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Look after your money
12:03pm Wednesday 6th July 2011 in News
Debt counselling charity Christians Against Poverty has given us this handy guide to taking control of your finances.
1. Don’t be afraid to know where your money is actually going each month. Sit down with the bank statements this evening and see. Be brave!
2. Get yourself on a CAP Money course – it’s just three easy workshops which help you get on top of your money, set up a household budget and stick to it. www.capmoney.org 3. Plan ahead before you go food shopping. Make a list of ingredients, decide when you have time to make some nice meals, make extra and freeze leftovers to cook in the microwave when you’re pushed for time.
4. Select food that is cheap, healthy and filling so you don’t end up snacking eg baked potatoes, rice and pasta. Use leftovers to make soup and blitz up soft fruit to make smoothies.
5. Freeze home-made ice lollies with fruit juice or squash for the children so money isn’t wasted at the ice-cream van.
6. Take the long view. People who end up with debt problems often haven’t given themselves a financial buffer to cope with the changes life throws at all of us. If you can pay off a loan early, do it. Learn to save something. Interest rates are low now but they will rise, so be ready for when they do.
7. Check for on-line deals through moneysavingexpert.com or moneymagpie.com and watch the cost of mobile phone calls.
8. Shop around for the best home and car insurance deal each year – or at least tell your existing company you’re getting better elsewhere and ask them “What’s the best price you can do.”
9. Use comparison websites like uswitch.com to get the best deal on utility bills. Don’t be pressured into buying face-to-face in a supermarket or at your door.
10. Before you shop, check you can’t get what you need for free. freecycle.org is a useful website. Other useful places to find a bargain are the T&A’s classifieds; Ebay and local charity shops.
In school holidays there is a tendency for parents to succumb to pester power when it comes to keeping the children entertained.
Start out as you mean to go on. Be mindful of your budget and stick to it.
Jo Edwards, centre manager for Bradford’s branch of Christians Against Poverty, said: “When the holidays begin it is so easy to think that being a good parent must involve spending money on your family. Problem is, if you’re having a good time on money you’ve not got, that enjoyment will be short-lived and you’ll be buying your household further instability.
“Disposable income has taken such a hit for most of us. Being a good parent when money is tight means having to be a bit clever, and setting the stage for the fun to begin.
“Going for a great picnic is a great way of doing just that. You can make the most of the free museums and parks but steer clear of the expensive elements of a day out. When everyone has their favourites in the picnic, no one feels short-changed.”
For help with personal debts contact Christians Against Poverty on 0800 328 0006 or visit capuk.org