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Author: Internal Customer Services Agent

Everyday tips for saving money

Sometimes we can all get a bit carried away with our desire to live certain life styles and spend the money required to support them. Often we focus on the need to earn more and more money in order to support our desired way of living, when in reality, there are often lots of ways we can save and cut back the costs of our existing spending habits. Currently our economy is at somewhat of an impasse, given we are earning less and spending more and as such many consumers are struggling to support themselves and their families. Whilst we continue to utilise the financial resources made readily available to us and as such, commit our ourselves to supporting repayments month in and month out, it is easy to see why there is mounting pressure on us all to ‘stay afloat’. That said, with effective money management and determination to keep our monthly budget and spending habits in check; it is possible to survive and prosper financially. Often as consumers we become lazy in our approach to our finances and underlying costs which we automatically pay each and every month, when the truth of the matter is, there are often a number of different ways we could be cutting back on our spending and subsequently saving money in the process. Today we will be looking at just a handful of the hundreds of different ways we could look to reduce our monthly living costs and in doing so free up some much needed funds to support the lifestyles that are readily available to us.

First and foremost to start the process of saving money we need to fully understand exactly what we are currently spending on any given month. Up to 80% of consumers, of all ages, have admitted that from month to month they are not entirely certain exactly where all their money goes when their next pay date arrives.  With this in mind it is not difficult to believe that as a collective we are not always sure where savings can subsequently be made. Luckily this is easily combatted by the completion of a budget. For those of us who have not lived by a budget before, this incredibly simple tool may be of great use. To complete a budget quite simply all you need to do is list all of your monthly outgoings in their entirety and compare this amount to your total income; the remaining amount is your spare income. When completing a budget it is vitally important each and every expense you have is accounted for; whether this be typical household running costs or the less obvious but still regular, repayments towards the likes of pet insurance or exercise classes. This therefore means each and every cost you pay out for on a regular and consistent basis. The Money Advice Service have a Budget Planner that can be used to help.

The completion of your monthly budget will of course highlight all the areas in which you currently spend your money and some of which may be surprising. For example many of us like to treat ourselves to a take-away now and again but how much are you really spending on this one particular type of treat? It could be that it’s ‘only’ £20.00 a week but the reality is in a year, you are spending at least £1000.00 on fast food! This is a perfect example of how assessing and understanding your budget may highlight where cut backs can be made. That said, this is not an exercise to completely cut out the things you enjoy; instead the idea is to manage their cost realistically. Another quick money saving tip is to budget and therefore limit the amount you are spending on certain non-essential items each and every month. This for example, could mean the amount you spend on clothing. Given the fact we can now ‘go’ shopping 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thanks to online shopping, many of us become completely unaware of the total amount which is being spent. Monitor your normal spending habits as far as this is concerned for a period of a month and then review the total amount, is this amount a realistic proportion of your monthly income? Are all of the purchases justifiable? If the answer is no, cut back and see what money you could be saving from this particular spend each month. With this spending habit still in mind, try to be a little more thrifty. This means look at all the clothing (and other household items in general) and be honest in whether they still hold any use or value. For items which don’t, why not do a car-boot, advertise them online or ask your friends and family if there are any items they need; going an a great price.