Managing your monthly finances is hardly the most fun or interesting thing to have to think about – especially when everyone keeps suggesting their own tried and tested ways of saving money. This can be especially frustrating when you’ve already taken your own measures to stop your finances from leaking away.
Still, there’s no such thing as ‘saving too much’. It’s the little things that count over time: you’d be surprised how much money you can save up cumulatively by cutting out your pricey daily latte from the coffee stand outside your workplace. If you’ve already curbed spending in the big areas, it’s time to turn to the little ways in which you can save money.
Eating the right way
First thing to go (for now, at least) should be dining out. At the very least, you should curb the number of times you eat out every month. Takeaways fall into this category too. They are a crime against saving cash and one that most of us commit out of laziness more than anything else. You can save a lot of money by avoiding these expensive habits and having home-cooked foods as much as possible.
Some people try to justify eating out and getting takeaway food regularly by saying that ‘cheap’ takeout doesn’t really add that much to expenses. Yet, if you add up the amount of times you’ve had takeout food this month and tot up the costs, you’ll probably be surprised – if not shocked – at how much you’ve been spending. For the same amount of money, you’d be able to cook far more meals at home.
Your monthly budgeting sessions don’t have to involve long night-time hours while you slowly overdose on coffee. Budgeting with today’s technology enables you to stay on top of your expenditure and savings far more efficiently.
There are a host of apps that can run on your smartphone or your computer which give you real-time updates according to your spending. Some apps even link to your bank account online, giving you up-to-date statistics and graphs about how much of a surplus or a shortfall you’re in. Your phone will be able to tell if you can relax and take it easy for the month, or if you should start thinking about getting a loan out for some fast cash.
Other ways of reducing your spending
- Putting 20 to 30 per cent of your income into a savings account with a good interest rate is a good way of building up a ‘safety net’ of cash.
- Entertainment is always an area where you could make big savings. Drop your digital TV subscription and go for the cheaper streaming alternatives that are available.
- Replace all your lighting in the house with environmentally friendly LED lights, which will help you save on bills.
- If you’ve got a car and live close to your work colleagues, suggest car pooling so everyone can save a little on travel expenses.
Striking the right balance between your expenses and your savings is tough. But with enough dedication and determination, you’ll be able to enjoy living life with a surplus, as opposed to finding yourself short every month.