Prior to this many people on a DMP often had no reason to put together a budget and stick to it. Budgeting can often by tough at first and some people struggle to adjust to this new (and necessary) mindset.
Here’s our tips to help anyone on a DMP – and in fact anyone looking to save money – make the best of their money during 2012. The following guidelines should help make living on budget a little easier this year…
Stick to your budget
Each and every budget put together by our counsellors is designed to give you enough money to make it through the month.
That means if your car MOT and car tax are due in December you’ll have money in your budget for these items from January onwards. That way when you get to December you’re not struggling trying to find the money.
The same is true for haircuts, dental costs and many other things in our budgets. Some allowances need to be saved to ensure your future payments are going to be covered.
Its common sense but you should be putting the money for these items away each month. It’ll make the long term success of your DMP much easier.
Maximise your money…
Could you take in a lodger? Could you rent out your drive space to someone who needs parking? Did you know you can get paid to take surveys on the internet?
Many of our clients really get into money maximisation. They take pleasure from making the most of the resources they have.
We’ve blogged before about money maximisation and ways you can make the most of your available resources. These two articles are well worth reading if you want to put a little bit extra into your budget.
Christmas and birthdays…
We’ve just passed the festive season and you might be finding January a little bit of a struggle.
This is why it’s vitally important to manage events ahead of time, such as family birthdays. Three or four pounds saved from your budget each month can help cover the cost of gifts to loved ones. And planning ahead like this means you have plenty time to scope out that perfect (but cost-effective) gift.
Many clients on debt management plans even get creative for Christmas and birthdays and make or cook a gift for a loved one.
Become a born again frugalista…
One of the things we hear a lot from clients is that entering a DMP usually teaches them a valuable lesson that being in debt is not something they want to repeat.
One way of aiming never being in debt again is to become a frugalista, taking the time and effort to be as frugal as possible. This doesn’t mean that when you’re debt free you’ll never take a holiday abroad again; it means that when you do end your DMP and do book yourself a holiday you’ll want to do it as cheaply as possible.
This applies to everything that you could possibly spend money on. The frugalista isn’t just looking for a bargain; he/she is looking for a reason to ‘make do and mend’ as well. It’s also good way to keep clear of expensive credit cards and high interest loans.
Obviously we’d recommend that you also follow us for budgeting advice and money saving!
Get support and join a community that helped over 400,000 people last year. We could have helped your neighbours or friends and you may not necessarily know it. As Niki, one of our recent debt free clients, explained in this video, when she started talking to people about StepChange Debt Charity she was amazed that her friends were also using our service.
Being in debt is not necessarily something we want people to know about, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t all need advice and support from time to time.
To help meet this need, Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert online forum has the popular Debt-Free Wannabe community, a thriving area that offers support and encouragement to those wanting to get out of debt.
Many of people talking on here are on a DMP with StepChange Debt Charity or another provider and the forum is an excellent place to make friends.
Two big budget busters
Two quick ways to improve your situation are to look at both your utility providers and any insurance that you pay (either domestic or life insurance products).
It’s worth using an independent comparison service like Which? Switch to look at utilities and if you’re in mortgaged property it’s worth speaking to us about our independent life insurance provider.
They have access to the whole of the market and can often find better deals for lower premiums. Contact us with your client reference number for more details.
Do you have any tips for making 2012 an easier year for your wallet? Let us know…