It can sometimes feel that there is so much to spend money
on and that we never have enough. It does mean that a lot of people turn to
loans and borrowing so that they can manage their day to day expenses. However,
there might be better ways to manage your money. It is sometimes the case that
we get confused as to what we should be spending our money on or we make poor
decisions about spending. It worth making sure that you prioritise your
spending so that you are able to cover all of the important things first. Below
is a list which could help you to identify the important things that you need
to pay for. It can be difficult to prioritise these as it will depend on your
personal feelings and circumstances.
It is really important that you are able to pay your mortgage or rent if you have to. If you are not able to pay these then you will eventually be evicted and end up homeless which will be really difficult for you and your family. If you are struggling with this, even if you cut back elsewhere then it can be worth considering downsizing. If you live in a smaller place or a cheaper area then these will be lower and it will be easier for you to afford them. Having a smaller property will also allow you to reduce costs in other areas as well such as heating and council tax.
If you have debts then you will need to pay them back. For some you may only have to repay the interest and others you will have to repay some of the outstanding balance as well, it will depend on the loan and how flexible it is. If you do not manage the repayments you could face all sorts of problems spanning from a poor credit report to a CCJ. If you are struggling though it could be wise to call up your lender and see whether they can help you out. They might be happy to allow you to pay back smaller amounts but repay for longer. This will end up costing you more money in the long term, but if it makes it easier to manage it short term it could be worth it. You could always change the arrangement again once you are in a better financial position. You may also want to consider changing lenders as sometimes switching to a different one can be cheaper but you will have to check if your current lender has a charge if you do that.
Food is obviously really important and you need it to survive. However, many of us buy much more than we need and more expensive food than we need. It can be a good idea to find a cheap supermarket and only buy the basics. It is possible to manage without snacks, processed foods, ready meals and puddings and we would actually be healthier and a better weight as a result as well as saving money.
Utilities include water, gas and electric. If we do not pay these then we may be cut off and have to go without essentials that help us to survive. It is therefore really important to make sure that we do pay them. However, it might be possible to keep usage to a minimum and switch to a cheaper provider. Do some research to check whether you could make changes that would save you money.
Children’s uniform/school travel/clothing
If you have children then there will be things that you will need to provide for them. They will need a school uniform and to be able to get to school. They will also need clothing as they will grow and need bigger things. It might be possible to buy second hand items and save money that way. Often school PTAs sell second hand uniform and if your child is at secondary school you may be able to get benefits to help pay for uniform.
Travel to work
Getting to work is really important as it is the way that you pay for things. This means that you will need to be sure that you can afford it. It might be that you will be able to investigate cheaper ways to get to work though. Perhaps using a different means of transport, walking or cycling would be free, car sharing could save money and there is a chance that public transport might be cheaper.
If you do not pay your tax then you will be fined. The government do not let you get away with not paying and so it is really important that you do.
If you have a dress code at work, then you will need to make sure that you have appropriate clothing. It might be possible that you can buy some items second hand though or repair things you have so that they last longer.
If you have any contractual agreements with companies, such as for your television package or mobile phone, then you will need to make sure that you pay these. You have signed an agreement to say that you will pay it and if you do not then you will face consequences. What consequences these are will vary and it could be a fine or even legal action.