Most of us start each month with the plan to make our money last for as long as possible. Yet somehow, before we’re halfway to our next payday, we start to feel ourselves worrying about bills and cash again. Fortunately, the new year is here, and that means that it’s the perfect time to start making some changes to your lifestyle.
financial independence, now’s the time to make that all-important change to your spending habits. Here are our top tips for making your money last longer throughout 2019 and beyond.
1. Determine Your Income
The first thing you need to do is figure out how much money you can reasonably bring into your household each month. Think about the amount of cash that you and your partner earns after things like taxes are taken away. You can also include any benefits that you might be eligible for in your estimation of your income for a more complete overview of your finances.
If you’re a freelancer or someone with an income that varies from one week to the next, try figuring out how much you earned in the last year and splitting it into 12 chunks, so that you have an idea to start with.
2. Know Your Outgoing Expenses
Once you have an insight into how much money you have coming in each month, it’s time to think about how much cash you have going out. To do this, you’ll need to make a list of all your regular monthly expenses, including things like your rent or mortgage, the money you spend on your car, your insurance bills, and even your food costs.
All of your essential costs of living need to go into this category, and it’s also worth leaving a small portion of extra cash over for “just in case” money. After all, even if you’re very cautious when it comes to listing your outgoing expenses, there’s always a chance that you’ll miss something or forget an item that only appears in your life on a semi-regular basis.
3. Consider How You Can Reduce Your Expenses
There are certain costs in your life that you won’t be able to haggle over, such as the amount you spent on your rent, or how much you need to pay for your petrol. However, you can compare, and potentially reduce the costs of other bills. For instance, comparing prices for personal loans online will help to make sure that you’re paying the lowest interest rates.
If you’re worried that you’re always spending too much money on your gas and electricity bills, consider looking into alternative utility providers in your area instead.
4.Know What You’re Going to do With Extra Income
If after reducing your expenses wherever possible and paying for all your bills you find that you have a little bit of cash left over at the end of each month, congratulations! Now you get to decide what you’re going to do with that money. Usually, the best option is to split it into two categories – the money that you want to save, and the money that you can spend.
Remember, the last thing you want to do is merely look at your extra cash as disposable income. By planning what you want to do with every penny, you can ensure that you quickly begin to make progress towards your financial goals. For instance, maybe you want to start putting money away at the end of each month that you can use towards a deposit on a family home?
5. Address Impulse Spending
To make your cash last for as long as possible, you need to make sure that you’re sticking to your budgeting strategy. That means not just buying things on impulse or letting yourself off with a purchase because it “only cost a couple of pounds.”
If it helps, make a list of the things that are most likely to tempt you into impulse buying and look for ways to avoid them. For instance, if you know that you find it difficult to say no when your friends ask you out for lunch, consider inviting them over to eat at your house one day instead.
Finally, once you have a strategy in place, do what you can to commit to it. As difficult as it can be to tell yourself that you can’t have the items you want straight away, discipline is key when it comes to making your money last.