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If you’re one of the estimated 10.4million* people in the UK that are living on the breadline before payday each month, you’ll know that this can be a more stressful time than any other.
You’ll be counting the pennies to prioritise the absolute essentials, whilst having to sacrifice items that at other times of the month would be considered basics.
Research shows that people are more susceptible to taking out payday loans in the last week of the month than any other, and have to rely on instant credit to see them through until payday. But due to extortionate interest rates associated with these high-cost, short-term loans, this type of borrowing can be a vicious cycle and once started, it is increasingly difficult to escape from.
So before you fall into the payday loan trap, read our top tips for making it through until the last day of the month:
1. Check your bank account to see how much money you have left and deduct any bills that are still to come out. It might seem scary but at least you’ll know exactly where you stand.
2. Use cash, not your debit card. It is far more difficult to keep up with card transactions than cold hard cash, and you’ll know that once it’s gone, it’s gone.
3. Have you got anything around the house you could sell? We’re certainly not suggesting you should take your wedding ring to the pawn shop but if you’ve been meaning to advertise that old mountain bike on eBay – DO IT! Making an extra bit of cash now could be the difference between a desperate or doable end to the month.
4. Explore savings opportunities – use this time to see if you can switch to cheaper utility providers and check out your insurance policies & mobile phone contracts so you’ll be in a better financial position next month.
5. Make a list of the absolute essentials you need to see you through to the end of the month. If your budget is very tight, your priorities should be food and petrol so that at the very least you know your family can eat and you can get to work.
6. Do an audit of your freezer and cupboards and make a list of everything you have. There might be more in there than you think – and don’t be precious about the odd combos you could possibly be dining on this week. Fishfingers and butterbeans? Who knows, you may come up with a new favourite recipe!
7. Do your food shopping in the 30 minutes prior to supermarket closing time if possible and stock up on all of the marked-down bargains by raiding the reduced section. It’s likely that most of it will go out of date on the day of purchase, but don’t panic, simply pop it in the freezer.
8. Budget supermarkets often have really cheap tins of pulses, vegetables and soups – these may be a bit boring but they’re pretty nutritious and will keep the hunger pangs at bay.
9. Can you walk instead of driving? This might be tricky if you don’t work in the local area but ditch the car at any opportunity you can and you’ll instantly save on petrol costs.
10. Don’t go mad when payday comes around! Having lived on corned beef hash for a week, it can be tempting to splash out on king prawns and caviar but avoid temptation or you’ll find yourself in exactly the same boat next month.
Have you got any tips you could share to help others struggling to make ends meet? Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter pages!
If you feel you are in serious financial difficulty then PayPlan are here to help with free and impartial debt advice to help you out of your current situation. Please do get in touch via the website or by phone on 0808 250 5907.