Though the economy today isn’t nearly as bad as it was a few years ago, many of us still face serious issues with the way we spend and save money. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work, it can be challenging to find the cash required to make ends meet every month, pay for important bills and still have a little extra on the side. Fortunately, if you can discover even a few simple ways to cut your living expenses, then you’ll leave yourself with more cash that you can put towards things like savings, or even just moments of fun with your family. Here are some quick ways to reduce your living expenses, without taking all the fun out of life.
1. Consider your Living Situation
If you’re constantly struggling with things like rent or mortgage payments, then it might be a good idea to think about how you can bring your housing costs down. In some cases, you might be able to re-mortgage your house and take your loan out over a longer term, so you spend less overall. Alternatively, if adjusting your mortgage payments isn’t an option, you might decide that it’s a good idea to downsize.
Moving into a slightly smaller house or searching for a home that’s going to require less of a significant chunk of your budget each month can take the pressure off.
2. Compare Everything
It’s surprising how many people waste money on a monthly basis because they simply assume that the deal they have is the best deal that they can get. For instance, when’s the last time you checked on your car insurance to see if you could get a better offer from another provider? Do you know whether your television and broadband expenses are really as low as they could be?
One particularly important thing to compare that most people forget about is your loans. Before you take out a loan with a bank or building society, check to make sure that you’re getting the best interest rate possible. This will reduce your monthly expenses significantly.
3. Plan Your Meals
Most people don’t realise how something as simple as planning their meals each week can save them hundreds of pounds per year. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s incredibly easy to dial out and order in when you run out of time to cook a good meal. However, eating out too often isn’t just bad for your wallet, it can be terrible for your waistline too.
By planning your meals in advance, you reduce the chances that you’ll be tempted to order in. You can even make some of your meals ahead of time and place them in the freezer, so all you need to do is heat them up when you’re ready for dinner.
4. Reconsider Every Purchase
One of the main reasons that people end up over-spending on living costs each month is they simply buy on impulse. While it’s tempting to go to the supermarket and throw anything into your basket that you feel like, at the time, this generally means that you end up wasting money on products that you don’t really need, or over-spending on items that you could have found for a cheaper price elsewhere. Make sure that you’re using your money “actively” rather than passively. Whenever you decide to buy something, ask yourself whether you could potentially get it for a cheaper price somewhere else and whether you genuinely need to buy it in the first place.
Although the extra work you’ll put into your purchasing experiences may seem time-consuming at first, you’ll soon get into the habit, and you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
5. Pay in Cash
There are some things in your list of living expenses that you’ll struggle to pay for in cash – like your rent, mortgage costs, and utility bills. However, for everything else, it’s a good idea to avoid using your credit card or debit card whenever you can. In today’s digital economy it’s becoming increasingly easy to spend money and forget all about it. Paying in cash means that you need to think carefully about the way that you’re using your money.
A good way to avoid issues like impulse spending is to extract just the amount of money you need for the week in one go, and nothing else. Pace your spending out throughout the week and track the way you use your money. This way, you’ll be less likely to buy something just because it’s there.