The cost of living is putting a squeeze on most people’s finances. But with a little planning and some smart budgeting strategies, you can make your money go further and work harder for you.

In this blog we share our ten tips to help you maximise your money.

1. Create a budget and stick to it

Budgets can become quickly out of date as bills and expenses change. Check your budget at least once a month to make sure it’s still accurate.

Add everything including luxuries as this helps you see where you can trim costs and increase savings.

If you want to manage your budget digitally, try using a budgeting app. There’s lots of personal finance apps to choose from, so check which are the top-ranking companies for customer reviews to help you decide.

2. Automate savings

Set up automatic transfers to your savings account the day after you get paid to build up your pot – out of sight, out of spending!

There are budgeting apps like Plum, Moneybox or Chip that round up your purchases and put the difference into savings. It’s a really easy way to manage your money as you can save without thinking about it.

Image with piggy bank icon that says Use a budgeting app that rounds up your purchases and puts the difference into savings

3. Take advantage of rewards and cashback

There are credit cards and loyalty programs offering cashback or rewards even for everyday spending like food shopping.

Remember to use credit cards responsibly. If you can, pay off credit cards in full each month to avoid increasing debt and chargeable interest. Our colleagues at Be Clever With Your Cash share their favourite reward credit cards every month so you can see how they stack up. 

Image with stack of coins icon that says Top tip take advantage of credit cards and loyalty programs that offer cashback or rewards on everyday purchases

4. Review and reduce monthly subscriptions

It’s easy to forget to cancel subscription services once a free trial has ended or you no longer need them. Have a look through your last three bank statements to see if you’re still paying for anything you no longer use.

5. Shop smart and compare prices

Use price comparison websites to find the best deals for purchases and research coupons or discount codes to save you even more money.

You can add a discount extension like Honey, Pouch or Vouchercodes to your browser to help you find the best price. When you visit an online shop on your computer, these extensions search for deals in the background and share what they find in a pop-up.

Image with trolley icon that says top tip you can add a discount extension like Honey, Pouch or Vouchercodes to your browser to help you find the best price

6. Get a high-interest savings account

Our recent research found that savers under 35 stay with their provider for nearly four years but move jobs every 2.5 years. We also discovered that half of savers under 35 don’t know their current savings interest rate.

So, if you haven’t reviewed your account recently, now’s the time to see if you can get a better savings deal elsewhere. If you can lock your money away for longer, you could benefit from even higher interest rates.

Image with icon of hands holding coins that says top tip head to to discover how you can boost your savings with a higher interest rate

7. Avoid unnecessary fees

Some bank accounts come with fees so if you can, opt for fee free ones (unless they’re giving you something good in return that saves you money).

Most banks let you set up alerts to warn you when you’re about to go into your overdraft. Set these up so you can transfer money in and avoid unnecessary overdraft charges.

8. Plan for the future 

Set your long-term financial goals now and make a plan around how to achieve them. It’s a smart financial decision that your future self will thank you for.

If you don’t have a plan for your retirement, the time to start is now (even if it feels like a long time away). Many pension providers have online calculators to help you work out how much you’ll need – and what to contribute each month.

9. Learn about money the smart way

Keep up to date with changes to financial products and deals to make the most of your money. Our sister site, Be Clever With Your Cash, has regular videos, podcast episodes, articles and guides to help you understand the financial industry and get closer to achieving your money goals.

10. Read reviews

Before taking out any new financial products, do your research. Not just on the features of a product, but also what it’s like to be a customer. At Smart Money People, we’re the UK's most comprehensive financial services review site. Products are ranked by customer experience so you can compare options and see which is best for you.