Stretch your money, not your patience – 5 tips

An image of a calculator as someone thinks about budgeting and trying to stretch your finances

Savings

Alistair Hardie

18th October 2013 at 3:59pm

Spending and saving are two sides of the same coin.

More of one can mean less of the other.

Financially savvy spenders

But what if you could combine them, and be a financially-savvy spender?

We’re becoming increasingly switched on to new ways of being financially efficient.

Here’s the top five tactics UK web-users adopted to stretch their finances last year, in our survey:

  1. Don’t spend what you don’t have

    It might seem obvious but the first way to save money is to not spend what you don’t have in the first place.  In particular, avoid running up debt on credit cards and store cards to maintain your spending habits.

    A whopping 56% of us took this simple measure.  By avoiding card debt, you can sidestep the high interest rates associated with this typically expensive means of borrowing.  In fact 8% of us did this for the very first time.

  2. Loyalty cards

    Most of us have loyalty cards. They are increasingly available from our supermarket to our coffee shop. But how many of these lie dormant?  This is cash in everything but name and 50% of us realized this in 2013 and got using them.

  3. Discounts and deals

    It’s perhaps no surprise that online users valued the discounts and deals that are available online.  In fact 48% of us used online channels to find the best deals last year.

    But, not only that, 8% of us used online selling channels like ebay for the very first time to realize some much needed income by selling things we simply didn’t need or use any more.

  4. Watch out for debt

    Whilst credit cards offer great flexibility and sometimes tremendous insurance value, the flip side is that as debt grows so too does the associated interest

    However, 40% of us now pay off our credit cards in full each month giving us all of the flexibility, all of the reassurance and far less of the cost

    40% of us now pay off our credit cards in full each month

  5. Hidden costs

    A hidden cost in the monthly budget is those insurance policies (eg house or car insurance) that were fantastic value when first taken out because you shopped around.

    But as time passed, the premiums went up and they weren’t such a bargain anymore.  To avoid this happening, it pays to have a regular audit of all your policies.  Which is exactly what 36% of us did last year.

You can find out more about being financially efficient at www.yourfuturemoney.co.uk  or Join the conversation on our MoneyPlus Community or follow us on twitter @StandardLifeUK and Facebook.

As a final thought, why not really go to town?  Bring out the hidden accountant in yourself.  Set a weekly or monthly budget and stick to it.  Last year 8% of us did just that for the first time, and this tool will help get you started.

Share your thoughts

Join the conversation and follow us on twitter @StandardLifeUK and Facebook and let us know about any of your experiences of trying to stretch your finances.