Whatever your situation, getting on top of your money is always a smart move. Making good habits stick when you’re short of cash can help you save further down the road.
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Try these fast fixes first
If things change and you’re suddenly short of cash, here are five things that you could do right away:
- Tap into some of the things you can get for free online. Do you have something you could stop paying for? Like replacing a gym class with a YouTube workout.
- Think about thrifty meal plans to cut costs. There’s so much inspiration online, including ready-made shopping lists and recipes. @Tescofood and Tesco Facebook are a good place to start.
- Look at local community groups on Facebook where you can see offers and giveaways from local charities and businesses. You may find some useful things for free right on your doorstep.
- Check for any unspent vouchers in your Tesco Clubcard account. Use them to save on your shopping, or make your vouchers go further with Tesco Reward Partners.
- Declutter and sell your old stuff on sites like eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace. This can be a really satisfying way to make some quick cash.
Six easy ways to manage your money better
Thinking ahead, you could use these tips to make smarter money habits.
1. Work out how much you’re spending
To begin, set aside some time to look at your weekly or monthly outgoings. Even if you feel like you’re not spending much on buying things or going out, small things can add up.
Start with the big stuff and work your way down. Outgoings to keep track of include rent or mortgage payments, gas and electricity bills, council tax, and supermarket shops. You’ll also want to include repayments on loans, credit cards, or finance plans. Once you’ve ticked off all the big-ticket items, consider the smaller things.
The easiest way to find out how much you’re spending is to check your bank statements. If your income isn’t going to cover everything, you should move to the next step: budgeting.
2. Make a budget
When making a budget it’s a good idea to sort your outgoings into three categories: needs, debts/savings, and wants.
Needs covers all essentials, such as mortgage/rent, council tax, bills, insurance payments and food.
Debts/savings covers savings contributions and any repayments that you may owe e.g. towards a loan or a credit card.
The wants category contains all non-essential payments. Right now, this might include temptations thanks to local restrictions such as takeaways, TV subscription services, and online shopping.
We appreciate it might not be easy for everyone but you could try to allocate 50% of your income for needs, 20% for debts/savings, and 30% for wants – but you should only start buying the non-essentials if you can cover the first two categories.
3. Review your Direct Debits
If you’re worried that your income won’t cover your budget, take a look at all your current Direct Debits and ask yourself if they’re essential. Are you still signed up to a gym membership that you’re not using? Have you subscribed to one too many TV streaming services?
If you’re not using a service regularly enough for it to be worthwhile, then consider cancelling the Direct Debit. Just make sure you’ve checked the terms and conditions of your agreement, in case there are any penalties involved in leaving the contract early.
4. Set a savings target
Saving may not seem all that fun, but setting a savings target, even if it’s small is a great way to challenge yourself to get started. Once you have a goal, you could add some money to a savings account each month to reach it.
Don’t worry if the amount is small at first, every little bit helps, and as you get better at budgeting, you should be able to add more as time goes by.
5. Download our Mobile Banking App
If you have an account with us, our Mobile Banking App will help you keep track of payments. You can easily keep tabs on how much you’re spending and find out where most of your money is going. And if you have a Tesco Bank Credit Card, you can choose to get alerts on your phone when you use it - another handy way to track your spending.
Remembering to check your bank balance while you’re out is a smart habit when you’re trying to manage your money. If you’re unsure if you can afford something, it only takes a few moments to see.
6. Switch utilities providers
It’s no secret that energy providers are in constant competition with one another. So if you think you’re paying too much for your utilities, don’t be afraid to call up your providers and ask for your payments to be reduced. If they won’t budge, you could use a comparison site to find a better deal through their competitors.
In the summer months, your gas and electricity usage should naturally go down. If you don’t have a fixed price plan you can save some money by negotiating a lower rate over the seasons, and asking for a refund if you’ve overpaid, or switching to a new provider.
Has COVID-19 affected your finances?
There are a number of ways we can help - see our COVID-19 support pages to find out more.