As wage and salary levels stay flat amidst spiralling living costs, families across the UK are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet.
And whilst short-term borrowing might seem like the answer, what happens if you then find you can’t make the payments?
Debt advice expert Darren Varden, Managing Director of licensed Insolvency Practitioners Varden Nuttall Ltd, shares his five top tips for keeping control of your finances.
Set a budget and stick to it
Work out how much money you need each month for essential items such as food, petrol, energy bills and debt repayments. Subtract this from your net monthly income. What’s left over is your disposable income. Use it wisely! Keep track of your spending and try really hard to keep your spending on budget.
Cut down on life’s little luxuries
If you smoke, now’s the time to stop. You’ll save a fortune and once the initial cravings die down, you’ll feel better, too. There’s lot of support out there to help make quitting easier and more affordable, so there’s no excuse not to give it a try. While you’re at it, cut down on alcohol and takeaway food as well. Your new lifestyle will be healthier as well as cheaper.
Shop around for the best deals
Whether it’s the weekly food shop or your annual car insurance renewal, don’t just stick with what you know. Switching to value brands for essential food items or swapping supermarkets could make a big difference to your bills. The best prices for energy and insurance are usually on the Internet, so get online and see how much you could save.
Boost your income if you can
If you’re able to work more hours, ask your boss if there’s any overtime or extra shifts available. If the answer’s ‘No’, could you manage a second job that fits around your main employment? No one wants to work all the hours God sends but if a few more hours a week will help you stay afloat financially, it’ll be worth it.
Be canny with credit cards
Don’t be sucked in by those 0% interest deals. They don’t last forever and by the time they come to an end, you could have run up a large balance that you can’t repay. If you must have a credit card, treat it as you would cash and deduct each purchase from your monthly budget. That way, you can pay off the balance in full each month.
Debts still a problem?
Sometimes, tightening your belt a few notches isn’t enough to keep you out of debt. If things are getting out of control, don’t bury your head in the sand – act now. Varden Nuttall offers a range of services, including IVA debt solutions, which can help.