For many of us, economizing is essential, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. No matter whether we’re having to scale back to make ends meet or because we have a certain financial goal we’re working toward, it’s difficult finding a way to do it without making your life utterly miserable.
At least, that’s how it can appear on the surface. The reality is rather different. In fact, reducing your spending can actually be incredibly simple, so long as you’re committed to your cause and know how to go about it.
With lots of bite-sized steps to make building your bank balance easier, here are a few of our top tips and tricks to help make your money go further.
Be wise and budget
The simplest place to start when it comes to scaling back spending is with a budget, so we suggest spending some time sat down, concocting a plan. We don’t mean working out some vague abstract notion of what you’re going to do, but actually pulling out a chair, grabbing a notepad and pen and writing some handy calculations to guide your hand. The first step is to jot down a cash flow statement – essentially, what money is coming in and what’s going out. Once you have this, take that second figure and split it in two: how much of the money is spent on what you ‘need’ and how much goes on what you ‘want’. This will provide you with two essential insights: where your money is going and where it’s being wasted. Once you have this to work with, it’s time to focus on reducing the latter figure: websites like Money Saving Expert will become your new best friends, helping you to spot deals on essentials and on luxuries. Speaking of which…
Do everything at a discounted price
No matter how good you are at budgeting, there are still going to be certain necessities you need to spend on, as well as certain luxuries you’re not willing to sacrifice. In these instances, it’s no good burying your head in the sand and ignoring your outlay so as not to worry yourself. It’s better to be proactive and one way to do this is by shopping around for discounts. These can be found in every sector, so never buy on impulse or solely for your personal ease. Instead, look around for bargains, whether it’s discounted loaves of bread from your local supermarket come day’s end or casino bonuses from Oddschecker to make your money go further. The latter may not count as a necessity, but the reality is that you do have to have the occasional instance where you spend a little extra on enjoying yourself. Being economical in your choices will make all the difference.
Start saying ‘no’
With the above in mind, you nonetheless have to create some semblance of balance, which means familiarizing yourself with saying ‘no’: to yourself, to your friends and to anyone or anything that will require you to spend money you don’t have. Though it’s fine to occasionally be naughty, you’re never going to realize your financial goals if you’re forever breaking the rules you have set. This means there’ll be times where you have to look at what you’ve already spent and pass on those after-work drinks or that slap-up meal with your special someone.
Don’t buy it just because it’s a bargain
We mentioned above that you should always have an eye out for discounts, but we ought to qualify that statement a little further by saying a bargain is only a bargain if it’s something you need. What we mean by that is that you must school yourself into the habit of only purchasing goods and services you genuinely require, no matter how enticing something’s price looks on paper. If you don’t have to have it, don’t buy it, irrespective of special offers and their appeal. Even at 50 per cent off, an unnecessary buy is still money poorly spent.
Another tip-top tip for those hoping to make their money go further is to review all of your existing outlays and compare them to alternative providers and the deals they could offer. We’re talking about everything from your phone contract to your home and car insurance, gym membership, broadband package and more. Although you might be tied in for the interim, it’s worth looking at alternatives for when these inevitably come to an end. And switching will often – literally – pay off, with new customers frequently getting better deals than existing clients. Aim to get everything you need for as little as possible, while always remembering to keep an eye out for any hidden costs that might crop up along the way. If it looks too good to be true, it possibly is, but savvy shoppers can still manage to find some great deals so long as they engage their brains.
Find some hobbies that are fun and free
Have you ever weighed the cost of your exercise regime against the necessity of making ends meet? If so, we have another tip: take some time to research a few free hobbies to fill up your hours. Your gym membership probably won’t count as a must-have when weighed against your need to eat and there are lots of cost-effective alternatives out there for those who take the time to look for them. Community running clubs, dog sharing apps that let you take someone else’s pooch for a walk, hiking or even taking a stroll on the beach with your partner all cost nothing and deliver the same effect: a healthier overall lifestyle. There are plenty of ways to occupy your time for free if you think outside the box.
Go back to basics
We’re talking about swapping out well-known but pricey brands for more economical alternatives. Shopping the economy range in your local supermarket, sacrificing haute couture for high street fashion, and choosing trainers that cost under $20 and come minus a Nike tick are all ways to cut your costs. Half the time, you won’t even be able to tell the difference. Scale back on your label snobbery and you’ll soon find that your bank balance soars.
Make a shopping list
Last but not least, we always advise those who want to reduce their outlay to make a list of what they need before they hit the shops. It doesn’t matter whether it’s doing the weekly shop in your local grocery store or selecting a new capsule wardrobe for work, so long as you list your must-haves and make sure you don’t stray from them. The easiest way to avoid temptation is to go out feeling focused and having a clear idea of how much you can spend so that you don’t end up lured in by luxuries and blowing your budget without even meaning to.
Follow these eight easy tips today to make your money go further.Like What You See? Share the Story!