Make your money go further by reviewing how you spend and save

Looking at how you spend and save can make a significant difference to your bank balance and lifestyle – even the smallest of changes, writes Chris Kay, chair of North Wales Credit Union.

Spending sprees are fun at the time, but the consequences can last years and none of us want to face an eternity living on debt row.

That’s why it’s important to make your money go further and avoid any bad financial habits from spiralling out of control.

This month I’m suggesting five tips that will help get your spending under control:

  • Prioritise what you really need. Before buying something, step back for a moment and ask yourself whether this is an item you genuinely need, or simply want. If it’s a want it is most likely a spending whim.
  • Set yourself a budget every week and shop around or check price-comparison sites online before you take the plunge. It’s also a good idea to withdraw a set amount of cash for your spending every week and avoid using debit or credit cards. That way you remain in control of what you spend and the monthly debit or credit card statement doesn’t come as a nasty surprise.
  • Pay off existing debts by prioritising the one with the highest interest rate. Before you borrow in future, always compare interest rates first, most providers have easy to use loan calculators on their websites to show you how much you will pay back. For instance, on a short term, 12-month loan of £600 from Provident, you would pay off £84 per month with an APR of 272.2% to a total of £1092.00 over the term. In comparison, the same loan with North Wales Credit Union would mean 12 monthly repayments of £52.27 at an APR of 42.60%, making a total repayment of £627.27. That’s how significant the difference can be if you take the time to check the interest rates, not just the monthly repayment amounts.*
  • You don’t have to wait until the spring to have a good clean out of the attic or garage. Sort out all of those unwanted items and sell them at the nearest boot sale or online at an auction or sales website.
  • Finally always remember the adage to “pay yourself first.” When you get the chance, put something away into a savings account, such as those offered by the Credit Unions. For example, saving the price of a supermarket meal deal of £3 per day comes to £1,095 over a year. Find out if your employer is one of our partners because if so, you can join the NWCU Payroll Savings Programme, to set up a monthly plan.

* Figures correct at time of writing, calculated using loan calculators available at www.providentpersonalcredit.com and www.northwalescu.co.uk.

Chris Kay is chair at North Wales Credit Union, which is a community based, financial services co-operative. He has worked in the consumer lending sector for more than 35 years.

 

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