Everyone is feeling the pinch at the moment, so saving money is essential to weathering the coming storm. As the cost of fuel, food, and electricity rises, you will need to increase your financial intelligence to overcome it. It is no longer an option to simply say that you are “no good with money” or leave your finances to be organized by someone else. Here are five tips to help you stop unnecessary spending and save money for the future.
Pay Yourself First
This may sound strange, but is the cornerstone for future prosperity. When you get your wage each month, the most common action is to pay your mortgage, the bills, any debts, the various subscriptions, and then spend the leftovers on whatever life throws at you. Before you know it, you are living month-to-month without saving anything. Make a point to move 10% of your salary to a different account as soon as you are paid. Then use the 90% to do the rest. It will be tough in the first few months but once you are in the habit, you will value that 90% more. See how much you can save by adding your 10% into the form at SavingsCalculator.org and see how much you can have over a year, two years, and beyond. Over the months that 10% will grow and act as a safety net for your future as well as give you more confidence to face the world.
Set a Budget and Stick To It
When it comes to food, get the luxury items last. I have a weekly budget for groceries and I get all the essentials before adding any wine, beer or unnecessary items. If the budget is under, I can get some wine for the week, if not then it’s a sober week for me. Whilst the food is generally consistent, some weeks need cleaning products, dishwasher tabs, or a birthday cakes and can bust the ceiling of your weekly budget. Keep in mind those elements that can be removed or changed for cheaper items. Steak can be switched for mince, chicken for turkey, and ready meals for vegetables.
Clear Out / Trade In
When going through the drawers in the living room, I came across an old Nintendo 3DS (and games) that hadn’t been played in months, if not years. My daughter also wanted a new phone. When I suggested we trade in the 3DS she promptly found two old handsets and a few DVD box sets she didn’t need anymore and she was able to upgrade to a new handset without spending a penny. So take a look through your home or garage and either trade in or sell on Facebook Marketplace/eBay to raise money for the things you need now and in the future.
Monitor Your Usage
Smart meters aren’t new, but many people hide them away ashamed of the ever-increasing figure. It’s time to embrace the data. Smart meters tell you how much energy you are using per hour and this can be a good indication as to what is draining your money at any given point. Turn off the lights in unused rooms and watch it drop, add smart sockets on timers to kill energy vampires on standby, and re-access the big drainers such as fridges in garages or constantly charging laptops. When you know your house can run on $0.05 per hour, you’ll go on a hunt every time you see it over $0.50.
Streamline Your Subscriptions
Do you really need Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and Apple TV? The last few years have seen an increase in subscription services and they have all crept into our lives and drained our bank balance. Go through your bank statements and list all your subscriptions including data storage, entertainment, magazines, and clubs. You may be shocked at your monthly figure. take a break from two or three for three months and see if your life is vastly different. Explore the various features of each subscription as Prime offers TV, books, and magazines whereas Netflix now provides games. Trim it down and see if you miss it.
Some of these might be common sense to you, but after I started doing these, I managed to control the creeping costs and improve my financial situation. I hope they work for you too.