If your income's failing to keep pace with the cost of living, it will be a good idea to take a look at your finances and work out how you can spend less and make more money. Most people should be able to make more of their money by focusing on where to cut back, while thinking of new ways to bring in some extra cash.
Go through your cupboards and find things you can sell through online auction sites. This will free up some space and bring some ready cash. If you have any old smartphones or tablet computers lying around, use technology recycling sites such as Gazelle.com, Yourenew.com and Cash4laptops.com to turn them into money. Consult your device's user's manual to find out how to clear your personal data before selling the device.
Income and Expenditure
Sit down with your bank statements and work out where you can make cutbacks. If you have a gym membership you never use, cancel it. If you're subscribed to magazines or tablet computer apps you don't touch, do away with them. If you're spending a small fortune in clubs and bars every month, resolve to spend more time at home in an effort to save money. You should be able to find a number of ways you'll be able to make cutbacks if you're prepared to be ruthless.
Ask your boss if you can put in a few extra hours at work each week. If this isn't possible, look for an additional part-time job that will bring you in extra money.
Compare the Market
Make sure you're paying as little as possible for your utility services, insurance, and telecoms and broadband connections. Use price comparison services to find out if you're paying over the odds. If you've been with the same service providers for many years, there'll be a good chance switching could save you money. As far as insurance is concerned, you'll be in a good position when switching if you have a good no-claims record.
Take in a Boarder
Take a boarder if you have the space. You'll also be able to ask your new tenant to make a contribution to your household bills. If you have a garage, see if you can rent this out as storage space or a parking spot.
Stop buying branded goods when you do your weekly supermarket shop. Make the switch to your favorite shop's own products. They'll almost always be cheaper than the branded alternative. You can make extra savings on your food bill by collecting coupons out of magazines and brochures.
Consolidate Your Debts
Take out an unsecured loan to consolidate your debts if you're paying off multiple credit and store cards. If you have a decent credit score, you should be able to find a loan that will reduce the amount of interest you're paying and your monthly payments.
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.