Make your money last until Payday

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We've all been there. At the beginning of the month, you're feeling pretty positive about your finances. You've paid your bills and you're confident that you have enough cash to see you through the coming few weeks. But before you know it, it's a week before payday and your money has run out.

Although this is a very familiar story, so many of us fall into the same money traps time and time again, leading to stress, worry and serious financial difficulties.

It doesn't have to be this way. There are simple changes we can all make to help break the bad habits that leave us struggling over the final few days of the month. Some of these changes are incredibly simple and easy to implement, so read on for our top tips to make money last until payday.

Budgeting to help make your cash last

Anyone trying to improve their cash flow and ensure their money lasts until payday, is going to have to get really good at budgeting. Short of making more money, (wouldn't that be nice!), effective budgeting is the key to financial peace of mind for most people.

Luckily, it's never been easier to create and stick to a budget, thanks to all the fantastic new online money tools and apps that are available. You no longer need to listen to that devil on your shoulder persuading you to spend when you can't afford to, as you have your very own angel in your pocket - your new financial planning app!

Be honest - how much do you really have?

The very first step you need to take when creating a budget is to work out exactly how much money you have to play with each month. It's surprisingly difficult to be honest about this. You know what your monthly income is, but have you really considered all the essential costs you need to meet? And by essential, we mean:

  • Rent/mortgage payments
  • Food and other groceries
  • Utility bills
  • Council tax
  • Income tax and National Insurance, if it's not taken at source
  • Internet/phone bill
  • Streaming services
  • Debt repayments
  • Interest charges payable on debts/credit cards
  • Car expenses
  • Travel/petrol
  • Costs associated with dependents (school trips/nappies)
  • Medical expenses
  • Insurance
  • Clothing and footwear

We know, this is a daunting list and it's by no means exhaustive. However, it's much better to be realistic about your essential costs than to run dry a week before payday because you forgot your kids needed new coats and that you have to pay for the train to get to work.

Creating a budget that works

Quick fixes that will help you plan spending effectively:

Open a few new accounts

A great tip for managing your money is to have more than one current account. You can allocate money to different accounts for different purposes. A good place to start is to open an account for all your essential costs (from the above list). Make sure your bills are coming out of that account and that you immediately siphon off the money you need to meet all of these costs as soon as you are paid.

Then, get a savings account and put cash into that as soon as you are paid. You are far more likely to develop a saving habit if you put money into savings at the very beginning of the month.

The money left in your current account, once all your essential costs and savings are taken care of, is for general spending and luxuries. Providing you've followed the above steps, even if the amount of money left is small, you know your essentials are taken care of.

Check for 'cracks' in your spending habits

The best way to reduce unnecessary spending is to look for 'cracks' where money 'escapes' your wallet while you barely notice. Do you buy water or coffees that you really could do without? Do you buy overpriced lunches at the weekends when your family would be just as happy with a packed picnic from home? Do you spend big on public transport when you could walk or cycle for free?

Although this type of spending can seem insignificant, these 'cracks' are often the key to making money last until payday, as they can easily add up to £100+ each month.

Cut out luxuries

We're not suggesting you give up holidays and after-work drinks forever. That would be unrealistic. It's more about looking at your spending habits and finding one or two luxuries that you CAN make do without. At least until you have built up a buffer of money in your current or savings account. Perhaps you could go without your trips to the hairdressers for a few months, or you can vow not to buy any new clothes for six months. Take up the challenge, you may surprise yourself!

Improving your financial health

Small changes that can help:

Sell what you don't need

It's so easy to sell your unwanted items these days. eBay is the perfect place to start to make money, and your wardrobe might be the best place to look first. Buying second-hand clothes is no longer about rummaging through jumble sales and charity shops. You can buy and sell good quality and high-end clothes online, specifically targeting those who want to spend serious cash on used items.

Take the time to take good pictures and write detailed descriptions and you can easily drum up some much-needed cash by selling clothing, shoes, handbags, sporting equipment and even toys, on eBay and similar sites.

Alternatively, simply selling your unwanted items at a car-boot sale can generate enough cash to dig you out of a financial hole in the short-term.

Look for places to make savings on your bills

You may find that you can save on your bills if you shop around. It can be a hassle, but if you're taking budgeting seriously, saving £30 a month on your gas and electric bills is going to have an enormous impact. Comparison sites can be helpful, as well as tools like

Save on your food shopping

Saving money on your food shopping is a no-brainer when it comes to getting your finances in order. However, it's really not just about looking for deals at the supermarket. Most of us could do better on the food waste front and planning meals has a great role to play in this. You'll find that better planning will result in less food going in the bin and a significantly lower food bill.

Consider ditching your debit card

Doing away with your debit card and using only cash may make you feel like you're stepping back in time, but it can be a very useful tactic to people who overspend. Leaving your card at home and just taking the money you can afford to spend with you on a night out, for example, can have a massive impact on your financial health month-to-month.

Spread your bills across the month

Some people find that it helps them to split each month into four weeks, rather than looking upon it as one whole. Consider when your bills are taken from your account and spread them out over the month, instead of having them all coming out at the very beginning.

What can you do if your money runs out?

Despite your best efforts, you may still find that you are short on funds in the run up to payday. If all else fails, you could look into one of the following possible solutions:

Consider a payday loan

Payday loans are only suitable in certain circumstances and must not be taken out as a routine solution to a wider financial problem. However, if you are hit with an unexpected cost that throws your monthly finances way off track, a fast payday loan - repayable in flexible instalments - could help you avoid missing other payments or using an expensive unauthorised overdraft, for example.

Providing you take out a payday loan with a responsible lender, they will check you can afford the repayments you are committing to. If you have a poor credit rating or are unemployed, for example, you may find it very difficult to secure a payday loan and should look for an alternative source of emergency cash.

Payday loans FAQs

Can I access UK loans online if I need emergency money now?

Yes, there are plenty of UK online payday loan providers available online. We operate online and we take responsible lending very seriously.

What's the best way to find payday loans near me?

Because payday loan providers operate online, there is no need to look only for payday lenders in your area.

Are UK payday loans an option if I run out of money?

Yes, providing you meet the lending criteria which, among other things, usually means you must have a steady income and be able to afford the repayments.

What are the alternatives to payday loans?

If a payday loan isn't right for you, there are all kinds of possible alternatives that could help you to get through the month. Take a look at the list below and think about what might work in your situation.

  • Borrow from friends or family
  • Ask you bank for an overdraft or an extension to your overdraft
  • Use a interest-free credit card
  • Increase your working hours
  • Ask your employer for a payday advance

Remember, you are certainly not alone in struggling to get through the month on your salary. Hastee Pay's 2019's Workplace Wellbeing Study found that 39 per cent of workers had missed work because they didn't have the cash available to pay for their commute. Younger workers tend to particularly struggle with making their money last until payday, according to the report, which also found that 89 per cent of workers have used credit solutions such as credit cards, payday loans or overdrafts to make ends meet or cover unexpected costs.

The cost of living is becoming higher and higher and many people share concerns that their wages just don't stretch far enough. However, providing you are willing to make some sacrifices and get organised, you will be surprised how life-changing these small changes can be.

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