Beat the Cost of Living
How to cope with the rising cost of electricity, fuel and groceries? If asking for a pay rise is out of the question, let's look at what else you can do to survive the escalating cost of living.
Create a budget
Don't groan at the mention of 'budget' - it really is one of the most effective tools for keeping your finances under control because it helps you to set goals and find ways to meet them.
To put together a budget, make a list of all your fixed monthly expenses (home loan, insurance, utility bills, debt repayments, transportation) and compare it against your income. Use one of the free budget planners on the internet to make the job easier.
Track your spending
The process of writing down what you spend over the course of a week or month is a great way to make you more conscious of where it all goes. There are web sites and iPhone apps you can use to plug in an expense as it occurs, effectively updating your budget on the run.
When you see your expenses listed in front of you, it often comes as a shock to realize how much money you waste in an average week.
If your outgoings equal more than your income, you need to look at where you can cut back your spending. It's not as hard as it sounds to cut back on lifestyle 'wants' if you look at the big picture of how much you will save over the course of a month, six months or a year.
A budget is of no use if it's out of date so ensure you revise it once a month and then every three months after that. Revising will help you tighten or loosen up your budget according to your needs, as well as put a stop to any unnecessary costs.
If you look at all your expenses and find there are none you can do without, you might decide that finding other ways to boost your income is a preferable alternative. Be creative and resourceful - many people have made additional income by taking on a second job, setting up an internet business, selling on eBay or buying an investment property.