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Unusual ways to help stretch your pay packet

Sometimes pay day can't come quicker. After paying your rent, bills and shopping, it's just sods law that it's a birthday here and a wedding there that you have to factor in.

Keeping a lid on what you spend is good to keep your finances healthy. But, sometimes it can be tight in the household for a month.

Guest blogger Louise Wood shares with us her top tips on making your money stretch until the next pay day.

Claim a tax rebate

If you were made redundant or dismissed part way through the tax year, were employed and paying tax through PAYE and are still out of work then you could be due a tax refund. Money Advice Service has all the details about how to claim such a refund here - if you are owed this money it could really help until you find new income.

Manage your debts

If you are paying off a credit card or loan ensure you make the minimum payment on these before paying out for anything else, to ensure you don’t get hit with any fines later on in the month.

Budget

With less money and a lack of prospective income it’s important to budget to ensure you spend what cash you have left wisely. Start with your weekly food shop, cut out the expensive brands and buy supermarket own products. For fresh fruit and veg it’s also a good idea to opt for market stall produce instead of stocking up the trolley in Tesco. The Huffington Post reported that local shops can actually save you 35% on your shopping bill, plus you’re supporting local business.

Find out more about creating a budget planner here

Cancel or put subscriptions on hold

If you are signed up to a magazine or a monthly subscription to something then put these on hold or cancel them altogether whilst money is tight. The same goes for gym memberships, you can work out at home for free or take up running - it’s also a great way to relieve frustration whilst you search for jobs.

Freeze leftovers

Don’t chuck away that leftover homemade chilli or curry; pop it in a lunchbox and in the freezer to eat for dinner another day. It will stop you paying an unnecessary visit to the supermarket for extra meal ingredients and give you a quick and easy meal that takes just minutes to prepare.

Pay less for petrol

Try to avoid driving if you can whilst out of work but if you really need to fill up then do a quick check on a site such as petrolprices.com to find the cheapest petrol station near you.

Switch energy providers

You might not save money immediately, but this can help in the long run. Use a comparison website to find the best energy provider for your needs and hit confirm. Everything is done for you and you’ll start saving money.

Find out more about switching energy suppliers here

Pay with cash

Once all your direct debits are out it’s a good idea to take most of the money out of your bank account to use. Seeing and holding cold, hard cash in your hands can make it a little harder to part with than if you are using a debit card and will also be more likely to make you question a purchase.

Find out more about managing your money, from budgeting to money saving tips, here

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