How many of us are truly aware of our monthly outgoings? Sure, we will always notice and remember the big ones; rent, car, childcare. But what about the smaller ones, the odd coffee, a falafel wrap from that nice food stand, ‘Oh, I’ll just Uber it’…? These seemly small purchases add up and can have a large impact on your monthly outgoings.
Being money conscious isn’t about depriving yourself of the things you want and enjoy, it is about being smart with your money and really being aware of your outgoings so that you can take the decision to make or not to make a purchase that might later affect your budget.
Here are a few simple ways to cut back monthly expenses –
1. Coffee – Grande saving
The most obvious answer is to is cut out all bought coffee and make it at home or in the office, but if the free office coffee really doesn’t cut it (and I hear you) get yourself a reusable cup. Most coffee shops will offer a discount when you use your own cup so you can make a cheeky little saving when you do crave a little bean-based boost. It also means the first coffee of the day can be made at home and taken on your commute, and there you go, that’s one cup down already.
2. Leftovers – Delicious saving tips
Making lunch can conjure up images of boring sandwiches, chopped carrot (for the health conscious among us) and a dip that is likely to get on everything. While those are all perfectly excellent lunch ideas, you can experiment with a wide range of options for your lunch. Cooking up a batch of food for you to spread out over your lunches is not only going to save you money, it can also be enjoyable. How many different meals can you make out of, say, 5 ingredients, and then how can you adapt each meal so you don’t end up with the same lunch every day? If it’s good enough for Jamie, it’s good enough for us!
Not a fan of cooking? Make it a social thing with friends/housemates/family- Take turns to cook, or cook together. You can also make food plans and shop together to save a little more cash. What isn’t better with friends.
3.Interested in interest – 0%
No one wants the bank getting money they don’t need to be getting. So stop paying interest on any credit cards you might have. There are many options for 0% interest credit cards so switch over to save on that payment each month. Make sure to look at balance transfer fees before you decide and use card comparison sites like this to find the best option for you without a credit full check first.
4. Subscriptions and Free Trials – The silent money waster
We all love a good subscription, effortless commitment to a product we like… Unless we are paying for the product when we aren’t even using it of course. Go back through your subscriptions and if there are things you aren’t using, cancel them! It could be small like a video or music player, or bigger like club or gym membership. You can always re-subscribe later if you change your mind. Don’t get caught out by a free trial, if you don’t intend to continue into paid subscription, set a reminder to cancel it so you don’t get charged. That money is better off in your savings.
5. Commit to a budget – Goal setting for savings
Setting yourself a monthly budget will make you more aware of your outgoings. Knowing you have a target could help you question every purchase you make to help you reach your goals – Do I really need to spend £2.20 on coffee this morning? Maybe not. That’s £2.20 saved towards your goals. Your savings goal does not necessarily need to be big, but it needs to be realistic. Here are some tips to help get you started with your budget.
Remember, if you are aware of your outgoings, you can make changes to what you spend. Question every purchase! If you don’t need to spend it, don’t!
If you are looking to kickstart your savings, you could join a First Step Circle to help you put away £25, £50 or £100 each month. Getting into the habit is the best way to master your personal finances. Find out more – www.joinstepladder.com/our-circles
Michaela is the Head of Communications at StepLadder and is passionate about helping people be at their best!