I do love to budget and I'm one of those people that has to have a spreadsheet that calculates things out so I know where things are going and on what dates. I have a bills account which a standing order goes over to on payday. Standing orders also go out for various amounts into separate online 'pots'. I suppose working in a bank has made me be quite organised with my money now.
I'd like to share with you some of the little things that I do to put me in control of my money.
January is the time that I pay for the entire year of line rental for my home phone. It saves me over £30 for the year and I'd need to pay it anyway so I choose to go with that option. (I do use my cashback credit card to pay it though so it works out even less too. Obviously I then pay the equivalent money off my credit card. They'll be getting no interest out of me I can assure you!)
It's definitely worth researching your provider to see if they offer a similar scheme.
Make the most of the things you have with your landline package. I have unlimited weekend and evening calls. Between the hours of 7pm and 7am I get free 0845 numbers up to 59 minutes too. Now I'm not in the habit of needing to use them but I've found a great website that will pay you to listen to their radio station.
This is my link http://bit.ly/1x9lDzx but you can go direct to www.cash4minutes.co.uk .
Earn 5% of what your referrals make and 1% of everything that people who they introduce make.
I ring the 0845 number that it provides and just let the radio play for up to 59 minutes. I set an alarm on my phone to go back and re-dial before that time. Really simple and let's face it, the only people that ever ring my landline are cold callers so I don't need to worry about my line being engaged.
Cash4minutes also offer an SMS side to the site too. You simply send the day and your age to the mobile numbers they give and you are credited for these. You can send 20 texts to each number with a combined amount of approximately 150 texts per day.
You can cash out at £5 so I'll update how quick that is when I get there. (Probably be tomorrow!)
****Please do check your own individual landline and/or mobile to make sure you won't be paying to do it. ****
I used to pay this monthly by direct debit but I've now got to the stage in my life where I can pay the entire amount in one great big lump. I have a 'car' savings account so I put money into that each month so that it's not a huge shock.
Shop around too and don't be afraid to ring up your current provider and see if they'll offer you a better deal.
(I am slightly limited with my car as it is modified but you can also go through cashback sites when buying online.)
It's amazing how much can be saved by just thinking ahead and not relying on take-aways to provide your meal for you. If we do have a take-away, we will do it "family-style" and order a mixture of items so that everyone can have a bit. A Chinese take-away is a firm favourite among my family and friends on a Saturday evening so if you ever plan on visiting us at a weekend, bring your chopsticks.
Make take-aways a treat and not a regular thing.
Use coupons, discount codes and loyalty cards
Whether shopping instore or online, see if you can get it cheaper. I happily cut coupons out or print them off the Internet and use when doing my grocery shopping. Think of the value on that piece of paper as actual money.
Loyalty cards are there to be used. Grab one for the stores that you visit and make sure that you have them with you when you visit them so that your points can be added onto them. I regularly have good mailings from my Tesco Clubcard and happily build up my Boots Advantage card with points too.
Consider a second job
I'd love blogging to become full time but that's highly unlikely to ever happen. Also, my hobby of entering competitions and winning things isn't a reliable way of being able to pay my bills. I'm not sure I could pay my mortgage with some recent wins of a bright orange anorak.
I therefore looked into options that I could do around my family and current work commitments. I decided to become a Phoenix Trader . I did look at other work from home options such as Usborne books and Avon but this one suited me more. I'm definitely someone that feels right at home with stationery and I liked that it was quality greeting cards so there was always going to be a need for the product throughout the year. (I am registered as self-employed and complete my tax return each year so don't forget to browse the HMRC website or ring if you have any queries relating to a second income.)
Make the most of your spare time
If you read my post Ever wanted to earn money sitting at home on the computer? then you'll know that I try not to let a minute of my spare time be wasted. Definitely worth a read.
Try avoiding the washing up and making your money work harder.