How to Increase Your Family’s Budget
These days everyone could do with a little boost to their finances. But without a pay rise at work, a lottery win or a sudden inheritance from an unknown benefactor, there seems little we can do to get more money coming into the household. Or is there? With a little canny juggling and by being aware of what’s been spent where, there are surprisingly substantial gains to be made.
Bank and Savings Accounts
Move any money left over at the end of the month into a high-interest savings account. Many people leave money they’re not using in a standard current bank account where it earns little or no interest. Even if the amount of money you could transfer is only modest, by earning a higher rate of interest you’ll be gaining something. Finding suitable savings accounts is a simple matter with sites such as http://www.moneysupermarket.com/savings/ where you can compare the rates of various well-known providers.
We’re often advised to avoid spending on credit cards, but that only applies if you really can’t afford to pay off the balance each month. Running up credit-card debt leads to high interest payments, making you worse off in the long run. If, however, you can discipline yourself to pay off the balance without fail, making everyday purchases with the right credit card can lead to some serious savings.
A cash-back card, for instance, rewards you every time you spend with from 1.25 per cent up to 5 per cent cash back on your purchases. Make sure you pay off the full balance each month by setting up a direct debit with your bank.
Check Benefit Entitlements
If you’re not claiming all the state benefits you’re entitled to, you’re leaving money on the table. As a family, if your total household income is below £39,000 it is worth making checks to find out what you could get. You certainly have nothing to lose and possibly everything to gain.
Possible claimable benefits include Council Tax and Housing Benefit, Working Tax Benefit or Child Benefits. Online calculators can give a reasonably accurate assessment of what you may be entitled to before you make further enquiries from more official sources.
Sell Unwanted Items
Instead of hanging on to items that are no longer used or needed, sell them. You get a dual benefit from getting into the selling habit: you make a bit of extra money each month and you declutter the house at the same time.
Whether you sell kids’ clothes or toys, music or film DVDs or craft items you’ve made, selling instead of hoarding can make you that little bit richer. The same goes for recycling old mobile phones, laptops, cameras and sat navs. In fact, any gadget that you’ve replaced you should consider recycling or selling the old one. Mobile phones can fetch a surprising amount, with the newer models obviously having the most value.
Being more careful or money conscious may not make you rich overnight, but you’ll be a little better off and a lot wiser about where you spend and where you can save on monthly bills.