There's nothing worse than getting towards the end of the month and realising you're running short on cash, but with a bit of proactivity and careful money management you could find you have a bit more left over. It could make that final week (or two) a whole lot more comfortable, so with that in mind, we've listed the six key things you can do to help make your money go further.
- Review your bills. Energy bills are one of the biggest concerns for a lot of households, particularly with prices having increased considerably over the last few years. That's why you need to regularly review your tariff and compare energy providers to make sure you're getting the best deal, and don't be afraid to switch to boost your monthly budget. The same applies to phone and broadband tariffs too – there are always plenty of good deals to be found so the key is to do your research, and you might be surprised with how much you could save simply by switching providers.
- Manage your credit card effectively. Credit cards can be a godsend when managed effectively but a serious financial headache when they're not, so make sure to get into the habit of proper credit card management. That means you want to pay off the balance in full each month to prevent interest adding up, and ideally look for cards that offer 0% purchase deals, cashback or loyalty points so you can really make the most of your spending. Or, if you've already maxed out a card (or two) and want to get back on track, make sure to look for balance transfer cards to give you time to clear your debt without interest adding to the bill.
- Get into the savings habit. Proper money management means you should be setting some money aside each month into a separate savings account, helping you build up a nest egg for the future – or a valuable fund for life's emergencies. Saving regularly is key and even if you've only got a small amount to put aside each month it can soon add up, and make sure to consider all savings avenues too. Having an ISA should be first on the list so you can maximise your tax-free allowance, and after that it all comes down to your circumstances and savings goals – if you're saving up for something big then a fixed rate bond will usually give the best returns, whereas if you're saving towards an emergency fund you'll probably want an easy access account for penalty-free withdrawals whenever you need.
- Check your insurance policies. If you've got into the system of blindly renewing your insurance policies without considering the alternatives, it's time to make a change. Reviewing your policy and comparing other providers in advance of your renewal date will ensure you know you're getting the right cover at the right price, and you could well find that switching means you'll save some cash whilst getting a better level of cover in the process. This applies to all insurance policies too, from car insurance to home insurance, life cover and even insurance for your pet, so always go through things carefully to see if you could get a better deal.
- Make the most of vouchers, loyalty cards or special offers. Becoming a true cost-cutter means always looking to take advantage of added discounts, and with so many voucher deals and discount codes available there's no excuse not to use them. Do a quick search before you buy anything online and you'll be surprised at what you could save – the same rule applies if you're planning to splurge on the high street – and ideally get a loyalty card from anywhere you shop at regularly to see your reward points build up.
- Get a better bank account. These days bank accounts can offer a host of added benefits, from mobile phone and travel insurance to free music downloads and even breakdown assistance, and although you'll usually have to pay a fee for such accounts they could prove to be highly cost-effective (just make sure you'll actually use the benefits offered)
A lot of accounts offer the likes of cashback deals and reward points too, putting cash straight back in your pocket simply for spending on your debit card, or alternatively you might like to look for a high-interest current account such as TSB's Classic Plus (which offers an impressive 5% interest on in-credit balances up to £2,000) and earn extra interest on your regular income. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make your money go further. A bit of active money management and some added research thrown in could be all you need, so start reviewing your budget and household finances to see where improvements can be made – you might find you could make even bigger savings than you thought.
Find the best bank account for you
Find the best savings rates for your investment
Compare insurance prices with our partner Quotezone.co.uk