How to Make The Most of Your Money

8 May 2016

Remember the days when you had to ask your parents to buy you something you wanted? Back then, I certainly never had to worry one bit about fishing for change in my back pocket. But alas, with independence and adult life comes the bittersweet responsibility of money. At first, you feel pretty powerful looking at your bank account when you get your first proper paycheck or installment of your student loan. But then comes the bills, one after the other. First rent, food and then utilities - the practical trio as I like to call them. Before you know it, that big lump sum you had at the beginning of the month ... well it's starting to shrink fast.

Every penny seriously counts as an adult. Sometimes the difference between one pound or two in your weekly grocery shopping could help you book a holiday far far away later in the year. The idea of saving may seem pretty daunting, but it's well worth doing in the long term. Future you will be very happy you did so! On that note, here are five tips to help you make the most of your pennies.

1. Budget
Before you even begin to reach for your purse, it's important to work out how much money you can afford to splurge this month. Subtract  all of your essential costs (i.e. rent, food, phone contract etc) and see how much you have left over.  This way, you'll have a better idea of what you can afford, rather than going in blind and basically becoming a child in a candy store every time you shop.

2. Bargain Hunt

Do you need to go to a big branded supermarket when you could pop over to local markets for some fresh veg? Do you need the branded item of Heniz soup or could the average Tesco or Aldi brand be just as good?  Country to popular belief, just because something is more expensive doesn't mean it has better value. Keeping an eye on pricing and quality while you shop will help you make the most of your well-earned pennies. 

2. 'Do you really need that?'

Decipher between what is a luxury and an essential, and be honest with yourself. Maybe the latest book release - however many times you try to convince yourself - is not exactly an essential. Is this something that is within your budget for the month? If the answer is no, then you put that item back on the shelf. You will not physically die without that. However missing out paying your rent or food bill for the month, is pretty much going to come back and bite you in the behind. Do not follow in the footsteps of Isla Fisher's character in Confessions of a Shopaholic. 

4. Save

Lock away a certain amount of your wage per month into a nice tidy ISA account, where you physically can not access it with ease. That way you'll be less tempted to dip into your savings. This fund will help you on a rainy day when things don't seem to be going so well, and it'll feel like such an achievement too!

5. Cheap Thrills

Some people believe in order to have a good time you have to pay for entertainment, and that is so not true. There are so many ways to entertain yourself for free. Here are a few ideas I came up with last year that may help you find some inspiration. Visit a Museum. Go to the park, or a firework display. Explore your neighbourhood. There's so much to see out there, and it doesn't have to break the bank at all.

For more advice on Student Credit Cards, check out Credit Card Insider (who kindly inspired the idea for this post through getting in touch!). Even if you aren't from the states or a student, they have practical tips on building good credit scores and how to use credit cards responsibly.  

Lastly, do you have any tips to share on making the most of your money? Share them in the comments below!

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