Even with the best intentions in the world most of us have had that nasty sinking feeling when the cupboard starts looking bare and payday can’t come quickly enough. Planning ahead can help us guard against running dry at the end of the month. Studies claim the majority of us are spent up and reaching for beans on toast a full five days before payday.
Here are just some ways to help bridge that gap and for more click here to take control of budgeting or managing your money.
Find a balance
Tempering your payday splurges on new clothes, nights out and luxury treats for just a few consecutive months can bring your monthly cash flow into balance. It can also nurture some healthier financial habits. This doesn’t mean staying home and seeing no one, but it could be the spur you need to be more sociable in the comfort of your own home. Throwing a payday BBQ or party makes great financial sense and can be great fun, with friends bringing a bottle or snacks along with them. Saving money this way on the first weekend of the month could give you the breathing space you need to stay on budget and cover all of your essential bills.
Why pretend that you can afford a plush lifestyle if your budget figures just don’t add up? Getting off on the wrong financial footing in the first weekend after payday – by enthusiastically buying rounds of drinks or accepting an invitation to an expensive do – can leave you feeling stretched before the month’s really started. Try not to bury your head in the sand and risk setting your financial goal back by another month. Be open with your friends and family about your goals and suggest more affordable payday activities. It could mean the difference between reaching for the credit card, overdraft facility or even a payday loan come the third week of the month. Stella Creasy, Shadow Consumer Affairs Minister, told the Guardian recently that payday lenders relied on the fact that people will not discuss their debts. Talk, discuss and share your situation with those closest to you or with experts to avoid overstretching each month.
Avoid impulse buys
It can happen to the best of us. Suddenly your detailed budget – that carefully tracks income against expenditure to avoid the dreaded end of the month deficient – is blown apart by an unplanned purchase. Think about your spending traits. Would taking three days to make a decision before buying help you act more sensibly? Does sitting back to assess the long term value of replacing your television or booking a holiday stub out your excitement? Stop, check your budget and think about what you might need to sacrifice that month to make the purchase. Using a delaying tacit helps ward off buyer’s remorse or prepares you to cut back in other areas to afford this thing you really want.
Stick to cash if debit card transactions always made at the beginning of the month come back to haunt you later on. Cash is clear cut and immediately leaves your bank account, leaving no room for error of judgement or grey areas. Your wallet feels lighter when you hand over money and you might even think twice before parting with your pounds by spending this way.