If you struggle to get the household books to balance each month, perhaps it’s time to look at how you budget and see where you can make some savings.
Strict budgeting can really work wonders on a tight income; making the difference between staying in the black and out of debt.
Of course, there will always be times that you have to slip into your overdraft facility, but you should really try and avoid this if you can. Once you get onto the wrong side of the line, it’s much harder to get back over it than if you’d stayed in credit all along.
Some things to bear in mind:
- Check your grocery bill. You may be a loyal shopper with a particular supermarket chain, but with food prices going up, can you really afford to stay with that supermarket? Try a cheaper supermarket for a week or two. Be honest; can you really taste the difference or are you just being a supermarket snob? Changing allegiance could save you pounds per week.
- Revisit your utility suppliers. As with the supermarket, you’ve probably had the same gas and electricity supplier for a number of years. Check out the competition and see if another provider can offer you a better rate. Some providers offer a discount if you have both electricity and gas supplied by them. Similarly, check that you aren’t paying over the odds for insurance, telephone and internet connection.
- Reign in the luxuries. If you aren’t managing to meet all your expenses each month, then perhaps it’s time to suspend the gym membership and take up walking and jogging instead. Go out less often and invite people over for dinner instead – take turns and everyone will save in the long run. It might also be more fun!
- Leave credit cards at home. Putting things on credit is always a bad idea unless you can be sure you can pay the bill in full at the end of the month. Otherwise you’ll begin a losing battle against high interest rates and slip steadily into debt.
Following these suggestions should help you shave your monthly expenses, and for most households, this will be enough to make the difference and keep the books balanced. However, if you have already amassed a serious amount of debt, you may want to talk to a debt management company about the various options open to you to work clear of the debt.