June 8, 2020

Top Tips To Improve Your Spending Habits

For most, money is a luxury not to be taken for granted. With bills to pay every month, it would be easier to have more disposable money to ease financial pressures.

In general, this is easier said than done. A lot of the smaller things add up and you question why you are left with no money at the end of each month. There are many ways that you can reduce your spending that you may not have thought about.

Below, we are providing you with some important ways that you can help to curb your spending habits. Following at least one of the below tips for at least thirty days should help with your disposable cash at the end of the month.

Use cash

Whilst this might not work for everyone if you feel you do not have a good grip on your spending, going back to basics with cash might help you out.

Here, you can control your spending with greater ease. Taking out a precise amount of money at the start of the week and using that for spending will allow you to budget with much greater control.

Just be sure not to take out too much cash and ‘burn’ this at the end of each week or month because you have not been spending. Re-evaluate and budget how much you need to curb unnecessary spending.

Download software

Both desktop and mobile software and applications are out there to help you budget more efficiently. You can set aside a certain amount of money to be assigned to each area, calculating how much you should be spending each month.

With spending alerts and in-depth services such as investment advice, it appears a no brainer that if you are struggling to manage your finances properly, a sophisticated app to track spending will help you.

Focus on your budget

As touched on previously, budgeting for the month is a great way to manage your spending. Without budgeting for everything, including the minor expenses, you do not have a truly accurate idea of your expenses.

This is a great opportunity to critically review your current expenses. If you are not using a membership at the gym or online service, cut it now. Even though you may use it in the future, it is best to cut it now and start it up again when you are fully committed.

Try a ‘fiscal fast’

To clarify what we mean by this, a fiscal fast is where, for an entire month, you only spend money on what you need to survive. Everything else is off the cards for an entire month.

Your only core expenses should be rents or mortgages, debt repayments, essential food, medicines, and other ongoing essential expenses (utilities, fuel, etc.).

Not only does this relieve a lot of money in the short term, but you will gauge what expenses you could live without happiness, and what you really missed and will continue to pay for. You can even set challenges here with a significant other, family, and friends to see who can cut the most. Most do better when the competition is involved!

Change your lifestyle and save

Again, somewhat linked to the previous advice, spending problems tend to arise as a reason of living beyond your means. Following a few of the above points will help you here, you begin to realize that the amount you spend on coffee or food out is quite substantial.

This extends to larger items, such as the latest technology or newer cars. Ultimately, you must be tough with yourself here and make sure you are living within your current salary.

You should be spending, ideally, about 75 percent of your salary, with the remaining 25 percent being used for savings towards something substantial such as a house or simply a rainy-day fund. As with everyone, things come up, and this can be costly. If you can save enough to cover an emergency hospital visit or job loss, you will save considerable money overpaying on debt. To achieve this, changing your lifestyle and saving money will prevent this.

Try to avoid using credit

This is quite a blanket term admittedly, sometimes expenses will need to be put on credit and can provide you with additional security when booking things like a holiday.

However, many people think ‘I will put it on credit now and sort it later’. This mindset has led many into having unplanned debt and, in extreme circumstances, individuals pay thousands back in interest alone before the debt is cleared.

To stop overspending, prioritize putting payments on a current account, or as previously mentioned, in cash. Forget about loans and high-interest credit, save now and, if you need to use a card, prioritize paying it off by the end of each month.

Pay off more than the minimum

On the topic of credit cards, a great tip is to try and clear the debt as fast as possible, not just paying the minimum each month.

Many fall into the trap of paying off the minimum each month, even when they are able to pay off more. We previously mentioned that it is advised to have a savings pot to draw from in times of emergency but paying off the existing debt that is accruing interest should be the priority.

Make a target to pay off the debt by a certain date as opposed to when it eventually gets paid off. You will save a lot of money by prioritizing the debt repayment over funneling your money elsewhere.

Identify profitable investments

This point should come into your financial plans after you have cleared the existing debt and saved some money.

With the level of inflation surpassing that of interest rates, you may be losing money in real terms if you are to save excessive money in a savings account. Identifying secure but profitable investments, think property, for example, is a great way to grow your money and secure long term financial health.

About the author 

Imran Uddin

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