It will come as a surprise to no-one that the price of fuel, food, gas and electricity, indeed pretty much the cost of everything has risen sharply over the past few years; most certainly faster that most people’s incomes have increased.
The problem that this causes is that many households, families with children especially are finding that their money has to stretch further than ever before. While this isn’t easy and of course who wouldn’t like to see the price hikes stop or reduce somewhat, it is possible in most cases to re-examine your personal finances and alongside some savvy shopping and budgeting make financial matters easier to manage.
First and foremost it is essential that each household has a working and realistic budget. This budget must include all of the priorities bills, for example, gas and electric, council tax, rent or mortgage, then repayments, monthly expenses and of course food. Basically, the budget needs to a really clear indication of what must be paid out each month. What this does is it gives you an amount to play with. A proportion of this will go into a pot to put towards an MOT or tax bill, and Christmas or birthdays however the rest is for you to spend and save as you will.
The surplus amount for most households is shrinking fast so that there is little left over after outgoings for any treats, savings and emergency funds. Indeed the only way to put cash back into the ISA or saving fund of choice and have a few pounds each month to play with is to reduce the amount that is flying out of the purse each week.
There are many ways to cut back on your costs yet the most effective way is to simply spend less on your shopping. Food shopping, clothes and shoes for yourself or for children if applicable, items for the house and birthday or Christmas gifts are all unavoidable costs. The good news is that while they may be unavoidable, they are often fairly easy to reduce with a bit of savvy shopping.
Many people will have seen glimpses of the American “coupon collectors” on TV carefully cutting out and collecting piles of printed money off vouchers to put against their shopping trip. In fact some expert coupon kings and queens have even been known to receive items for free doing just that. Our system for shopping and using vouchers isn’t as fully adapted in the UK as it is in the US however there are still some substantial savings to be made on purchases of all types and sizes.
Using a reputable site to find discount voucher codes, money off printed vouchers, codes for free delivery or a percentage off your order can result in the amount you have to pay at the till being considerably cheaper than you’d expect. The important word to remember is though is “reputable”. Using codes randomly posted around the internet not only runs the risk of you not benefiting from the savings as you’d hoped, it may also mean that you could get caught out at a later date.
A few years ago many mothers who frequented a parenting forum online used a code posted there for a certain retailer and saved themselves anywhere from ten to fifty pounds on their Christmas shopping. This sounds great however in the New Year these “savings” were added to their credit account as the code was not authorised for public use and had indeed been used fraudulently. A bitter pill to swallow for many shoppers who thought they’d saved a packet yet clearly hadn’t.
By playing by the rules, ensuring that you source codes from a discount voucher site that clearly has genuine links with a retailer and reading terms and conditions you really can slash the cost of your shopping with surprisingly little effort and use these saved pounds for anything that takes your fancy.