How to put more money in your pocket

5/04/2011

No-one likes to think that they’re wasting their own money, but it’s surprising how many of us are spending more than we really need to on everyday expenses. Make sure you’re not falling into these traps and you’ll see your cash go further.

 

piggy bank• An absolute top tip is to budget. A simple calculation of your essential outgoings, deducted from your take-home pay, lets you know just how much disposable income you have. Then you can decide how to spend it wisely!

• Stay organized and pay your bills on time. By missing bill payments or paying late, you can accumulate hefty penalties. These are easily avoided by organizing your bills when they arrive and marking the payment deadlines on a calendar so you don’t forget them.

• Shop online. Not only does this save you the time and fuel it takes to get to the mall, but you can often get the same goods you see in the shops at a reduced price from online retailers with lower overheads.

• Choose energy efficient appliances. Not only are these kind to the planet but they can be kind to your pay packet too. Energy efficient appliances may cost a little more initially, but over their lifetime they really save you money. Check the energy ratings before you buy and calculate the savings.

• Collect coupons. It’s worth cutting these out of newspapers and magazines and looking for them on the backs of receipts and in-store promotions. Don’t be tempted to buy something you don’t really need though, just because it’s on offer!

• Look for free software. Boxed software for your computer can come with a huge price tag, but there are many packages available online free of charge that might meet your requirements. Open Office, for example, is a good alternative to Microsoft Office for home users and is totally free to download.

• Ask for a reduction in interest rates. Don’t be afraid to call your credit card company and request that they drop your rate to stay competitive. Also consider moving your debt to a card with a lower - or even a 0% APR - interest rate, though beware balance transfer fees. Also try to pay off your balance as quickly as possible – paying only the minimum monthly payment can cause your debt to snowball.

• Subscribe to your favourite magazine. There are great savings to be made by taking out an annual subscription to your favourite title, rather than shelling out the full cover price for every issue. And if you’re a big reader, trade magazines and books with friends.

• Make annual insurance payments. Instead of paying monthly instalments that attract interest, try to pay your life insurance, car insurance, and any other policy payments once a year. Smaller payments might be convenient but they come at a price.


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