Young Married Couple With Many Debts Doing Paperwork Together

Can’t Shift the Feeling

Before Christmas I took on extra shifts each week to bring in extra for me and the kids. I just don’t seem to have any more left over than I did before. I hate working harder and feeling like I don’t have any extra.
Thomas M, Musselburgh

Penny says: Dear Thomas,
It can be so frustrating when you work hard and feel it has been for nothing. When people come to see me, I get them to write two lists. One of all their money coming in and the other all, (and I mean ALL), their outgoings. The ‘Reality Check’ comes when they deduct their spends from their income. Most are shocked when they see how little is left, if anything. There are lots of budget templates online that you can use, have a go. (Try our online budget planner.)

To get this ‘money left over’ to grow bigger, firstly look for ways to increase your income. Check and claim all the benefits you are entitled to, that you are not paying too much tax, and consider getting better paid work, if it’s an option.

Now, see if you can get what you spend out on any cheaper, like insurance or energy bills. Maybe change how you pay for things to get discounts. Or shop smarter, buying in bulk or using cashback websites. The savings quickly add up.

If you’re still making less than you’re spending, or if debt payments are a big part of your outgoings, go find some expert advice.

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