Ideal for those seeking solutions to overspending.
For better or for worse, saving money and running a manageable budget is one of the main markers of adulthood and an indicator of a stable, sensible outlook. Should you prioritise a life of reassuring rhythm and routine, then getting a handle on your finances is a must.
However, as additional challenges and pressures develop throughout this year, keeping a stable budget is perhaps more pressing than ever. Though saving money on a large scale isn’t always easy, with a few small scale changes, it’s certainly possible. Every little helps, as they say, and with that in mind, here are 6 simple hacks to save money each month, IDEAL for those seeking solutions to overspending.
One of the best and simplest ways that you can curtail spending and save some money is to use cash only. Yep, we realise that in modern times, contactless is king, but going old school can actually be really beneficial to budgeting.
The little things we buy every day can be difficult to keep track of when you’re simply waving plastic at them, and these can add up over time. We’ve all been there; before you know it, your bank account is drained thanks to instinctive purchases of chewing gum, hair ties and latte, and you’re not even sure how it happened.
We exaggerate, of course; no one ever bought a house by cutting back on the avocado on toast. But, the easiest way to keep track of your spending and keep it under control is to keep your credit card stashed and use cash only. That way, you physically see every pound you part with.
NEGOTIATE NEW RATES
All too often we pay our utility and other bills as they come in without a second thought, thinking that these rates are fixed and negotiable. However, there is often a degree of wiggle room when it comes to the rates your provider offers you; they want to keep you loyal, after all, and will often shave a few pounds off your bill if you keep on their case.
Indeed, you’d be surprised at the results you can get if you pick up the phone and ask your provider to review their rates as a gesture to reward you for your loyalty. If they won’t shift, shop around and see if any of their competitors are offering a better deal. A bit of short term energy expended can pay off handsomely in the long run.
REVIEW YOUR TRANSPORT COSTS
One of the biggest costs in a budget tends to be transport, whether that’s the daily commute or regular refills of the petrol in your car. By reviewing your expenditure in this area and making some cost-cutting changes, you may find some significant savings.
Petrol and other expenses associated with running a car, in particular, are costly and accumulative. Consider whether you can cut back on your car usage and replace this with public transport. If public transport isn’t feasible, investigate carpooling. You can even ask your employer if they will allow you to work remotely all or some of the time – not only will this cut commuting costs, but it will also reduce lunchtime expenses and more.
AUDIT YOUR SHOPPING BILL
Food is an essential expense, but are you spending more than you need to be at the supermarket? Start by taking out your last supermarket receipt and doing a critical audit; look at the items that are costing you the most, then consider if these are really essential or if cheaper replacements could be made. This doesn’t need to mean you should cut back on fruit and vegetables, or things that bring you joy, but rather, whether you’re getting the best deal compared to other supermarkets and if the brand you’re loyal to really is giving you value for money.
Also critically assess your food wastage: this is not only a waste of food but also money. If you find yourself regularly tossing spoiled food, you are buying too much and could save greatly by only buying what you need.
FIND A GREAT PHONE CONTRACT
In general, contract phones are more expensive than buying a phone outright. However, if you search around and compare the options, you can find great deals on 12, 24 or 36 monthly contracts, as well as deals on your preferred models, such as Apple phone plans or a discount on the latest Samsung if you enter into a lengthier commitment.
Sometimes, phone manufacturers and retailers will offer a special deal on new phones that they are seeking to promote in order to gather reviews that will facilitate more sales. Do your research to identify the best deals as they emerge. Be sure to do your calculations and check how much you will end up paying for the phone over the life of the contract, including all fees and charges, compared to buying a phone outright, but if the sums add up, there are serious savings to be made here.
PAY DOWN YOUR DEBTS
If you’re trying to save up for something, paying off your credit card or personal loan may not feel like your top priority. In fact, it’s an aspect of your outgoings usually confined to the footer. However, paying down your debts is one of the best ways to save money and could substantially contribute to your bank balance in the long term. Paying interest on loans and credit cards is a simple waste of money, and the faster you pay off your debts, the less interest you pay. This will also help you to establish a great credit rating, all of which contributes to a more stable, sensible state of finances for many years to come.