The starting point of any financial transformation is to examine your current expenditures and, once you understand these, to find ways to make your current spending more efficient.
The biggest immediate savings will always come from adjustments, both large and small, to your spending habits.
Some of these adjustments are simple (stop buying take-away coffee), and others are more complicated (completely change the way you do your grocery shopping).
If you take one thing from the list below and implement it every week, over time, your finances will improve dramatically.
Rather than suggest tired clichés, I’ll go in-depth on each, explaining why it works, what the likely impact is, how to go about implementing it in your life, and how to optimize it going forward so the strategy or trick doesn’t take too much time.
You should bookmark this page (you can do that by pinning the image to the right), as I will be updating it often as the strategies improve and I add new concepts, ideas and tricks to the collection.
The first thing to do is to build a budget. Spending less starts with knowing how much you’re spending in the first place.
Building and following a budget is no small exercise, and if you’re going to take it seriously, then my humble suggestion is that you sign up for my free email course on budgeting that takes you through the basics.
There’s no magical wand you can wave at your rent or mortgage costs that will reduce them, but there are occasions during your life when these very significant contracts need to be renegotiated. It’s worth being prepared, because even the smallest saving in this area adds up over time.
Electricity, gas, water, internet – together these bills represent a significant permanant monthly drain. They’re mostly essentials and we can’t live without them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be efficient about it. These companies abuse your loyalty and save their best deals for new customers, so go be a new customer! There are lots of opportunities to reduce these costs, but you’ll need to be organized and prepared to make the most of them.
The things you buy regularly that you should either plan or be very careful of. The biggest and most obvious of these is…
Your Grocery Bill
The average family in the UK spends between 9% and 14% of their income on groceries. That’s a big number. If you can drop to the bottom of that range, or get better than the average and drop below it, you can save a ton of money. It takes discipline, a solid methodology and an understanding of the tricks supermarkets play on us to get there. Here is some initial reading on the subject. I’m building a broader set of advice on exactly how to plan your meals and your shopping to optimize this cost.
The easiest way to reduce what you spend in these categories is to simply cut them out of your life, or to cut down on them dramatically. That said, there’s a time and a place for luxuries and if we’re reasonable about how we reward ourselves, this category has it’s place among our monthly expenditures. Read on to see how to optimize in this area of your life.
While it’s clear that eating out less can save money, you should also be making sure you get the most out of a night out, for the least cost possible. There are lots of tricks you can use to ensure you get a good deal at the restaurant – this article will remind you how to do that.
If you love to travel (and I do), then you know how fast the associated costs can spiral out of control. Take stock of the tricks and strategies below to ensure you’ve optimized your travel spending.
This may sound crazy, but if you have a lot of luggage, then mailing one or two very large bags ahead of your trip can save you a ton of money while also removing a lot of the frustration that comes from managing large bags in travel hubs. Here’s the lowdown on how to use this trick to optimize your vacation.
You should never pay a car rental company to cover the insurance excess
When you rent a car, if there’s an accident, theft or vandalism, their insurance only covers you after the first £500 to £4000 of damage, depending on the company. They often offer to “buy back” this risk at a very high price. You can buy this insurance service separately for a fraction of the cost, if you’re not covered already through your credit card.