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Budget in Need of Balancing? Handy Budgeting and Spending Tips

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Budgeting is hardly a fun pastime. Still, with the level of new debt reaching the highest levels the country has seen for seven years, it suffices to say that many individuals and households across the UK need to budget more carefully.

Many consumers are now far too reliant on credit. Sure, there are times when we need to borrow in the form of a short-term unsecured loan or use plastic to buy essentials to get through the week, but many people are at borrowing more than they can repay, and that’s where the problems start.

So why are UK consumers borrowing so heavily at the moment? Opinions on the subject are divided, even polarised at times, with some claiming that consumer confidence is behind the surge in borrowing and others arguing that consumers are borrowing more to “cover the gap between what they earn and what they need to pay for each month,” as the shadow consumer minister, Stella Creasy, recently said.

Whatever the reasons behind the sharp rise in borrowing over the past few months, learning how to budget effectively is a wise move offering many notable benefits. Consequently, whether you believe you need to budget better so as to meet your current debt repayment obligations comfortably, or would prefer not to borrow and get into debt at all, it’s hoped you find the following tips helpful.

Look for savings on ‘essentials’

When investigating how much gets spent every week or month on ‘essentials’ – food, rent, utility bills, etc., many people are amazed, shocked even, to discover how much they are actually spending. What’s even more shocking for many people, however, is the realisation that they needn’t have spent so much in the first place.

There isn’t a lot that most of us can do about the amount we spend on rent, at least not immediately anyway, though there are usually many significant savings to be had on essential household goods and services, like the weekly shop, insurance, and utility bills.

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Weekly shop

Getting over an aversion to store-brand products is, for many consumers, the key to slashing the amount spent on the weekly shop. You don’t have to buy everything store-brand, though there are countless store-brand products that you can substitute for more expensive ‘name brand’ products without affecting your enjoyment of the meals you cook, the way you live, or the hygiene standards you insist upon at home.

Insurance

Loyalty doesn’t usually count for much where insurance is concerned. If you stick with the renewal quotes that you receive from your current insurer, there’s a very good chance that you’re missing out on getting a much better deal from another. Most insurers save their best deals for their new customers, so making the switch to a new insurer can save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year.

Utility bills 

Along with reducing your energy usage by making changes to the way you use energy at home, you could also save hundreds of pounds annually by switching to a new utility service provider. Along with signing up with a new provider, you can also save by changing your energy tariff and paying for gas and electricity by direct debit.

You won’t feel deprived by making a few changes here and there, though you do stand to have a lot more money in your pocket at the end of the week.

Cut down on non-essential spending

Just as you can save money on essentials, so too can you save money by cutting down on non-essential spending. Once again, you don’t have to limit yourself to the point where you feel deprived, but you do have to take into consideration just how much of your salary gets spent on non-essentials and make changes accordingly.

If you’re unsure as to what ‘non-essential spending’ entails, which you should, it’s the money that you spend on goods and services that you don’t really need, but more so want.

As a wage earner, you deserve to spend at least some of your salary on non-essentials, like going to the movies, eating out, having a coffee with friends on your lunch break, buying new clothes and digital devices, but you also have to realise that if you don’t curb your spending now, there could be a major price to pay later.

Repay more than the minimum

Repaying more than the minimum amount on credit cards and unsecured personal loans mightn’t seem like an ideal way to have more money in your pocket at the end of the week, but repaying more than you’re required to will slash the interest that you are charged, and that’s definitely an outstanding way of reducing your expenditure.

If you have more than one outstanding loan to repay, consider applying for a consolidation loan so as to combine all your debts into one easy-to-manage loan. However, if you’re considering this option, ensure you have a plan that enables you to pay off your debts without hitting the plastic or taking out another personal loan.

Get help if you need it

No one should ever be too proud to ask for help if they need it, especially if they find themselves unable to balance their budget, reduce their weekly expenditure, meet their repayment commitments comfortably, and are therefore, in well over their head.

Lenders are, generally speaking, much more responsible than they were in the past and all the players, from payday loan lenders to banks and credit card companies, are adhering to the responsible lending guidelines that governmental organisations have put in place to protect consumers.

However, it’s also up to consumers to borrow in a responsible manner, so should you find yourself unable to balance your budget after looking for savings on essentials and cutting back on non-essential spending, you’re advised to take advantage of the free debt advisory services that can help you by assessing your situation and drawing up a repayment plan that empowers you to effectively deal with your debts.

About the author

Peter Davis Peter Davis is a Marketing Analyst at PaydayLoan123 specialising in financial products. Peter writes most of our articles as he stays up to date with the latest information. He enjoys most sports, particularly playing football and watching his favourite football team. Peter really like his food too as we have all witnessed first hand!

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