Do you ever feel like your money seems to disappear, or are you surprised when you check your account balance? It can be challenging to keep track of spending in an age where you can buy anything at the touch of a button or the touch of a card, but there are ways to take control. In this guide, we’ll explore some simple hacks you can employ to scale back spending.
Photo by cottonbro
Creating a budget
This is the number one rule for anyone who wants to regulate spending, work towards saving goals or start clearing debt. Budgeting is an easy, effective means of limiting and controlling spending and managing your money. If you don’t already draw up a monthly budget, now is the time to start.
To make your budget, you can use apps, spreadsheets or even good, old-fashioned pen and paper. Form three columns, one for your regular income, one for monthly outgoings, and one-off expenses for that month. Calculate the difference between your income and your outgoings. This will give you an accurate idea of how much you have available to spend, save or put towards paying off debts.
As well as enabling you to figure out how much disposable income you have, budgeting is an excellent way of auditing and analyzing spending. Take time to go through your statements, look at your transactions and regular payments, and see if there is anything you could cut out or expenses you could reduce. Are you paying for a gym membership you never use or had you forgotten about a subscription you’d signed up for? Are you spending too much on going out or takeout food, or is your grocery bill too high? Use your budget to set spending limits. Decide how much you want to spend and try to save or put more money aside for clearing debts or investing. Update your budget as you go, and always try to use exact figures rather than estimates.
Saving on buying food
We all need to eat, but a daily coffee or a sandwich from the deli next to the office for lunch most days can soon put a dent in your balance. If you’re shocked at how much you spend on buying lunch, going out to eat or filling your cart at the supermarket, there are some easy ways to lower spending. Try to resist the temptation to buy a takeaway coffee every morning and make a packed lunch to take to work with you. Set yourself a monthly limit for eating out, and always write a list when you go to the grocery store. Plan a menu. This will enable you to save time and money. Compare prices on expensive items and bulk buys, and take advantage of offers if they are relevant to your shopping list. Most of us are lured in by deals, and we end up buying products we don’t even want or need just because we feel like it’s a promotion we can’t turn down.
If you’re on a mission to make your money stretch further, it’s a brilliant idea to get into the habit of shopping around. Thanks to the Internet, it now takes a few seconds to compare prices. You can search for the best deals on everything from insurance and broadband packages to branded clothing, household essentials and flights and hotels. Use the web to find the best prices if your insurance policies are due for renewal. If you enter your details, you can compare prices and policies from providers like TD Insurance instantly. You can also filter results to add features or extras to suit your requirements. You can also use search engines to save on shopping and find retailers and sites with good reviews. If you have a product code or the make and model, you can find prices from different websites at the touch of a button. It’s always worth shopping around if you’re buying or renewing insurance, you have contracts for utilities or TV or a phone coming to an end, or you’re looking to purchase products in bulk. You may be surprised at the difference in prices.
Taking advantage of discounts and offers
If you have an email account or use social media, you’ll know that there is scope to save a fortune through discounts and offers. Every day, most of us see adverts and promotions in our feeds, and we receive messages with codes and exclusive offers. If you sign up to discount websites or subscribe to your favourite retailers, you can take advantage of vouchers, coupons and codes to use online or in-store. It’s a good idea to create a wish list and then wait for an offer to come through to buy. You can also browse coupon sites or use search engines to see if there are any offers on products, activities or excursions you’re looking into buying or booking. You can save on everything from family days out and attraction tickets to clothes and electrical items.
Having fun without spending a fortune
Now that restrictions are easing, many of us are keen to get out and about, socialize and have fun. The good news is that you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a vacation, hang out with friends and family or plan a memorable day out. There are all kinds of activities and trips you can prepare without spending a lot of money. From afternoons at the beach and picnics at the park to hosting dinner parties or brunches at home and signing up for free festivals in the local area, it is possible to have fun on a budget. Use online resources to look for free events or discounted tickets, make use of beauty spots and explore the great outdoors, and consider entertaining at home or visiting other peoples’ houses to save on going to the movies or dining out.
Many of us are guilty of spending without really thinking about it. We tap to pay, and we order items at the touch of a button. If you’re looking to save more, or you’d like to clear debts, it’s a great idea to start regulating spending and reducing expenses. Take these simple hacks on board to boost your balance, and good luck!