How to Decide How Much to Budget for Luxuries

We often hear that we should set a budget so that we can keep in control of our finances. This …

We often hear that we should set a budget so that we can keep in control of our finances. This is something which we might wonder how to do. It can be difficult to set a budget for our necessities as we will always need to pay the bus fare to work, our rent and council tax etc but when it comes to buying luxuries, we can keep a check on what we are spending. Setting the budget can be a bit tricky, but it might be easier than you think.

Work out how much you can Afford

It is a good idea to start by thinking about how much you can afford to spend. You will need to work this out. So, you will need to gather together your bank statements and credit card statements for at least a few months, longer if possible, so that you can work it out. This might sound daunting, but it can be easier than you think. Start by working out how much money you have in each month. This should be the easiest place to start. Add up the money that you have in form salary and wages, benefits, interest, pensions and nay other way that you have money coming in. This may change from month to month so decide if you want to note down the average or the smallest amount.

Once you have done the income, you then have to look at what you spend. This might seem tricky, but you only need to look at the things you have to buy. So, this will include any loan repayments on emergency loans, rent or mortgage, tax, contracts, utilities, food, and necessary transport, toiletries, clothing etc. You may find it hard to decide what is necessary, but just think about it in terms of the items are either things you cannot live or work without, that you are committed to paying for or that your family need. So, although smart clothing may seem like a luxury, if you need for your job then it is necessary. Hopefully, after doing this and sorting through all of the things that you pay for, you will be able to establish how much money you will need for this.

There are many options available if you need cash in an emergency.

If you take the amount you need to pay out away from the amount that you are paid, you will then find out how much is left for luxury products. Hopefully there will be something left or else you will have to have a different goal and work out how to reduce what you are paying for necessities if you can by switching providers etc or by earning more. If you do have money left then you are in the position to start thinking about budgeting.

Consider What you Want to do with your Money

It is good to start by thinking about what you want to do with the money. For example, do you want to save some of it and put it by for emergencies or to save up for save up for something large? You may want to use some of it to repay a debt you may have. You will probably want to spend some of it too. Consider how you are going to split it, so that you know what you will be able to spend. You may want to set up transfers for money to go into a savings account or to repay debts so that you are able to make sure that it always happens and you do not forget to make these payments.

Think About What Sorts of Things you Want to Buy

It is worth thinking hard about what you are going to buy when you have a limited budget. If you feel that you only want to buy cheaper things, then you will be able to save more money, if you want to. If you think that you will want to buy more expensive things, then you may have to save up each month until you accumulate enough money to be able to afford these items. It is also worth thinking hard before you do spend the money. You will have limited spending now so make sure that it is something that it is really worthwhile getting and that you will get a lot of pleasure from.

How to Spend Less When you go Shopping

We all have to shop for various things and it can sometimes feel like we are spending more and more …

We all have to shop for various things and it can sometimes feel like we are spending more and more when we do so Whether we are on our local high street, in the supermarket or online, we might find that our shopping bills are going up. There are things that you can try though, which might help you to reduce these.

Take a List

We often hear about taking a list to a supermarket but it is something that could help us with all of the shopping that we are doing. Having a list will allow us to focus on only buying the things that we need. We need to think about this before we shop and then we will not buy things we do not need. It also means that we will not forget things which means that we will not need to take additional trips to the shops to pick up these things and therefore expose ourselves to more temptation while out shopping.

Limit the Shops and Departments you go to

It can be wise to only visit the shops and specific parts of those shops that you really need to go to. This will allow you to make sure that you do not get tempted to buy more things that you really need. If you can expose yourself to less temptation then this will help. It might sound a bit extreme but sellers want us to buy their products and they will do what they can to encourage us to buy as much as possible. We need to avoid this by making sure that we only come home with what we really want.

Have a Budget

It can be a good idea to set a budget so that you know what you can afford to pay. For example, if you are buying a birthday present for someone, make sure that you have in mind an amount of money that you want to spend. Then you will only look for items within your budget and it will be easier to avoid overspending. You could do this for each thing on your list or for your total spend and you will need to take notice of the prices of items and what you can afford to buy. You may have to add things up as you shop as well to make sure you are not spending too much.

Have a Time Limit

It might sound odd but it can help if you have a time limit for shopping. Once you have spent a certain amount of time looking for an item, you may then get distracted and start generally browsing. This could lead to you buying more items than you intended to because you start to look at things that are not on your list. Therefore, make sure that you stay in control of your shopping and you can try doing this by setting a time limit.

Shop Less Often

If you can go shopping less often then this can help you to spend less money. It can be tricky to stay in control like this when there are so many items available to buy both when we are out and about and on the Internet. However, you might be able to restrict your shopping to certain days or a certain amount of times a week or month to try to help. Try not to sign up for too many newsletters or follow too many companies on social media as that will tempt you to buy the things that they are selling and this could mean that you end up overspending.

How to Eat Out for Less

A lot of us enjoy eating meals out. However, they can be expensive. If we are trying to stick to …

A lot of us enjoy eating meals out. However, they can be expensive. If we are trying to stick to a budget or just to cut down a bit on how much we are spending, then cutting down on the cost of eating out can make a big difference. There are some things that you can do which will help.

Cut down on Drinks

Drinks can add a lot of money to a meal out. Whether that is an alcoholic drink or soft drink you have at the beginning of the meal of a coffee you have at the end. It is wise to think about the cost of this. You should be able to order tap water for free and this might help to keep those costs down if you are happy with drinking water. You could also use the tap water to water down juice so that you do not have to buy so much of it. You could go home and have a coffee there rather than having one out. Perhaps have a drink before you go and then you will not be so thirsty during the meal.

Have Less Courses

It can be a good idea to try to cut down on the number of courses you eat. Although puddings and starters are cheaper than main courses, the prices of them do add up. Perhaps just have two courses, so cut out the unhealthy pudding or have a starter and a pudding so you can still have the pudding but you are not paying so much. Most of us are not used to having three course meals all of the time and we certainly do not need to eat that much so it could be wise to cut down for health benefits as well.

Eat Out at Lunchtime

If you eat out at lunchtime you will often find that there is a lunchtime menu which has smaller sized meals at lower prices. This can help to save money. If you are used to eating less at lunchtime, then this should satisfy you and you will still enjoy eating out and feel full but you will not have to pay out so much money to do so.

Choose Cheaper Places to Eat

It can be a wise idea to see if there are cheaper places that you can eat out. Prices vary considerably between different restaurants and you will find that you can probably find a cheaper one than the one you normally go to. This could mean that you will still be able to eat out but you will be able to save money.

Eat Out Less Often

If you are not prepared to cut down and want to eat out, then you may need to consider eating out less often. It can feel difficult to do this but you might find that you will appreciate eating out a lot more if it is more of luxury. You may think harder about where to go and make sure that you enjoy it more because you are going less. You could always replace eating out with supermarket ready meals if you do not want to cook. You will find that these are cheaper than eating out (although not cheaper than cooking from scratch) and so you can save some money. Another alternative is to learn some new recipes and cook things that you really enjoy without having to eat out to get them. This can be a fun thing to do and you could learn it with other people, perhaps those that you would have eaten out with otherwise, or have them round to eat with you to try your new recipes.

Tips on Making Money from Your Hobbies

If you want a way to make some more money, then you could do this by monetising your hobby. This …

If you want a way to make some more money, then you could do this by monetising your hobby. This can be more fun than other jobs and so it is worth considering. There are different things that you can do which might allow you to make money from what you do.

Sell Items that you Make

If your hobby involves making things then you could think about whether to sell those items to make money. For example, if you paint, knit, make lace, weave or even bake, you may be able to sell the items you make. This could be done through a website that already exists such as Etsy, but also through your own website or even a stall at a market. It is worth thinking about whether you feel that you could produce enough items to be able to sell and how much you might be able to sell them for. It is a good idea to have a look at what other people are selling first and think about whether there is a gap in the market and if you could make enough money to cover the costs and make a profit. Often crafts are sold very cheaply and it is hard to see how sellers can make enough money to even cover their materials, so watch out for this as there is no point in doing it if you will be out of pocket.

Write a Book

It could be fun to write a book about your hobby. If you enjoy travelling, for example, writing a book about your experiences or with tips to travellers or something like this could be useful and fun to do. Obviously, books are pretty long and so you will need to spend quite a bit of time on it and you will also have to think about the publishing of it. You will need to either find a publisher or self-publish, which is something you can do easily and then you can sell self-published books through Amazon as e-books and they do a print on demand service as well.

Create a Website

It could be that you might want to create a website about your hobby. There are lots of free resources you can use these days to create a website easily. You could then sell items through the site, use affiliate links or other ways of advertising to raise some money. It is not easy to raise money this way as you will have to promote the site and get people looking at it, but if you can promote it on social media that can help.

Make a YouTube Channel

This is a similar way to raise money to a website but you will need to make videos to publish to the site. This is something that you will be able to do with a phone or other mobile device. You may need some editing software but there are free ones available that you can use. You can use affiliate links in your descriptions and you can also have advertising on the videos once you get enough subscribers and viewers.


It can be fun to teach other people how to do your hobby. Running a local class or an online workshop which people pay to attend can be a good way to make some money. This can be a lot of fun as you also will get to join together with like minded people. You will need to be confident that you can teach and also be able to find a suitable venue and advertising to get enough interested people to come along.

Should I Get a Store Card?

Stores are often trying to encourage us to take out their store cards. You may wonder whether it is a …

Stores are often trying to encourage us to take out their store cards. You may wonder whether it is a good idea to take one out though or whether it might be better to avoid them. Many of us already have a lot of cards, so getting extra could just feel like more to carry, but there could be benefits so it is worth considering whether it is good to get one.

What is a Store Card?

A store card should not be confused with a loyalty card, it is very different. A store card is like a credit card and you will be able to use it to buy items without having to pay for them immediately. Like a credit card, you will get a monthly statement where you will be required to repay a minimum amount which will usually cover just the interest or costs and a small amount of the outstanding balance. There is also the option to repay it all or anything in between.

What are the Benefits?

The card will therefore allow you to have a bit of interest free credit, between the time you buy the item and the statement comes. This means that if you cannot afford the items right now, then you can pay for them a bit later. You can even wait longer and pay for them a lot longer into the future if you want to.

You will find that store cards have offers with them as well at times. For example, you may find that you can have a discount off shopping when you first take out a card and therefore you will be able to shop for a week or so and get money off each purchase. Or you may find that you get early access to sale prices or other discounts. The benefits will vary between shops and so it is worth investigating what these are. You may find that it is better to go for cards form certain shops rather than others.

What to Watch out for

It is wise to be well aware of what the interest rate is on the card. You will find that the cards will have a pretty high rate compared to other borrowing and you need to think about whether you think that this is worth it. If you plan on paying the card off in full and just using the card to take advantage of the offers, then this is fine, but you will need to make sure that you are not buying more from that shop just because you have a card and a discount and you find that you are actually buying things that you do not really need just because you have the card.

You may find that the store you have the card for tends to start being your go to shop because you have the card. Watch out for this because it may be the case that this shop is not that cheap and that if you compare prices you might find the same items sold elsewhere for less money. If you are not careful you could end up paying more than you need to for the items.

It is worth making sure that this card really is better than a general credit card, for example. You will be restricted in where you can use this card as it is likely that you will only be able to use it in the one shop. However, with a general credit card it will normally be accepted anywhere. It is also wise to think about the fact that you may be able to get cash back or other benefit with a general credit card which might be better than the ones one a store card so make sure that you compare them before you sign up.