If you always have more month than money, the following tips might offer a helping hand. It’s horrible living in constant wait for the next payday, but making a few tiny tweaks could make all the difference.
- Dealing with debt. Being in debt can be extremely stressful, as it often feels like a never-ending spiral of doom. It’s not uncommon for those of us who owe money to bury our heads in the sand, but that’s the worst response in this situation. Work out exactly how much you owe and how much you need to pay back each month to meet your minimum payments. Make sure those are covered if you have the funds. Then work out which debt is costing you the most (ie, which has the highest interest rate). If you have any money left over at the end of the month, pay this debt down first. It may help to transfer balances to an interest-free credit card, but avoid adding new debt where possible. If you are struggling with debt, talk to Christians Against Poverty (CAP), who will be able to offer practical help, advice and support.
- Switching it up. It’s easy to get into a cycle of simply renewing insurance policies or allowing lines of credit to revert to standard variable rates (SVRs) once a promotional period has ended. However, by being a little more proactive you could save yourselves hundreds of pounds a year. For example, switching to a better utility deal or remortgaging with a different lender could make a tangible difference each month. Some providers offer incentives for new customers or those who switch from another company. Others offer refer-a-friend or cashback schemes. Take advantage of all the deals available to you rather than sitting back and paying through the nose for your goods and services.
- Budgeting well. Write a list of all your earnings and outgoings. It might help to do this over the course of a month so you remember to include sporadic costs such as haircuts, birthday gifts and window cleaning. Keeping a daily diary can really help you see where your money is going! It’s important that your core commitments, such as rent or mortgage payments, car insurance and debt payments are covered, but are there any areas where you could make simple sacrifices to cut costs? Perhaps you could forgo your daily coffee or give up that gym membership you never use. Or maybe you simply need to set some cash aside at the start of the month for contingencies.
- Increasing your income. Maybe you’ve tried everything but there just isn’t enough money coming in. Could you consider asking your employer for a raise or a bonus? Is there any way you could take on some extra work or set up your own business to raise additional funds? Perhaps you could sell unused goods or offer fellow parents an affordable childcare arrangement. Maybe you have specialist knowledge or experience that could be monetised. Could you come up with a new invention or write a song? Be creative and keep an open mind.
- Praying for God’s help. This probably should have been our first point! If you’re struggling financially, take it to God in prayer. He has the answers, and all the world’s riches are at his disposal. Ask him to meet your needs and give you peace in the midst of the storm. If you can, share your money issues with someone you trust and ask them to stand with you in prayer.