Cutting costs: Easy ways to reduce your spend

Written by Chelsea Potter on 6 September 2016

Cutting costs is difficult because while we all want to reduce our spend and save money, we don’t necessarily want to give up on all hopes of a social life and live life on rations. Today’s blog post looks at simple ways you can make cutbacks and save money without having to dramatically change your lifestyle.  

  • Start by looking through your bank statements and finding out where your income goes. You’d be surprised at how small payments on unnecessary things, like snacks at the petrol station, build up and actually make up a large part of your outgoings. Look for the little things and highlight areas where you can make savings. This will form the basis for your cost cutting activity – ask yourself whether these little purchases are really necessary and whether you can reduce spend here.
  • Compare costs. Comparison websites are great for highlighting ways you can save money. Whether it’s your car insurance or utility bills, compare your charges and look at whether changing suppliers could help you reduce your spend.
  • Leave your cards at home and withdraw cash in advance. Earlier this year we released our invisible money campaign which revealed that people spend more using card rather than cash. We found that when people couldn’t physically see their money they were more inclined to spend whereas if they had cash in front of them they were more careful to budget.
  • Review your bills. Have a read through your bills and check they are in order. For example have you gone over your phone bill tariff and occurred out of plan charges? If you are going over your plan, talk to your provider about increasing your plan or changing it based on your activity so you won’t accrue charges each month. Reviewing your bills also makes sure you are paying the right amount each month. A lot of people set up a direct debt for energy bills based on estimated costs but submit your meter readings and check whether the estimate meets your actual activity. If it doesn’t you may be able to reduce your spend.
  • Pre book and look for deals. If you spend a lot every month on public transport could you save money by booking in advance? Also could you save money by changing your standard ticket to a weekly pass? A simple way to save money is book activities in advance or look for discounts – a lot of places have discounts if you simply book online rather than pay on the day.
  • Cancel useless subscriptions. Many people have subscriptions and memberships for things they don’t use anymore or use that little there is no value to them. Look through your bank statements and work out whether your subscriptions are worth keeping or whether you will be better off without.
  • Shop around. Weekly shops are not cheap especially if you have a large family but shopping around might help you to cut some costs.
  • Set a budget each week for personal spend. If your bank statement shows you’ve been eating out a lot and you are finding yourself low on funds, try and set yourself a limit. Work out what you can afford to spend after you have paid your bills each month and create a spending limit based on this amount.
  • Buy in bulk. Could you save money by buying certain supplies in bulk? Have a look and see what savings you could make by bulk buying.
  • Print out coupons. There are a lot of discounts available online or in the newspaper – see if any are relevant to you and if so use them. Be careful with discounts however because sometimes they can encourage you to spend on things you don’t need – only use discounts if they apply to things you actually buy, use or need. Don’t buy things for the sake of it.
  • Meal prep. Preparing meals for lunchtimes can save you a lot of time and money. Having a packed lunch with you will help you resist the temptation to spend in the supermarket.

Filed under Living in Debt

This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.

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