1. Bills always come first
After living off tuna cans the week before payday it's easy to be tempted into a splurge the second the cash hits the bank. But instead of thinking what you're going to buy, why not think about what you need to pay off?
Getting this out of the way first thing is the best way to get an idea of what you have left to work with for the rest of the month.
2. Ask - ‘Do I really need this?’
Get yourself into the habit of checking in with yourself. All too often we impulse buy without actually thinking about the consequences. Those guilt-ridden returns ring a bell? Thought so.
Next time you find yourself in conundrum ask yourself this one simple question, 'Do I really need this?' A moment's thought will help you make better decisions.
3. Compartmentalise your money
A good trick to try. After paying off your bills and leaving enough money in your account for direct debits (and a tad bit extra for emergencies) withdraw ALL your funds.
After, organise into envelopes and give yourself a set allowance for each week. This way you know how much you're spending each week without the temptation or freedom shall we say, to go back for more.
4. Bring lunch to work
Spending between five and ten pounds on lunch everyday ADDS the hell up. God knows how much we've spent on lunches in the last year, but we can guarantee you it's probably a lot.
Which is why we've started packing our lunches for work. There are loads of things you can make - salads, sandwiches, wraps, left overs from the night before - the choice is yours. Not only will it save you money, but it will save your waistline too!
5. Shop locally
Dropping in to one of your local farmers markets is a great way to help support local farmers and believe it or not, save you money. The ingredients are fresher and often in bundles so you get more bang for your buck.
If you're not sure where to start check your postcode here to find the nearest one.
6. Treat yourself (but not too often)
Everyone deserves a good treat once in a while. But remember, it's a luxury not a necessity. Going to the day spa is all well and good - but every single week? Don't live beyond your means girl.
7. Prioritise family and friends
Making sure you put your family and friends first will ensure you continue to maintain strong healthy relationships while also being able to plan social activities that involve the whole gang. How about organising a winter dinner party to kick off the holiday season? Or just dropping in for a cuppa? You can have a good catch up without breaking the bank by getting everyone involved in preparing dishes - it's all about working together to help each other.
8. Plan ahead
You don't have to be an 'ultra-organised person' to plan ahead! When popping to the shops a great way to keep the costs down is to compile a shopping list before you go. If you're lured in by something you'll be far more likely to talk yourself out of it. ‘Do I really need this?’
9. Be a savvy shopper
Now don't go all crazy coupon lady on us. We're just saying to try to stay on top of offers. Do this by checking out sites for their latest deals or signing up to their newsletters.
If they have your fave toothpaste on offer for example, buy it - even if you haven't run out! You may not need it in that moment and time, but in the future you will eventually need more toothpaste. Be clever with your money, you end up saving up more money in the long run.
10. Save, save, save!
The key to financial success is saving money. Now we're not saying save every penny you earn, that's just no fun, but a good rule of thumb is to generally put aside 15 to 20 percent of your total monthly income. This will cover large purchases, emergencies, retirement and give you overall financial security. That's not too daunting, right?
11. Don’t bring your debit card out
If you're on a GNO don't bring your debit card with you. If you do, you'll most likely be cringing at your bank account the next morning. Or worse, that horrific pop up INSUFFICIENT FUNDS. The best thing to do is to set a budget for the night and bring out a set amount in notes. This guarantees you spend only within your means.
12. Look forward to something
One of the main reasons we splurge is for gratification - it makes us feel good, plain and simple. But if you're looking for some real excitement and spontaneity you should plan a holiday away or a day break somewhere - planning, budgeting and being able to look forward to something can make a real impact on the way you deal with your money. For real.
13. Ring your providers
Call up your mobile phone, cable and gas providers to make sure you're getting the best deal for your money. Ringing them every six months or so to double check could save you a nice little lump sum every year. You never know until you ask.
14. Use apps
15. Buy and return
When things get desperado sometimes we need to screw the system a little. Which is why (if the time calls for it) it's totally acceptable to wear a dress and return it. Sorry (not sorry).
Don't waste all your money on booze! Before the night kicks off organise a gathering at your house for pre-drinks. No long queues and overpriced cocktails - who's gonna complain?
17. Get a railcard
If you're under 26 it's a GREAT idea to become an owner of a 16-25 Railcard which saves you up to one third on rail prices across the entire country.
But if you're over 26, not to worry. Buying advanced tickets can also save you tons of money. For the best deal try looking about two weeks before you go or earlier if you can. Remember, planing ahead is key.
18. Be gift wise
With the holiday season in full swing most of us are gearing up to do our Christmas shopping, but we recommend going the homemade route. Giving DIY gifts are far more thoughtful than anything else, purely because of the sheer effort.
OK - so we'd never complain about a Topshop gift card but we can't say we'd feel that sentimental about it either. You see where we're going with this?
19. Share a Netflix account
With your housemates! Why pay £6 a month when you can each pay £1.50? Sharing is caring folks.
20. Kick those unhealthy habits
Bad habits such as social smoking could be costing you a bomb. If you want to see your money stick around for longer this is a great way to keep healthy - physically and financially. There's SO many reasons to stop people!
What other strategies do you follow to make your paycheck last? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!
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