When it comes to making your money stretch further, it can be tough to know where to start.
From having a back-up plan so you don’t have to dip into your savings to making small, everyday changes, there are ways to make your money stretch a little further.
Here are five simple tips on how to make your money work for you and save yourself some financial stress.
Meal planning can prevent all those little impulse buys that go with nipping to the shop last minute for dinner ingredients.
Start planning your weekly meals at the weekend and do one big online order to compare prices.
Using the same ingredients for different meals can really help stretch your money further, as well as helping to prevent food waste.
If you aren’t sure where to start, you can find a beginner’s guide to meal planning here.
Having a back-up plan ready in case things go wrong can stop you from being left with little money to cover essentials.
A savings account should be your first port of call.
Try to put away little and often to build up a pot of cash that can be used for emergencies. This avoids dipping into unauthorised overdrafts and incurring fees.
If it’s been a tough month and you have no other option, a short-term loan can help in an emergency – taking the time to research now means you can make an informed decision without the pressure of needing to pay for things immediately.
Ensure that the lender you choose follows the FCA’s rules and has a good Trustpilot score.
Budgeting is key to making the most of your money. Work out how much you need to spend to pay for bills, then work out what you need to spend to cover the essentials.
Start with your main bills: calculate exactly how much you have to pay out for utilities, rent or mortgage and even weekly food shops at the start of the month.
Break each of these categories down further and you’ll know exactly how much spare money you have left to play with.
This way you can enjoy some treats and save some cash at the beginning of the month without having to stretch money to cover bills later down the line.
You may think budgeting means cutting back on entertainment, but really it means looking out for fun and free options.
Pop Sugar’s round up of 99 free things you can do outside your home is great to refer to and includes ideas such as learning new hobbies like skating and hiking.
Keep up to date with local notice boards, community pages on social media and other websites and you’re sure to find a range of free activities nearby, leaving you with extra cash to spend or save.
Finally, calculating how much you’re spending on those small everyday costs can be a big eye-opener.
From buying a coffee rather than making one at work to buying lunches every day, what seems like a small spend can really add up.
For example, if you spend just £3.50 on lunch every day of the working week, it could add up to a whopping £875 a year.
This is cash that would look great in a savings account.
To avoid buying lunch every day you could try out making double of what you would normally eat for dinner so that you can pack the leftovers for the next day, or meal prep by making a couple of meals at the start of the week to portion out.
You can even freeze most meals to enjoy for the next week, too.
With these five tips, you can make your money stretch a little further and ensure you always have some savings ready for a rainy day or an emergency.
Jess has spent years travelling the world full-time. Nothing else comes close to the reaches of this emotive activity...