How to Make the Most of Your Budget in 2019

Posted on 28 Jan 2019 by Anna Scott
It’s a common New Year’s resolution – save more money. But it’s much easier said than done, especially when you have no idea where to begin. If we’re honest with ourselves, there are always some obvious spending habits we can cut back on (that mid-week takeaway or mid-morning latte for example), but what else are we missing? Taking a closer look at your spending and making a few minor tweaks here and there could make a massive difference…

 

Set Your Goals


Before we talk about cutting back and saving money, let’s start with the fun stuff – focusing on WHY you’re saving money in the first place. What are your goals? Are you saving up for something in particular? In order to stick to a stricter budget, it often helps to focus on your goals. Perhaps you’re saving up for a deposit on a house, or a summer holiday or even a gap year adventure with STA Travel. Or maybe it’s something on a slightly smaller scale – a new item of furniture you have your eye on, or a designer dress. Whatever your goal is, always keep it mind and all this budgeting will feel that much easier.

 

backpacking scenery


 

If it’s a holiday you’re saving for, one very helpful way of sticking to your plan is to set those plans in stone. And this means actually booking that holiday. Of course, you won’t have the money to pay for it outright now, but you can put down a small deposit and possibly arrange to spread the rest of your payments over several months. Tour operators like On The Beach specialise in finding low deposit packages and budget all-inclusive holidays, so why not take a look if you want to start focusing on those holiday goals?

 

Be Smart With Your Budget


And now for the not-so-fun stuff. Working out how much you need to save over a certain time period, then working out your spending budget accordingly. The most important thing here is to be realistic. It’s easy to say you can save several hundred pounds a month, but if this involves making loads of spending sacrifices, there’s a good chance you’re going to crack. Leave room to budget for the occasional treat and you’re much more likely to stick to your plan. A great tip provided by Finance Broker Beau Cook is to "physically segregate your budget whether online or in cash. Online you can open up as many accounts as you need and these separate accounts can be used for different outgoings. One account for direct debits, one for groceries and one for bills."

 

saving money


 

Additionally, Caroline Jean-Baptiste from Mortgage Choice adds that “it is a good idea to audit your accounts occasionally. Set some time aside to get intimate with your spending so you can truly understand what’s coming in and going out”. Once you’ve gone through your spending in greater detail, you might find there is room to save a little bit more every month. There’s nothing to stop you going back to your budget and tweaking it if you think you can save more.

 

Saving Money on the Essentials


There are certain things we will ALWAYS have to set aside money for, namely food and utilities. Unfortunately, it feels like the price of these goes up and up every day. When it comes to food, the most obvious cut back is eating out and takeaways. Enjoy them once in a while, but everyone can cut them out on a regular basis if they have to.

But when it comes to buying your own groceries, that’s a bit trickier. If you don’t do regular supermarket shops and just pick things up from your local store as and when, you might need to change this habit. Prices in Express-style stores tend to be much higher than larger branches of supermarkets, so your overall food spend is going to be higher. If you don’t live within easy reach of a large supermarket and don’t have a car, maybe now is the time to consider placing a large online food order. The costs aren’t necessarily lower, but you can see how much you’re spending as you go and can remove items before you reach the checkout if it’s costing too much – much easier to do online than in the actual supermarket! Both Sainsburys and Tesco offer this online service and there are often discounts available for your first order.

 

grocery shopping


 

Shopping around for new utilities suppliers is now much easier than it used to be. If you’ve been putting off switching your gas and electric to a cheaper supplier, take advantage of the many comparison sites available that will do all the hard work for you. And the market is now full of broadband promotions to compare, so why not see what deals providers like Virgin Media are currently offering?

 

Become a Bargain Hunter


There’s no point in pretending you’re going to stop buying new clothes and other items altogether. Unless you’re really committed, that is. But the chances are things are going to need replacing, or you’ll see a new top or pair of jeans at a great price. But like we mentioned earlier, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every now and again.

The key is to become a bargain hunter extraordinaire. This doesn’t mean spending ages browsing the sale racks of the charity shops (although this is a good idea too if you’re got a spare afternoon). No, what we mean is putting a few small measures in place to make sure you don’t miss out on any online shopping bargains.

 

shop rack


 

Firstly, take a few minutes to visit the sites of your favourite retailers and register for their customer newsletters. Not only does this mean you won’t miss out on any special offers when they drop, but you might also secure an extra discount. For example, Banana Republic gives you 15% off your first order when you register.

Secondly, make visiting Discount Promo Codes part of your online shopping routine. As well as giving you access to all the latest online sales and promotions, we can also supply you with secret savings codes – perfect if you’re looking for a discount on a new season or full-priced item. As well as sourcing savings for popular retailers like Debenhams and Argos, we also find you discounts for more specialist online stores. These include outdoor shop Blacks, where it’s possible to claim 15% off your orders and Leekes, where you can save on homeware items (just in case something breaks or perhaps for a gift purchase).

If you’re a student who’s trying to save up, it’s important you make yourself aware which online stores offer student discounts. They’re not always the most obvious thing to find on a site, so have a quick search to see if your favourites provide one. We try to highlight as many available ones as we can here – for example, Lyle and Scott have a 10% student discount – but make sure you’re affiliated with the relevant student organisation to qualify (usually Unidays or Student Beans).

 

Saving can be tough, but there’s no reason you have to go without. Planning your spending is hard work but finding savings doesn’t have to be. So make 2019 the year you start managing your money properly and you’ll be rewarding yourself in no time at all.

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