Probably one of the biggest worries about losing your job is the financial concern. With no regular pay cheque and no idea how long this may last, making the most of your money is a must. Even if you haven’t been made redundant, you may be facing a pay freeze, a cap on overtime or even be asked to take a pay cut. Below are some top tips to help you make the most of your money:
1) Make a budget – and stick
to it. Look at your household income, including anything that your
partner may earn. If you’ve just had a change in circumstances, you
could be eligible for new benefits, including Jobseeker’s
Allowance, or tax
credits, so be sure to check these. Although remember that you may
not be able to receive these immediately. You may also be entitled to redundancy
pay which could help you until you find a new job. You can calculate
your redundancy pay here.
2) Look at your outgoings. Divide these into essential – rent or mortgage payments, debt repayments etc – and non-essential, such as cable TV subscriptions and gym memberships. The difference is what you have to live on. The Financial Services Authority have a useful online budget calculator which might help you.
3) Maximise your budget. Look at all the non-essential outgoings and get rid of – or cut back on – as many as you can. You may not be able to cancel some things, such as gym memberships, but where you can make savings you should. For instance, some gyms let you take a rest period where you pay a minimal amount to keep your account open until you have the money to re-start it or if you can’t cancel your cable TV subscription, you should consider reducing the size of your package. Also think about selling anything that you don’t need or use. Remember the saying that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure and arrange a car-boot, garage sale or place things on ebay.
4) Check you’re getting the best deal. Take a look at all your expenditure and see if you’re getting the best value for your money. Visit comparison sites and check whether you could be on a better mobile phone or broadband contract, whether you could be getting better savings rates, or whether you could be paying less for your fuel bills. Then, switch. In some cases, you may even receive cash back for moving supplier.
5) Minimise waste, especially when it comes to food, heating and electricity. Throwing away uneaten food is effectively throwing away money. Simple steps like making weekly shopping lists and using up uneaten food in the fridge before going to the supermarket can save significant cash. Likewise, avoid leaving appliances on standby or having the heating on constantly or at too high a temperature. Just turning the thermostat down a single degree can save money.
The Financial Services Authority has produced a free guide
on making your money work for you
The DirectGov website has an overview
of money, benefits and eligibility
If you need to make savings, Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert website has guides on switching energy suppliers and money-saving loopholes, as well as regular updates on special offers.
The BBC’s Homes website has practical advice on how to save money by cutting down on waste.
MoneyFacts has a range of best buy tables for all manner of financial products.
Utility switching services like uSwitch can help you move energy suppliers, often saving a substantial sum off your bills.