4 tips for surviving until payday without going into debt

With so may different things to pay for, managing your money until payday can be difficult.

Often, we end up going into debt without meaning to, or because we have no other options. There are many ways that your money can be eaten up throughout the month. Finding ways to make your money last can be the difference between you going overdrawn or needing to take out a loan to get through to the end of the month, and making it until payday with a little money left over.

Preparing for bills and expenses in advance and budgeting your money can give you peace of mind and mean that you aren’t hit with unexpected payments or overdraft and interest charges. Check out these tips below.

1. Create a budget

The first thing you’ll need to do to get your finances in check is to create a budget. Although this may sound daunting, it’s not that difficult and means that you’ll always know how much you have to spend and how many payments you have to account for. You don’t need to make a spreadsheet if you don’t know how to, a budget can be created on paper, just make sure that you look at your bank statements and write down the regular payments that come out of your account each month.

Look at bank statements over 3 or 6 months to get the best understanding of your outgoings, as some payments may not be taken monthly. It can also be a good idea to consider events or occasions that may require spending like birthdays, so that you can work these into your budget.

Once you know how you’re spending each month on household bills, food, vehicle running costs and anything else that you consider a regular expense, calculate the total of these and compare them against your income each month, if your income changes regularly. If you get paid the same every month, then budgeting your money will be a lot easier.

Work out how much you have leftover after you have paid your essentials and then you can budget this into certain categories such as “eating out, leisure, days out, clothing” and anything else you would consider more of a luxury than a household essential.

You can download a budget planner template here.

2. Be prepared to make cuts

Once you have created a monthly budget, you may be left feeling rather deflated. If your outgoings are much more than your income, then you’ll have to be prepared to make cuts. It can seem impossible to make cuts to your budget but most people can usually shave a fair chunk off of their outgoings with a little bit of effort.

First, you’ll need to look at your spendings and see whether any regular payments that leave your account are more of a luxury than a necessity. Most of us are guilty of signing up for something that we don’t need and then forgetting to cancel a subscription. If you are paying for a subscription that you no longer use or you’re willing to get rid of, then this can free up some cash in your budget.

Once you’ve identified luxuries that you spend on regularly and have removed these from your outgoing budget, you can focus on reducing the amount that you’re spending on necessities. Although you may not be in the position to move house and reduce your rent or mortgage payments, you may be able to reduce the amount you’re paying for your utilities.

Shop around and maybe even visit a comparison website and see if you can save any money on your phone/internet, TV package, gas & electric, or water bill.

3. Start using cash where possible

As we live in a world where paying with plastic is becoming commonplace, it can be difficult to know how much we’re spending until we look back at our statement. Cash can be a great budgeting tool that allows you to keep track of your spending more easily. Although you won’t be able to pay your direct debits in cash of course, you can for other things in your budget like food, fuel and days out. It’s usually best to withdraw a set amount of cash each month and divide it up in envelopes or pots for different things.

This will mean you know exactly how much you’ve spent on food and how much you have left to spend on food for the month. This can take a lot of complicated calculations out of the mix and make it simpler to keep track of what you’ve got, you may also be more likely to have some money left over at the end of the month by using this method.

4. Sell anything you don’t use

If you’re looking for some extra cash, it can be a good idea to have a clear out of your belongings. Most of us have got things that we no longer need cluttering our homes that can be sold. Consider selling these online or at a car boot sale to boost your income for the month.

How to stop buying things you don’t need

We have all used retail therapy as an excuse to spend more money than we should.

It is okay to treat yourself to a new pair of shoes or a nice dinner here and there, but when it becomes a habit, then there is a problem. Shopping can be addictive and stopping is easier said than done. Impulsive purchases are almost always things we think we need but never really use. If you have a closet full of clothes with tags on, this article is for you. Here are some tips to help you stop buying things that you don’t really need.

Create a budget

Many people list ‘better money management’ as one of their New Year’s resolutions, and some go a step further in creating a budget.

Making a budget is easy but sticking to it can be quite tricky. One of the reasons why your budget is not working is because it is not realistic.

Forget about everyone else’s spending habits and look at yours and your needs. For instance, if your work requires that you look put together and stylish, then you will spend more on clothes and apparel compared to other people. Creating a budget tailor-made (pun intended) for your needs will encourage you to stick to it. You could also ask for help from a professional if you can’t do it yourself. This article on Money Saving Expert may help.

Use cash

If you have a pattern of overspending every time you go to the shops, start carrying cash and leave your cards at home.

Having a fixed amount of money ensures that you can’t spend outside your budget.

When shopping using a credit card, it is hard to track the amount of money you are paying, and that is why you may find it more difficult to account for money when you get your credit card statements.

Make a weekly food plan

Planning what you need to for the week before you go food shopping ensures that you only buy what you need. When shopping for groceries, most of us buy more than we need and end up wasting a lot of food in the process. Experts also advise against grocery shopping when hungry. Shopping online can also help you spend less when it comes to groceries.

Prioritise your needs and wants

It is completely fine to spend your money on extravagances and things for yourself. However, you need to prioritise your wants.

You do not need to have fifty perfumes, but if trying out new scents brings you joy, find a sensible way of making your purchases. The next time you visit the perfume store, decide on one perfume that you really want to try and just buy that one. Another way to go about it is to buy sample sizes first before investing in a big expensive bottle.

Declutter and organise

If you decluttered your closet today, you would be surprised by how many clothes you own. Decluttering and organising your home gives you better visibility of what you have. It helps to be aware of what you already own and therefore, you will not need to buy the same items over and over again.

Get grounded in numbers

If you shop a lot when you are having a bad or even a good day, try and get grounded in the numbers and not the emotions. A jacket worth £100 will not make you feel any better.

As a matter of fact, you will end up regretting making that purchase once you are in a better mood. The next time you have a horrible day and are tempted to go shopping, remember all the things you regret buying.

Stop buying into trends

In fashion especially, trends come and go. Buying something just because it is trendy will have you collecting junk you will never use.

Before making a purchase, think long and hard about whether or not that item fits into your style. What is the possibility of using it, and how often will you use it? Do not buy things that you are only going to wear once and forget about them.

Shop with a purpose

Sales and discounts might look like an excellent way to save money but that is not always the case.

Buying ten pairs of the same shoe in different colours is not a steal; it is just an extra pair of shoes you don’t need that create clutter and limit your options. You don’t need shoes in every colour, so buy the basics.

To be honest, you will undoubtedly end up making room for them at the back of your closet and never wear them. I recommend that you save and buy quality items that will last a long time, instead of buying many cheap things that wear out quickly.

Bad habits are hard to break, and shopping can become addictive. I hope that the tips and tricks mentioned above help you become a more intentional shopper.