The Samaritans' annual survey of the UK's worries, published recently, shows that – you guessed it – money and job security are the big fears for 2011. Cut down on worry and big bills with our top money-saving tips.
Nearly 60% of the 2000-plus people surveyed fear they won't have enough money to live comfortably this year, with well over a third worried about losing their jobs or having difficulty finding work.
Take charge; turn the problem into a challenge. Just how much money can you save this year?
For example, get free meals and even nights in hotels by being a mystery shopper. Signing up with a reputable agency like TNS-Global lets you eat out for free in return for reviewing your experience online.
Use up the food in your cupboards
Only buy perishables to go with tins and packets you already have. That should cut down the food bills in January at least.
Get into house-swapping for nearly free holidays. There are several house-swapping websites where you can get away from it all in someone else's home anywhere in the world while they stay in yours.
Do a budget
Finally, and most importantly, do a budget. Even if it's on the back of an envelope, write two lists - one of your monthly incomings, and one of your monthly essential outgoings.
"Take the latter from the former and you have a ballpark idea of what money you really have to play with each month" says Jasmine Birtles, financial expert and founder of money-saving site moneymagpie.com
"Aim to live well below your means and invest what's left over. Keep doing that while you're working and, I promise you will end up being OK" she adds.
Studies have shown that once we get the hang of it, we get as much fun, if not more, from not spending on things as we did on splurging. So give yourself and the family a goal of seeing how little you can spend and still have a good time. You might be surprised.
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