Many of us would like to reduce the amount that we spend. This could perhaps be so that we do not have to borrow money, so that it is easier to make ends meet or because we would like to have some money left over to save. However, it can sometimes seem like a really difficult task. There are things that you can do which might help though.
Write down what you buy
It can be a really good exercise to note down everything that you buy. This means every single thing form the charge on your overdraft and your insurance premiums to your children’s pocket money and chocolate bars form the vending machine at work. By noting down every single thing that we buy and how much it costs it can be very helpful. It is hard t imagine exactly how much we are spending and what on, but once you note it down it can be really revealing in several ways. Firstly, we might be buying certain things a lot more often than we realise We might be buying things that we do not even really need or want. We might be paying a lot more for certain things than we imagined.
It can be hard to do this as you might be afraid that it will make you feel like you have to stop buying your favourite things. This is not the point of the exercise though. You will not have to cut back on everything, it is just a case if identifying what you are buying. You may find that there are certain things which jump out at you and you know that they are not really worth buying, but you will also see things that you definitely want to keep buying. Even if you have no immediate thoughts, you still need to make sure that are aware of what the status is with your spending.
It can be a really good idea to look at how much you are paying for things and seeing whether you will be able to reduce that at all. There will be some items that you will be paying more for than necessary and you should take a look at the different places you can get it and compare the prices. You might find that you can make a significant saving on something like insurance or utilities if you change your provider and you will hardly notice any difference. Some items you may notice, such as if you switch your favourite brand of coffee to a cheaper one. However, you may not necessarily find that the cheaper one is not as nice. It is often assumed that ‘you get what you pay for’ but often you are just paying for the brand name and you wont necessarily get a better service. It is worth taking a closer look at what you buy and what alternatives there are so that you can work out whether you are getting really good value for money.
Stop buying things you do not need
We very often buy things that we do not really need. It can be fun to treat ourselves but we will spend more money this way. It is therefore a good idea to think about whether you really want and need to spend all of the money that you do. Going without a few things can help you to spend less and you may not even really notice that much. It all depends on what you choose to go without. If you refer back to the list that you have made, then you will be able to prioritise your spending. Think about which items you really need to buy and then see whether you have enough money for those. If you do not then you will need to think about whether you can get them cheaper or earn more money to cover them. If you can cover those, then look at what you have left over money wise and whether you can afford all of the other things that you like to buy. If you cannot then you should decide which items you would like to pay for and which you can go without. It may just mean that you have to buy some things less often or buy less of them. It is a good idea to think about what you are willing to reduce and what you really want and that should help you to choose.
It may not sound that easy, but once you start, then it gets easier and easier. If you also make sure that you spend some time reminding yourself of why you are doing it, this should help. You will be more motivated and more likely to be happy to cut back a bit.