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How to make your money go further

How to make your money go further

Category: Money

Updated: 22/04/2014
First Published: 22/04/2014

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

There's nothing worse than getting towards the end of the month and realising you haven't got enough left to be comfortable, but it seems that many Brits are actively trying, and succeeding, in making their money go further. Could you be one of them?

The stats

According to research from savings specialist Standard Life, 92% of those surveyed actively manage their budget and look for ways to cut costs. A growing trend is to regularly review phone/internet tariffs (up 21% year-on-year) and compare utility providers (an increase of 20%), and there's been a significant increase in the number of young people taking steps to control their costs too.

In the past year 42% more under-25s review their tariffs on a regular basis and 33% more pay off their credit cards each month, showing their increased commitment to proper money management. However, it isn't just a younger generation phenomenon, as 21% more people aged 55+ set themselves a weekly or monthly budget to ensure they keep their costs under control.

How to join them

If you want to join them on the path to proper money management, here are several things you can do:

  • Review your utility tariff. 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.
  • See if you can get a better phone/broadband deal. The same applies to phone and broadband tariffs – 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 by simply 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 you 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 taken it too far you'll want to look for balance transfer credit cards to give you time to get back on track.
  • 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.
  • 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 could save some cash whilst getting a better level of cover.
  • 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, 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). Alternatively, look for a high-interest current account such as TSB's Classic Plus, 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 a decent amount of research could be all you need, so start reviewing your budget and see where improvements can be made – you might find you could make even bigger savings than you thought.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.