For most of us, money is almost always tight, and when you only get paid once a month, making sure that sum, however great or small, lasts until the next month is often a near impossible task. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making it through with all that you need, and hopefully a little more.
Deal with the Essentials First
It’s an obvious point, but an important one nonetheless. No matter what day of the month your rent or mortgage payment is due, make sure you get it out the way (or at least set it to one side) before you even think about anything else. Especially if you’re on a tight budget, it can be all too easy to spend £10 here and £20 there until you find you’ve accidentally been chipping into your mortgage money. After this come the other non-negotiable costs, commonly known as bills. Again, regardless of when your utility bills or council tax invoice normally come through, make sure you’ve put the money to cover them to one side before you let yourself consider anything else.
The Biggest Expenditure
Next should come the things that you know are going to account for a significant portion of your monthly income. This isn’t necessarily because they’re more important than basic daily items, but because the cost associated with them is generally less flexible than it is with other things. For example, if your car requires some repair work, forking out to get this done can be quite frustrating, but it’s a significant cost you need to budget for. Having savings to cover emergency situations like this is always a good idea, but we understand it’s not as straight forward as that. If it’s important and it requires a notable chunk of money, try to get it out the way before you make room for other things.
By ‘basic items’ we mean food, toiletries and the like. Of course these are essentials, and we’re not suggesting by any means that you should fix your car before you feed your children! The reality is, however, that often we can survive allocating less money to these things than we normally do. This might mean buying supermarket own-brand products rather than your branded favourites, or perhaps cooking from scratch a little more, rather than buying ready-made food products. Whatever this means for you, do make sure you and your family have everything you need in this area.
Use What’s Left over for Luxuries
You’re in a very fortunate position if there’s any cash left once all of the above is catered for, and it’s at this stage that you can start thinking about eating out, new shoes, a phone upgrade or whatever it is that you’re after. Many of us aren’t in a position to enjoy this kind of disposable income, but there are still ways we can find to treat ourselves. We recommend filling out online surveys for cash such as those offered by Crowdology. These offer you a little extra cash for sharing your opinions as part of market research. The idea is that you can do these at your own convenience; any time, any place, and you can rack up just enough cash to treat yourself to a Friday night beer, Sunday afternoon ice cream, or any little indulgence which takes your fancy, but you might not otherwise be able to justify.
Getting from One Month to the Next
Making your salary stretch all the way until its next instalment is often a challenge, so it’s advisable to budget wisely and realistically. Whilst it’s nice to treat yourself with any money you find is leftover, do this in moderation and, where possible, save a little too. This will leave you in a safer position if you find yourself facing unexpected costs one month. Planning ahead for every aspect of your lifestyle is the best way both to be sensible with your money, and to enjoy it.