Money. There’s never enough of it is there? Ask a cross-section of society and I’m sure the majority of them would say they could do with a little more in their bank account each month.
For anyone who has been a long-time reader of this blog, you may remember that a few years back I finally admitted I was financially in a bit of trouble and I spent 2-years working hard and going without in order to be able to clear the debts that were weighing on my shoulders.
Following that, my life took another sharp veer off-piste and I found myself having to borrow again. Add to that some unforeseen expenditure earlier this year (operation for the cat, loss of earnings for me while I recovered from my Cancer operation plus a few other bits and pieces) and I once again found myself owing a little bit of money. Don’t get me wrong, it’s NOWHERE near the amount of debt I used to have, but just the thought of owing money brings me out in metaphorical hives these days so it’s something I’m now working hard to get on top of.
I’m a big fan of a spreadsheet and I have one that is laid out for the coming 5 years. My target point in our future is for us to buy a house and get out of the rental market. Having rented for 8-years now, I’ve spent a frightening amount of money on the monthly payments which is pretty painful when I don’t have anything to show for it. My eyes are now very much on the prize and a home to call our own.
With this in mind, I sat down and went through my finances a few months back. Adding everything to the spreadsheet, I could see what I was spending on each element of my life on a monthly basis, and where I could cut back. It’s pretty surprising how easy it is to overspend on unnecessary items. However, I’ve made a few tweaks and managed to cut down my outgoings with just a few small changes.
Top Tip: Turn stressful finance tasks into a game as it makes it much less full-on, having a Money Saving Challenge rather than ‘paying off debts’ is so much more fun!
I have a few different insurances – pet insurance, house insurance, life insurance, and health insurance. I believe all of these things are necessities, and I wouldn’t be without them, but whenever they come up for their annual renewal, I always compare prices online to make sure I’m getting the best deal available to me. Loyalty is a wonderful personal trait to have, but not when it comes to service providers that increase their rates annually!
Then: £400.00 per month
Now: £200.00 per month
This is one of the big ones for me! Both Ben and I used to buy our lunch every day at work but that all came to a stop a while ago when I worked out how much it was costing us! If we both spent £5.00 per day, that worked out to be over £2000.00 per year. TWO GRAND! As soon as I worked this out, I put a stop to it and now I make us both a packed lunch every day, which is much cheaper. I also eat a lot healthier as a homemade lunch doesn’t have any of the added salt or sugar that comes in most of the meals you can buy from supermarkets etc!
I used to buy all my pet food from a high street pet store chain as I liked to buy them the best quality food. I want to ensure the best for their welfare, but having 3 animals, it was proving to be pretty pricey. I was then told about an amazing online pet food company who create food specifically tailored to your pet and deliver it to your door. Despite this more bespoke and personalised service, it works out so much cheaper but unfortunately, they only do dog food at the moment. I’m just biding my time for them to branch out into cat food too!
Mobile, TV and Broadband
Then: £153.00 per month
Now: £99.00 per month
This one is a bit of a no-brainer and it can be a bit of a pain to have to go through but as and when you get to the end of your contract for your mobile phone, broadband or television package, give your provider a call and get haggling! We spoke to both our TV provider and my mobile phone network and told them we could find cheaper deals elsewhere and they both reduced their prices in order to keep our custom. I always feel really nervous about haggling but when there are savings to be made, a few minutes of feeling awkward is definitely worth it!
I update my spreadsheet on a weekly basis, listing my income and outgoings, breaking expenditure down into categories so I can see where most of my money is going and where I can cut back. It’s definitely worth doing and has made me a lot more savvy about my spending, and having my financial plan for buying a house visible on a screen makes it seem much more manageable and a lot less scary!
Do you have any good tips for cutting back on your expenditure to save money monthly?
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