How to buy Food on a Budget

If you have a limited amount of money then you may think that it will be very difficult to afford the food that you need. You might even think that your only option will be to get a loan with no credit check and to borrow the money. Although this is an available option, it can be good to investigate whether there are any other options available to you that you might be able to do instead.

  • Calculate how much you can afford to spend each month – the first step is to calculate how much you can afford to spend each month on everything that you are buying. This is a case of working out how much money you have coming in. Many of us will always have the same amount but it will depend on how regular your work is and whether you always work the same hours. However, you should be able to come up with an average figure even if you do not always get paid the same amount.
  • Split spending into essential and non-essential – it is then important to start thinking about your spending. Consider all of the things that you buy, whether you spend lots of money on things or just a few dollars, consider it all as it all counts. Then split the items into essentials and non-essentials. Your essentials will include food and rent, electricity, loan repayments, transport to work and other basics. Non-essentials will include things like cable television, evenings out, jewellery, alcohol, vacations etc. This can be tricky, but be honest. You may not necessarily have to cut back on all non-essentials but identifying them is a good start.
  • Ensure you buy essentials first and allocate budget for this – It is important to prioritise your spending so that you buy your essentials first. Therefore, add up the value of these and make sure that each month, you keep enough money aside to pay for them. It can be best to pay for these first or put money aside towards these so that you then know how much you have left to pay for the non-essentials or luxury items. If your income varies, then you will need to work out each month, how much money you have left after paying for essentials. Then you will be able to budget carefully to make sure that you do not buy more than you can afford.
  • Compare prices to get cheapest essentials – It is wise to compare prices as well, so that you are not spending more than necessary. This applies to everything that you buy, but it is important to remember that you can do it with all sorts of things. Look at every single thing that you pay for and think about ways that you could possibly spend less on it. It could be down to using less of it or by comparing prices and buying cheaper alternatives. For example, you could potentially reduce your rent by moving to a cheaper apartment, you could swap insurance companies to pay less, you could buy cheaper brands of food etc. You do need to make sure that you are getting good value for money. You need to carefully look at the cheaper items and make sure that you will not have to buy more of them or check that they are providing the same things as the dearer options. It is worth it though as you could save a significant amount of money.
  • Rest is for non-essentials – the money left is for your luxuries. Do not forget to compare prices on these as well. This will allow you to be able to buy more if you want to. It can be wise not to spend your whole budget and particularly not too quickly. Putting some into a savings account for emergencies can be a sensible plan. Also making sure that you have some left towards the end of the month, just in case an unexpected expense comes in that needs to be paid for before you next get paid.

It can feel like you are being punished if you have to cut down on the treats that you are buying or yourself. However, it is really important to make sure that you have enough money for the food that you need and therefore sticking to a budget is essential. You need to think about how you will manage and that if you go without a few luxuries it will at least mean that you will be well fed. It is about making sure that you prioritise your spending so that you do have enough money to feed yourself. If you rarely buy luxuries, then compare prices on everything you buy all of the time and hopefully this will allow you to reduce your spending enough so that you have money available to spend on the food that you need. It might take quite a bit of cutting back but can be very rewarding when you manage to balance things.

How to make the most of your Credit Card

Most people have a credit card and it can be an extremely useful thing to have. It is very convenient for buying things, both on and offline and also secure so it can be better than using other ways of doing this. It can also offer some credit, as you do not have to repay the card immediately. However, there are ways that you can use a credit card that make it even more worthwhile.

Use a cashback or reward card

To start with it is a good idea to find the best credit card to suit you. Often a reward card or cashback card can be a good idea. These cards will give you something in return for using them. It might be that they will credit money to your credit card account towards paying off your next month’s bill or that you get some sort of other reward. You do need to be careful though with these. You might find, for example, that these cards are more expensive so you may have to pay an annual charge or you have a higher interest rate on them. Therefore, you need to check this out and make sure that you will be able to repay the card in full. If you feel that you will not be able to then it will be much better to find the card with the lowest interest rate and this will be cheaper for you. You also need to be careful that you do not spend lots on the card just because you get cashback or a reward as the amount that you get back will be considerably less than you spend. It will not be worth spending on there just for the sake of it, but if it was money that you were going to spend anyway then it could be worthwhile.

Set up repayment just after you get paid

If you want to be completely sure that you will repay the card in full each month, then it is wise to set up a direct debit to do exactly that. This will allow you to have the payment made automatically and you will not have to worry about making sure that you remember to do it. However, you will also need to make sure that you have enough money to cover the repayment. The best way to ensure this is to set up the direct debit so that it leaves your account just after you get paid. Then you know that there is a greater chance the money will be available. It is also wise to make sure that you are aware of what money you have available and what you have spent, both on your card and that is leaving your account. This will allow you to budget carefully and make sure that you are careful with what you are spending so that you know that you will have enough left.

Repay the whole outstanding balance

It is really wise to make sure that you repay everything that you owe each month. This will mean that you will not be charged any interest. It is a good idea to do this so that you can keep the cost of the credit card down or at nothing at all. If you have a large outstanding balance, this might be something that you will struggle to do right away. However, if you pay some off at a time and spread it over a few months or more, you should be able to eventually pay it all off. Then you need to be careful with your spending so that you can manage to pay it off each month.

Only spend what you can afford to repay

Budgeting each month could be tricky, but if you check your outstanding balance regularly this should help you. Make sure that you are aware of how much you can afford to repay and this will help you to make sure that you are not spending too much. To do this you will need to think about what you can afford. It can be a good idea to take a look at your checking account statements so that you can get an idea of how much money you typically have coming in to the account and how much you have going out so that you can calculate how much you will be able to afford to spend. Then you will be able to be confident that there will be enough money to pay off the full outstanding amount when you get the credit card statement.  By keeping a constant check on what you are spending, either by checking your balance online or by noting down what you are spending, this should allow you to cut back your spending so that you know that you will be able to manage. You might want to set yourself a budget of how much you should be spending each week or even each day as well as each month so that you make it easier.