There are always small and effective ways in which to scrimp and save in your budget. Taking note of your expenses alone, will help you get your finances well on track, with everything clearly visible to you each month with regards to what you have and haven’t spent. However, when it comes down to it, saving money almost always means cutting outgoings in one way or another. Living a cheaper lifestyle may feel uncomfortable at first, but eventually you will likely feel liberated by reducing the burden of monthly expenses.
Furthermore, by reducing your monthly expenditure, you will be better able to avoid having to apply for short term loans, which you may not in fact even need in the first place. By avoiding payday loans and other short term options, you will be able to better plan your finances for the longer term, bettering yourself financially. A good place to start is by asking yourself a series of questions about each category of your expenses. These questions should aim to identify which things in your day to day life are essentials and which can be reduced.
Taking your car as an example, you may ask yourself questions such as:
- Do I make adequate use of this car to justify its cost?
- Could I trade my current car in for a more affordable alternative?
- Would I be able to live the life I want without this car?
- If I downgraded to a more affordable model, how much would my monthly payments decrease?
- How much would I save on petrol if I got rid of my car?
Downsizing your Home
Many of us purchase homes with a room for each child and sometimes even an additional spare bedroom. When the children leave to go off to university, many remain in these large homes despite the fact that they are now overwhelmingly vacant. In a larger home, you will likely spend the vast majority of your time in a few, select rooms, whilst others languish empty for the remainder of the time. Even worse, some people have rooms that they avoid entering because they want to keep them in pristine condition, which is unnecessary.
With a house, you are in effect, paying for every square inch of the property in mortgage payments or rent, even when an area is not in use. Consider how you may be able to spend your money more effectively; are you comfortable downsizing to a smaller home in which you will likely better utilise use all of the rooms?
Do I Need to go to University?
In the 21st century, there is an increasing demand for university education, and equally a stigma against many who do not attend. University can offer plenty of amazing things: you can learn a vocation, receive an enriching education, make lifelong friendships and explore your interests. But it is not always the best financial or life choice for everyone.
Try to dispel the concept that a university education will automatically translate to a well-payed career thereafter as unfortunately, this is not necessarily always the case. Consider professions in which you can earn a lot of money without going to university, such as a plumber, firefighter or tattoo artist. The university path is certainly not for everyone, so make sure you are making the right decision for your own life.
Making Small Monthly Changes
Although reducing and optimising your larger outgoings and expenses such as mortgage repayments, property, vehicle and otherwise, you may also find that reducing smaller expenses on a regular basis cumulatively adds up to significant savings. Also, trimming down your outgoings may allow you to save some money each month, helping you to be prepared should you fall upon harder times in the future.
Phone plans – Full data plans are expensive and more and more people are opting to switch to cheaper pay-as-you-use plans or limiting the amount of data each month. Remember to login to the Wi-Fi whenever you enter a space where you would like to connect. Fewer and fewer people use landlines too nowadays too, so getting rid of your landline could be an option to save some money on a regular basis.
Gym membership – Why pay for a membership you are not using it to its fullest? Consider purchasing some home-gym equipment. Making this purchase may cost you more initially, but will certainly save you money in the long run. Additionally, if you love going to the gym, consider other options. Is there a cheaper gym than the one you are attending? Is there a pay-per-use option? Perhaps you can pay £20 per use rather than committing to a month long or yearly membership.
Declutter your home – Decluttering is a liberating experience and your home will look more attractive; you will find belongings you forgot you owned, and you will find items you can sell. Consider partaking in a car boot sale to get rid of things you no longer need or want. For pricier objects, consider listing them on eBay or Etsy. People will pay a lot for beautiful vintage objects.
Assess your existing debts – Considering your current debts, everything from mobile phone plan payments to your weekly shop, is a great way to reduce what you spend. Just by being aware of what you spend, and particularly if you live from hand to mouth, you will be better able to avoid having to go down the road of debt consolidation or similar.