While there has been some improvement in the economy in recent months, thousands of households continue to feel the pinch.
With many people’s wages stagnating and the cost of food and bills seemingly on a constant rise, the need to budget more effectively and think debt management are high on a lot of New Year’s resolution lists.
Indeed, research conducted recently by Think Money found that 55 per cent of the population are currently looking for ways in which to tighten their purse strings this year.
For 41 per cent of these that will involve shopping around for cheaper mobile phone and utility contracts, while 30 per cent said that they will look to try and cut down on their debts.
“2013 is set to be a challenging year,” said Think Money’s Ian Williams. “Benefits being capped, wages stagnating, the threat of a triple-dip recession – we all have plenty to worry about as the year gets underway.
“So it’s encouraging to see households attaching so much importance to their finances. The number of people determined to stick to a budget seriously outweighed the number promising themselves they’d lose weight – even though 29 per cent of our respondents said they’d do that this year!
“It may sound obvious, but a good budget is quite simply the best way to get through difficult times with your finances intact: if there’s one thing just about anyone can do to improve their financial security this year, this is it.”
Another way to improve your financial situation is by finding ways in which you can earn more money.
Now this may sound easier said than done, but there are still ways in which you can bring in a little extra money without having to give up too much of your time or do things which you consider beneath you.
One such way is by having a clear out and selling all the things you own and no longer use.
According to the Daily Mirror, the average woman has $308 worth of clothing they never wear. If in good condition, these can be advertised on sites such as eBay. The online auction site can also be used to sell off things like old CDs, books and DVDs, although it usually makes sense to see what you can get for them on amazon.com.
Another option is to take in a lodger. If you have a spare room then you can easily lighten your financial burden.
According to research from LV=, the number of people renting out a room has risen by around 950,000 since the start of the economic downturn, with a third of that number taking in a lodger for the sole reason of making more money. LV=’s research found that on average people renting out a room can expect to make $4,634 a year.
John O’Roarke, managing director of LV= Home Insurance, said: “As people struggle to keep on top of their bills and mortgage payments, it makes sense to look for other sources of income.
“For homeowners that have a spare room, taking in a lodger can be a great way of getting in some extra cash.”
TV journalist and founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, Martin Lewis, is a big advocate of people making extra money by completing online surveys.
Without having to demonstrate much skill or talent, you can potentially pull in $100s each year by just sitting down and giving your opinion on things such as the government, the cost of gas and even what kind of baked beans you like.
It’s never going to make you a millionaire, but when times are tough the money can come in handy to pay bills or put towards days out.
Simon is a money expert who loves finding ways to make money. He writes for a site devoted to reducing debt.