The January blues have subsided and the sun is coming out. The temptation to loosen the belt and relax your spending habits is undeniable. Here at PayPlan we’ve put together a list of financial top tips for creating and staying on a budget this spring. We’ve also included solutions for how to get out of debt. So throw out those bad habits, and take back control of your future.

First things first. Break down your finances and review your budget.

  • Make a list of both your weekly and monthly income.
  • Decide which of your bills you absolutely have to pay (e.g. rent, utilities, food)
  • Finally, make a list of things you want to pay for but might be able to cut down on (e.g. subscriptions, days out)

As simple as it sounds, seeing them on paper can make your finances much easier to understand.

Top tip: Be as creative as possible when cutting down your expenditure. By doing so you can maximise your spare income for savings and those surprise bills you may struggle with. Make sure your budget is realistic and affordable – don’t feel like you have to cut back on food and essentials. If you need a helping hand managing your finances, the Money Advice Service has put together a great tool to get you started. Find it here.

The simplest of solutions, but arguably the hardest to stick to, is cutting back on spending. However, with the weather warming up and the inevitable summer holiday just around the corner, spring is the perfect time to reduce your spending and buff up your savings.

Try to save – every penny counts

The Money Advice Service predicts that around a third of us have less than £1500 in the bank and staggeringly 15% have no savings whatsoever. Saying no to all those unnecessary purchases can result in you having a bit more to put away at the end of the month.

By keeping money aside, you’ll find yourself much more supported when the boiler inevitably breaks or the car needs a new set of tyres. As a bonus, with April comes the beginning of a new tax year, where banks will usually provide great new introductory offers for opening a savings account. With this in mind, why not choose spring to start saving and switching? For details on how easy it is to switch, visit the Current Account Switch Service’s website.

Keeping some money set aside for a rainy day not only relieves you of financial burden, it could also help your mental health. Studies show that 50% of those struggling with debt also suffer with mental health issues. You may find that with a lump sum put away, any money-related stress or anxiety is lifted, allowing you to look more positively towards your future.

Why not try some of these saving techniques?

  • 1p saving challenge – This is a good way of saving little at a time without too much pressure.
  • 50/30/20 budget – This may not work for everyone but it’s a good guide for future finances.
  • Bank account skimming – Many people have had a lot of success with this saving technique. It’s especially useful when on a tight budget!

Reconsider your financial priorities

Thinking carefully about what we do and do not need is an important part of financial planning. A recent study by Sky Mobile states that on average, more than a third of direct debits currently active in the UK are being spent on things we don’t use or have forgotten. Gym memberships and cinema subscriptions top this list.

Additionally, comparing and optimising deals for energy and service providers is always a good idea. The Energy Helpline suggests you could save up to £538 per year. Rethinking direct debits, subscriptions and service suppliers is a great way to cut back on spending, and can lead to significant long-term savings.

Struggling to sort out your finances? Get debt help now

 The Money Charity Online predicts that – at the end of 2018 – the average total debt per UK household was almost £60,000. At PayPlan we offer free expert debt help, provided anonymously by trained advisers with over 25 years of experience. As one of the UK’s most trusted debt management companies, we understand that financial difficulty is sometimes unavoidable in modern society. If you’re anxious about owing money or simply unsure about the state of your finances, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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