We really have thought more about how far our money goes and how we can save some valuable pounds!
Here are a few money saving tips...
"We all like a little treat every now and then - whether it's a few glasses of wine or a greasy pizza. But if you're not careful the costs of these little luxuries can start to add up, as well as the impact on your health. Why not try cutting down on treats like takeaways and alcohol, and keeping track of how much you save? If you're a smoker, you should know that every cigarette now costs 40p - that's £3,000 a year if you smoke 20 a day!"
We very rarely get a takeaway. This is mainly because of the cost. We have found that it is easier and just as enjoyable to cook a takeaway style meal and to buy a bottle of wine. I do prefer to cook a takeaway style meal as I know what has gone into the dish and can adapt according to our tastes and can make healthier changes. I recently made a Chicken Makhani curry which, I will admit, I preferred to the takeaway and it was certainly cheaper!
"Could your savings be working harder for you? If you're a UK taxpayer, interest earned on your savings will be subject to income tax - unless you use your annual ISA allowance. An ISA works just like a traditional savings account, except that the interest you earn is protected from tax up to a set limit for each tax year. For the 2013/14 tax year you can save up to £5,760 tax free - make sure you use your allowance for this year before the 6th of April or you'll lose it!"
When we manage to put some money away we do use an ISA. Hopefully as the year goes on we'll be able to save a little bit more!
"If you're paying off credit card debt, you could save money by transferring it to a card with a lower interest rate - many balance transfer cards offer special introductory rates, which could substantially reduce your debt if you're currently paying a high rate of interest. If you're thinking of doing this, remember to make a note of when your introductory rate ends, as your interest is likely to increase after this date. It is also worth bearing in mind that cards offering low interest on balance transfers often charge higher interest on purchases, so check the terms carefully and avoid the temptation to spend!"I did do this when I had debt problems. However I will advise you to cancel the card that you are transferring the debt from! I didn't and for me it was a clear credit card to start using again. If you do get into bad debt with credit cards I wold definitely recommend consolidating all of your debt into one place and cutting up any other cards!
Now it is time for me to have a bit of a rant and as it is the Great British Budget it certainly is a fitting rant after the last tip.
My rant is about loan companies!
I am amazed by how payday loans and unsecured loan companies are allowed to promote their services. In the last couple of weeks I have had numerous texts from various different companies offering me loans. When I say numerous, I don't just mean one or two texts, I mean at least eight that I have counted!
On one day I received three texts from three different companies! In one day!
Once upon a time, a text from one of those companies would have given me false hope of digging myself out of the hole of debt that I was in.
Thankfully, now that I am out of debt, I am able to see the mistakes that I made. But I am sure that these companies will be helping others get into even more debt.
I truly believe that the "payday" loans should have a lot more advertising and promoting restrictions.
Payday loans may help a few, but for the majority of people it will ony cause more problems with their ridiculous APR's. People will only find that after paying the loan off that they will have a further short fall the following month and before you know it you will be in a vicious circle of debt.
If you are in debt ad are considering taking out one of these loans, explore all of your opportunities before you do.
Throughout February Your Wealth are challenging people to create a budget and to stick to it!
They have a great tool that is available to help you manage all of your outgoings which is available as an app for your mobile phone so that you are always able to control your finances.
Check out Your Wealth on twitter @yourwealthuk as they are running a photo challenge where you will be entered into a prize draw to win one of four £50 Love2Shop vouchers.
But its also a fun way to join in!
Don't forget to add #GreatBritishBudget to your tweets!
Disclaimer: I have volunteered to take part in the Great British Budget as it is a subject that is close to my heart. However there is a prize draw for the panelists who are taking part.