In the first article in this series we looked at ways to get a grip on your income. In this second article, we look at getting a handle on your expenses.
For most people, tackling the expenditure side of the equation is harder than looking at income. It’s all about choices and a bit of discipline! That’s why so many of us find it daunting.
Here are some tips on how to find a way through:
1 Write a complete list of all the areas you may spend money on throughout the year. Add in everything and allow for some one-off extras, such as the car needing new tyres.
2 Now analyse your outgoings. Ask yourself some searching questions. Is the gym good value at £50 a month if you are only doing one class? Do you need to be buying lunch every day when you are throwing out piles of unused food each week?
3 Research the costs of your utilities and insurances. Huge savings can be made by spending just a few hours on the computer or phone. Try these websites. www.gocompare.com or www.moneysupermarket.com
4 If you have mortgages or loans then the same applies. Could you reduce the cost? Check the details on the arrangements you have carefully as there may be penalties or exit costs.
5 Renegotiate regular payments to any companies where you are out of contract, such as Sky and mobile phones. It’s a very competitive market and those who push get the best deals.
6 Use voucher codes. There are several websites which collate current offers, and you will find bargains and discounts available from many high street restaurants and shops. (And if you forget your voucher, beg at the shop to be given the deal. Usually you can convince them as long as you are politely pleading!) Have a look at these sites like www.vouchercodes.co.uk. Google for vouchers, you’ll be surprised what you find.
7 Negotiate! Some shops are willing to do deals, especially some independent, local retailers who would rather sell something at a 10% discount than not at all.
8 Shop more carefully! A quick look through some recipe books and a carefully drafted grocery list will save money and reduce waste. The same goes for clothes shopping. Take a good look through your wardrobe before you go out! If it’s organised by colour you can easily see that you already have four white linen shirts …
So good luck with your new year’s resolution to get to grips with your finances. It just needs some time and some determination, but the results will be worth it.