Looking for a way to make your monthly pay stretch further? You’re not alone. Countless people spend their evenings worrying about how much they spend on bills every month. It seems like our wages are continually staying the same, while the price of living skyrockets a little more each year.
The best thing you can do to make sure that you’re not spending too much time panicking over cash is devote yourself to a few savvy spending habits. You can seriously maximise your savings just by making a few painless changes every month.
Here are just some of the best ways to reduce your monthly bills, without giving up the things you enjoy!
1. Switch to Store Brands
If you take the time to check the ingredients on a store-brand product, to another, more popular brand, you’ll quickly discover that most of these items are the same. When you pay more for a popular brand, what you’re really doing is paying towards the expensive marketing campaigns and fancy packaging that make these products so famous in the first place.
Although switching to store brands might not seem like it’s going to save you a lot of cash at first, the truth is that you can seriously reduce your monthly bills this way. Switching to bargain labels can take between 25 and 50% off your weekly food bill.
2. Plan Your Meals, then Shop with a List
Another great way to reduce the amount of money you spend shopping each month is to plan your meals. When you know exactly what you’re going to eat each day, you can create a list of the ingredients that you’re going to need to make those dishes. That way, when you go shopping for food, you only buy the items that you need and not the little extras that you’re tempted by when you’re browsing through the aisles.
Planning your meals is also a great way to avoid spending too much on eating out and getting takeaways too. You can devote some extra time on a weekend to getting online and finding recipes that you can really look forward to. If you’re excited about what you’re going to eat, you won’t be as tempted to call for a pizza.
3. Use the Old Before you Buy New
Many of us are guilty of throwing something away before it’s totally used up just because we’re bored of it, or we want something new. Maybe you’ve thrown a half-eaten box of cereal away in the past because you were sick of eating the same thing every morning. Unfortunately, this wasteful behaviour means that you’re more likely to over-spend when you go back to the stores, and you’re really not getting the most value out of your money.
Push yourself to use everything up completely before you buy anything new. This might mean getting rid of all the food in your pantry before you go and do your next food-shop or finishing all of your makeup before you go back to the cosmetics aisle.
4. Challenge Yourself to Save More
One of the biggest reasons that it’s so hard to save cash each month is that most people find budgeting to be extremely boring. There’s not much fun in watching every penny you spend carefully and figuring out exactly how much you have to put towards your savings. However, you can make things a little more fun by challenging yourself and making saving a game. For instance, every time you go shopping at the supermarket, consider making a note of how much you spend and then challenging yourself to spend less next time.
Even if you only spend a couple of pennies less each month, you’ll find yourself concentrating more on exactly how much you spend, without having to think about it. You’ll also constantly be on the lookout for your next bargain, which is a great way to encourage frugal spending.
5. Always Look for Better Deals
If you want to make savvy spending as painless as possible, the best thing you can do is always keep your eye out for a better deal. For instance, if you’re thinking of getting a personal loan, don’t just accept the first offer you can get your hands on. Instead, go online and use a comparison site to see whether other banks or building societies could give you an improved interest rate. A little comparison shopping can go a long way.
The same rules apply when you’re keeping costs low for things like your phone, internet, television bills, and even your energy expenses. Most of the time you can save a lot of cash just by switching to a new provider.