From time to time, money troubles can feel as though they're taking over – leading to sleepless nights, spurred on by stress and worry.
Here at 118 118 Money, we believe that money worries should never stand in the way of you enjoying your life, and that by planning ahead, saving and budgeting can go a long way when it comes to ensuring you remain both physically, as well as fiscally, healthy.
To find out how you can make your money stretch further in the future, make a positive change and check out some of the helpful hints listed below.
A new, healthy habit
Stashing a fiver under your mattress once a month is one way to save, although in the modern age, you may find that's perhaps not the most efficient method. Instead, try starting a new, healthy habit, adjusting your mindset to spend less and save more.
Obviously, this might not be possible for everyone, but a good rule of thumb is to try and stash away 10% of your monthly earnings each payday into a separate, high interest account – such as an ISA. The best bit about these accounts is that they lock-in your funds for a set amount of time, so even if you are tempted to spend them on something you don't actually need, you might not be able to.
Let time work its magic
Sometimes we all wish we could fast forward in life – whether it's because of a holiday, a special occasion or simply because you're ready for your dinner an hour before it's cooked. But as much as we'd like to perform the impossible and transport ourselves to a different time altogether, more often than not it's better to accept that some things just take time.
Unfortunately, saving is one of these things. However, rather than having a stab in the dark and guessing how long something might take to save up for, you could use a handy money savings calculator, such as this one provided by Nationwide, to see how long it'll take to save the funds you need.
It starts with a plan
Before you start putting away more than you can afford into an ISA each month, you first need to know how much you can realistically hope to save once all your outgoings have been accounted for.
What this means is that you'll need to make a budget – aka an extensive list of what comes in and what goes out of your bank account each month. Make sure to include all your direct debits, bills and travel costs, as well as any additional extras such as meals out, after work drinks and other social events.
Need a hand with your budget plan? You can try out our handy budget planner right here.
To gain a clear insight of what you're spending each month, take three bank statements from three random months of the year before separating your spends into different categories – such as travel, food and bills etc. Once you have an average worked out for each month, you'll know precisely how much you'll need to keep to one side – leaving you with the amount you can save as a result.
While the method above may work well for a lot of people, there are some who prefer working things out in a much more futuristic way. Luckily, there's an app for that…
A really handy app can be found in the form of Money Dashboard. With a mission statement that explains how the app can show users where their money goes each month; Money Dashboard helps its users to make a better financial decision – which is never a bad thing when it comes to budgeting and saving.
Up, up and away
If there's one factor that can have a negative impact on your savings, it's inflation. In simple terms, inflation relates to the amount your money is worth – and a historic trend over the past century is that as inflation creeps up, your money loses its value.
To avoid this happening, try to save your money in a bank/ISA that offers more interest than the average level of inflation. For example, if the rate of inflation is 1%, it's advisable to put your money in an account that offers an annual rate of interest of at least 1%.
To keep an eye on the current rate of inflation, sites such as BBC.co.uk should help you to stay ahead of the game.
A little extra, on the side
Unfortunately, plenty of people find that no matter how hard they try, they just can't save the amount they need, in the space they need it in. Luckily for such people, there is an alternative to some of the more modest approaches listed above.
Extra cash can always be generated – it just takes a dash of hard work, some dedication and a little bit good old fashioned knowhow. Selling your wares on Amazon, or Etsy, for example, are just two ways in which internet users can make the most of the digital world, whereas car boot sales provide a familiar platform for those who prefer to do their selling in person.
The best part is you don't have to be a crafty maker or a business guru to make the most out the options listed above – and you could even sell some of your unwanted goods that lay around your house!