finances and outgoings and also helps you forecast for the coming months. If you need to save a certain amount of money by a certain date (for a holiday, for example), a spreadsheet is an easy way to work out how much extra you need to save each month, and how that will impact the rest of your budget.

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These are five things I implement every month that are a really big help to me. I hope some of the above tips help you out, too. Let me know, what are you most likely to spend your disposable income on?

Get Control of Your Finances: How I Budget

2nd November 2014

I’ve always been careful with money but since I set myself up as a full time freelancer I’ve had to become even more careful. While I love freelancing, there is always a sense of job insecurity, so it’s imperative, for me, that I keep a close eye on my finances and know exactly what’s going on in my bank accounts.

Throughout my years of learning to manage my money properly I’ve accrued quite a few tips that I want to share with you today, in case you’re looking to get more control over your money and learn a bit more about budgeting.

My budget takes the form of the following simple steps:

Budget

budget part 2

And it’s that simple!

I take my total income for the month and remove the cost of my fixed outgoings for the month (rent, phone bill, Netflix, Bertie’s pet insurance, food, petrol etc – things I know I have to pay every month). Next I remove whatever amount I’m putting into savings that month and transfer it to my savings account there and then so I’m not tempted to spend it.

What you’re left with after removing savings and outgoings is your disposable income for the month and, for me, this is money I can spend on whatever I want. Whether it’s make up, nights out, clothes or books – that’s my guilt free money to enjoy without any worries.

You might be happy to leave your budget here but I like to undertake one final step, where I divide my monthly disposable income by four, which leaves me with a weekly budget.

For me, having a weekly budget is so useful, as it means I don’t spend all my money in the first couple of weeks and spend the last half of the month scrimping around with nothing in my bank account. Knowing my weekly budget also helps me gauge the value of certain purchases and cuts down on impulse buys. Say I’m eyeing up a £100 pair of shoes and my weekly disposable income is £50, I might balk at the idea of spending an entire fortnightly budget on one thing.

Also, I do a bit of monthly forecasting and see if I have any big events coming up during the month that are going to cost a fair bit of money – if I know I have a big shopping trip planned in week three of the month, I’ll save something from weeks one and two, so I already have the money put away and don’t have to worry about overspending.

I know some people find the subject of personal finance a little dry but I love not having to stress about money and not having to worry about overdrafts and loans. Everyone’s financial situation is different and I’m lucky that I don’t currently have to think about dependents or mortgages, but I’ve found a great system to work with what I’ve got and enjoy living within my means.

I hope you found something in this post useful and I’ll be posting again soon about my top ten tips for sticking to your budget.