This topic is a bit different to my usual type of post but I love reading about how people manage their money and the tips that they have up their sleeves!
I am quite good at managing my money. I've always hated being in my overdraft (although it's been unavoidable at times *ahem, Uni*) and try to budget myself so I'm not having to use it. Here are a few things that I do which seem to help me...
1) Keep a simple budgeting spreadsheet - I do love a spreadsheet and recently I've created one for budgeting and it's working really well. It's a very simple one - all I do is put in how much money is in my account, my known outgoings and then how much is remaining after they all go out. I then divide my remaining amount by the amount of weeks till payday and that gives my weekly budget, which leads me nicely on to...
2) My Weekly Budget (MyWB) app - I mentioned this in my favourite apps post and have to rave about it again as it is just so handy for managing your money. Once I've worked out my weekly budget I put it in the app and then record anything I spend that week. I can then really monitor what I have left and where my money has gone that week (usually all on food). You can also 'carry' money over to the next week if you have some left, or if you went over your budget you can take this out of the next week's budget. It's a really simple and easy to use app - you can find it here.
3) Plan your meals - this is a tip I hear time and time again but it's a really good one! Every week we try (I say try as we have been terrible lately) to plan our meals. Chris and I sit down and decide on some meals - usually using BBC Good Food for inspiration, and then I note all of the extra ingredients we need for these meals. This then forms our shopping list and once we've come back from the supermarket (feeling all smug about our full fridge) we know that we have every meal planned for the week. We don't have a set meal every day- we just pick what we fancy from our 'menu'.
4) Find other ways of earning a little extra - I have a few things that I do to earn some extra pennies with the main thing being focus groups. Focus groups are a brilliant way of earning money - for a two hour group you can get paid around £50 and all you need to do is talk about your opinions on a topic! Some can be quite dull (my friend spend 3 hours discussing chewing gum) but others are actually quite fun. It's really easy money. All you need to do is sign up to a Focus Group website (there are lots of different ones out there) and apply for any groups that you fancy.
I have also recently downloaded an app called VoxPopMe where you get paid to record a short 15-60 second clip answering a question or giving an opinion on something. I only joined a couple of weeks ago and have already made over £5 - you can withdraw the payment every time you reach £10 so it's a nice little extra.
5) Make the most of reward schemes/points - there are so many great reward and cashback schemes out there. We seem to build up our Nectar points very quickly as we have linked them to our British Gas account and get bonus points every time we submit a reading. I only realised the other day that you can use Nectar points on Pizza Express vouchers so we now have £30 to spend on a meal there! You can also use them for breaks away and magazine subscriptions amongst many other things. I also love using my Boots points when I'm low on cash. Again, I build these up quite quickly as I get my contact lenses through the Boots reward scheme and so get points every time my direct debit goes out - the scheme also gives me 10% off all Boots Own products (which includes the Meal Deal!