In partnership with Matalan

Manage your money better in 2018 with these handy tips…

  • Get in the know

Many people bury their heads in the sand when it comes to managing money but it’s essential you know how much cash you have, what debt you owe and what you spend your money on.

It’s easy to lose track of where your cash is going, so it’s important to go through all your bank and credit card statements with a fine tooth-comb, noting everything you spend. Divide it into sections like going out, travel and food, and add it all up.

  • Reduce waste

Once you know where your hard-earned cash is going it should be easy to spot areas you can cut back on. Do you spend a fortune on takeaways and convenience foods because you don’t have enough ingredients at home to make proper meals? Make a weekly meal plan and buy all the ingredients in advance and always have store-cupboard meals you can fall back on. Tuna pasta pesto anyone?

And if your downfall is daily posh coffees on your way to work, buy a cafetiere and brew your own at your desk instead.

  • Cut the cost of credit card debt

It’s all too easy to rack up a big credit card bill, but if you can’t afford to pay it off each month, you may be getting clobbered by hefty interest charges. Check your credit card’s APR and see if you can transfer your balance to a card that charges less interest, ideally a 0 per cent deal. Just make sure you pay off the full amount by the time any deal ends.

  • Build a nest egg

Putting aside a small amount each month can add up. There are lots of ways to save little and often, such as with Lloyds Bank’s Save The Change. If you opt-in to the service, your spending will be rounded up to the nearest pound and the difference put in a savings account.

Marvellous multi-use buys…

Make your money go further by being savvy about what you purchase

  • Cut-price cooking

Reduce the number of pans you need in your kitchen by buying one that does several jobs at once, like a portion pan. It’s divided into sections so you can cook different foods at the same time. Bon appetit!

  • An investment coat

When it comes to buying a new coat, it pays to choose carefully. Is it a classic style that you can pull out each year? And can you wear it for different occasions with a variety of outfits? Picking the right one will save you cash in the long run.

  • Make-up magic

Is your cosmetics bag bulging at the seams with pricy products? Cut the cost – and the bulk – by choosing items that do double the job, like a lipstick shade that also works as a cream blusher.

  • Great gadgets

Whizz up healthy meals in a flash by using a microwave steamer, they’re so versatile you can cook a range of foods such as vegetables like broccoli and carrots or fish. Easy peasy!

Words by Maxine Briggs