Everything costs money. It’s just a fact of life. If you don’t control your expenses and learn how to budget your finances, then you can suffer at the hands of this simple rule.
Keeping track of expenses, both regular and predictable, daily and sporadic, requires a certain amount of dedication. Keeping expenses down and making cuts to your own costs takes even more willpower. You won’t regret the decision to take this leap of responsibility.
Ultimately, taking control of your expenses grants you more freedom; the freedom from debt, from stress, and the freedom to make positive financial changes and make savings. Whether you are looking to reduce your credit, keep up with your loan repayments, or make savings for the future, take a look at this quick guide to learn how to control your expenses.
Before you can make any reductions to your expenses, it can help to know your current financial position. You might have a general feel for this anyway, but a proper budget can help you to do the maths, and to see the numbers for what they really are. If you do not do so already, make a record of all of your income, outgoings, and debt over the course of a month.
Some of these numbers will be entirely predictable. For example, you may make a similar income every month. You may also pay out a certain amount on your rent, mortgage, car finance, and other bills. Weigh up all of these outgoings first.
Then begin to work out other outgoings. Remember, pretty much everything costs money (without getting into a debate about love), so try to account for the little costs too. They add up. Travel costs, dinner costs, petrol, and all other costs should be considered. If you are struggling with your budgeting, we can help.
You should now have a clear idea of your financial position, and how your expenses weigh up against your income. Whatever your mission, whether it be to get out of debt quicker, or to save for a holiday, a huge part of taking control of your expenses, is making reductions in every way that you can. You don’t have to be too severe with yourself, and you can still allow yourself some leisure (within your means), but you will find that there is a lot you can cut back on.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- The Little Things In Life: Everyone loves the little things in life, but unfortunately they are often the costs that we don’t account for, and that add up to a small fortune over the course of a month. Things like spending $3 per latte, and having several per day. Do you really need to eat out at lunch every day, or could you take some food into work? Can you walk to the shop, or do you want to pay the price of petrol (and health) to drive there? Cut back on the little things to make big savings.
- The Bad Habits: Among the little things in life, but deserving of a category of their own, are your bad habits. For a lot of people the indulgence is alcohol, and perhaps cigarettes, but we are not here to judge your vices… just to tell you that they tend to cost a lot. A great way to control your savings, while also improving your health and lifestyle, is to reduce the amount that you spend on your bad habits. Dig deep and get some willpower!
- Utilities: You might think that utility bills are a pretty predictable expense that you won’t be able to make many reductions on, but this is simply not the case. Utility bills are more expensive than ever, and simple changes can reduce costs.
A thermostat can ensure a more accurate temperature in your home’s heating and cooling, and reduce overuse of systems. Turning lights off when you are not in the room can save electricity, as can turning off the TV every now and then. Telephone and mobile bills are also a huge expense for some people who love a good natter. If you continually go over your minutes, and subsequently pay through the roof for it, then consider renegotiating your contract to cover it, or use the phone less.
- Entertainments & Treats: It’s crunch time. How much do you really want to reduce your expenses? How much do you want to get out of debt, or how much do you really want that holiday? You might have to consider sacrificing those treats of your lifestyle that cost a lot of money, such as entertainment and nights out on the town.
- Manage Credit & Debt: If you are in debt, and have interest charges and repayments to think about, then an effective approach to debt management and debt repayment can help you to control your expenses. Use the money that you have saved making reductions to your costs to pay back your debts faster, thus giving you more control.
It takes hard work, smart budgeting, and consistent willpower to control your expenses, but it is possible, and there is nearly always room for improvement. If you need help with financial management, budgeting, or debt problems, contact us today.