Budgeting

How to Keep your Phone Spending to a Tight Budget

Most of us have phones and we might have a contract or pay as you go but we will all have to pay in one way or another for the calls, texts and data that we use. It can be tricky to not pay a lot of money for our phones as well. This is because there are pressures to have the latest phones and using them can be fun and might even help you to bond more with friends and family. However, it can become a problem if we are spending too much on them and finding that it is causing us to struggle financially. We may find that we are having trouble paying bills, or repaying loans, buying food or things like that and then the phone spending on top is making things really tight. However, there are things that you can do which could help.

Get a cheaper contract

It sounds obvious but it is not always that easy to move to a cheaper contract. This is because you will usually need to reduce your phone usage to do this. The dearer the contract the more free calls, texts and data you get with it. If you go over the allocated amount then you will either just have none for the rest of the month or have to pay extra for it which can make it dearer than being on a different contract. It can be quite complex to calculate but if you can reign in the amount of calls, texts and data you use this could be really helpful. If you use more calls than texts or vice versa then try to even it out so that you use them up rather than using more of one that the other and running out. So, if you phone more but have loads of texts then try having a few text conversations with people to use those instead – after all, you have paid for them. This could mean that you can change your habits which could enable you to be able to get a cheaper contract.

Update your phone less

We feel pressure to update our phones as soon as a new model comes out. This can be from our friends and family, from ourselves or from the companies that make them. It is important to stand up to this pressure and make sure that we are not spending more than we can afford because of it. There really is no need to always have the latest phone model. If that one had not come out, you would have been happy with what you had before. It is important to make sure that we realise that we are being duped by these companies and they just want our money so we should be stepping back and making sure that we really do want what they are telling us that we need. We do not need a phone at all, people managed without them and although it is great to be able to communicate and use the internet on a device we carry with us all of the time, it is not necessary. Even if we feel we cannot be without it, there are options where you can have a phone which is cheap and basic but will still cover you for emergencies in case you need to contact someone or them you when you are outside of the home.

Use home wi-fi as much as possible

If you have unlimited home wi-fi then make sure that you make full use of this. You can probably avoid using the Internet outside of the home if you try and therefore you will not need to pay for lots of data on your phone. If you do not have home wi-fi then it could be worth looking at the cost if you tend to use data most when you are at home. This could save you money, particularly if there are several of you that are using it. You may also be able to find free wi-fi when you are out, perhaps rom shops, cafes or pubs and using this could save you money.

Get people to call you

It could be worth getting people to call you sometimes if you find that you are paying out a lot to call them. Maybe it is time that you let them take a turn to pay or if they have free minutes they do not use up or a landline with unlimited calls to mobiles then it will be cheaper for them to call you anyway. You will have to chat to others to see what they think of this idea and admit that your bills are getting too high. This could be a tricky thing to do but if the people that you speak to are good friends or family members they should understand and will not want you to be suffering because they expect you to call them too much.

Finance Tips

How to make the most of your Salary

Most of us get paid a monthly salary and it can often seem to disappear very quickly. Once a chunk of tax is taken out it can seem like there is very little left to pay for everything that you need and want. However, many of us are not making the most of our salary and could find that it is being spent on things unnecessarily. In order to check, it is wise to find out more.

List down everything you buy and how much it costs

This may sound very tedious but the only way that you will be able to find out where your money is going is to note down what you spend. If you put everything on credit cards or use debit cards then it will all be listed on your statements and this will make it easier for you to see. If you use cash, you will not be able to see so easily and will need to note down what you are buying. It can be very interesting to see where your money goes. You may have no idea how much you spend on certain things and it could help you to understand this. It can also highlight how much you are paying for things and even show you items that you are paying or that you did not even realise. You might have subscriptions or donations leaving your account that you had forgotten about. It can be very interesting to see what is there. Obviously not each month will be the same and if you feel that things that you have bought are not what you would buy in a typical month, perhaps such as birthday gifts, holidays or new white goods then separate these out as exceptions.

Separate needs from wants

Once you have your list it is important to split the items up. Identify what items are ones that you need and which are things that are just wants or more luxurious. For example, you need to pay rent or mortgage, loan repayments and utilities but you do not need to buy newspapers, jewellery, flowers and things like that. It is important to remember that just because you are identifying that some things are necessary and some are not, it does not mean that you will have to stop buying those that are not. However, it will enable you to think harder about what you do and do not need and where your money is actually going.

At this point you will be able to think about whether you are spending money in a way that you want to. Although you will not be able to stop repaying loans or paying your rent, so you cannot stop buying things you need, you might be able to adjust your other spending. You might be able to change the type of things that you are buying or allocate your money so that you prioritise certain things over others. It might be that you find there is never enough money left to buy things you really want and now that you know what you are buying you might be able to spend less in some areas so that you have enough for what you really want.

Compare prices

It is also a really good idea to compare prices on every thing that you are paying out for. Even though there are certain things that you have to pay for or buy, you may be paying more than necessary for them. By comparing the prices on everything that you buy, you will be more aware of whether you are spending more than necessary. You may want to pay more for some things because you want better quality or a better service, but there may be a lot of things where you could pay less and you would not notice any difference.

Once you have done this, you may find that you will be able to reduce what you spend in quite a few areas. Even if you are just reducing spending by small amounts, these will add up and you could find that it will make a significant difference to the total amount that you spend. You could find that you will start to have enough money to buy the things that you want, to pay off loans or to put some into savings. It is good to continue to be aware of what you are spending though because then you will ensure that you are not wasting your hard-earned salary but only spending on things that you really need or that you really want. It is so easy to just buy things without checking how much they cost or without thinking about whether we really want them and this can lead to us not really enjoying out money.