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How skint are you after payday?

Exclusive research by the Money Advice Service for BBC One’s Right on the Money programme found one in eight of us struggle to make our wages last to the end of the month.

In fact, it’s normal for a third of our wages to be spent within one week. Part of the problem is the payday spending spree. One fifth of people we surveyed said they spend straight away on things like clothes, nights out and takeaways.

Once the money runs out, it’s not uncommon for us to borrow. Just over a quarter (28%) will spend on credit or store cards, while one in six (16%) ask friends or family to bail them out.

But there’s also a sensible chunk of the population – just over a third (36%) - who choose to cut what they spend.

How the people of Liverpool spend their wages

As part of the research, I hit the streets of Liverpool with the Right on the Money team to find out how they spent their wages – and how quickly.

Rent and bills were as expected some of their biggest expenses, taking a huge chunk of the paycheck each month.

After that, sometimes the spending wasn’t even something they were aware of. Takeaways and shopping were popular ways for people to spend £20, £30 or £40 without thinking.

For one person I met, Friday was the big night. The idea that he could “live like a king” – at least for a few days – drove his main splurge.

Debts also had an impact. Credit card spending, especially after Christmas, limited how much people had leftover every month, with one person telling me they resorted to staying in, eating pasta and sometimes going into their savings to get by.

How to make your money last

Some of those I met in Liverpool only started paying attention to their bank balance towards the end of the month when there was more pressure on the pounds.

To avoid that situation, the easiest thing is to set up a budget. Using online tools such as the Money Advice Service Budget planner you can list your income and your spending, and the tool then does the maths for you.

The budget will then help you see where you are overspending, and work out just how much you can afford to spend on those nice-to-have extras without risking the essentials like rent and bills.

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  • Brian Rushby / 22 July 2016

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  • beata / 22 July 2016

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    ADMIN: Hello, you can contact our advice line to talk through the situation 0800 138 7777