Make the Most of Your Income: How to Spend Less

If you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your income, the first thing you need to do is stop wasting your money in areas where you don’t really need to spend. The key to spending less is figuring out how you spend your money, then gradually cutting back in areas where you think you might be over-spending.

We fool ourselves into thinking that we’re spending the very least we can, until we start to look at our receipts and bank statements, and realise that there are actually plenty of ways that we can cut down if only we knew how to be a little more disciplined. The following tips could help you to spend less, save more, and enjoy your money.

1. Only Pay with Cash

It’s all-too-easy to buy something when all you’re doing is holding up a piece of card, instead of actually handing over piles of real cash. What’s more, retailers take advantage of the fact that most consumers will pay up to 30% more when they’re shopping with a credit or store card instead of cold hard cash.

Instead of trusting yourself to keep your spending to a minimum, make sure that you only ever leave the house with the right amount of cash for what you need. If you spot something you absolutely have to have, the time it takes to go and retrieve your credit card will cause you to think twice about your options.

2. Keep a Record of Your Spending

Knowing exactly where your money goes each month can be useful when you’re trying to stop yourself from accidentally falling into a spending coma. A record of spending forces you to think carefully about your spending habits, and it may even give you the push you need to start budgeting more effectively.

To begin with, keep a daily spending record for about a month. This will be a written account of how much money you spend on a specific day. Once you have that record, you can begin to look for patterns in your spending where you might be able to cut down or cut back completely.

3. Plan All Your Shopping

Whether you’re going shopping for food, or you’re just hanging out with friends around the stores, it’s important to make sure that you never spend money just because you feel like it – that’s where problems with your budget start to happen. The best way to reduce your risk of frivolous spending is to use a written budget whenever you’re going to spend.

Write down exactly what you need to buy, and which bills you need to pay for at the beginning of each week or month, and tick them off as you go along. That way, when something unnecessary catches your eye, you’ll be able to refer back to your list and remind yourself that you’re working according to a strict spending schedule.

4. Cut Down your Energy Bills

Most of the money we spend on a weekly and monthly basis goes on household expenses like your mortgage, your rent, your water bills, and your energy. If you’re over-spending on your gas and electricity, then this could be draining your bank account and preventing you from saving your money effectively elsewhere. A good place to start cutting down on your energy bills is by installing a programmable thermostat.

Buying a special thermostat might just seem like another expense on top of all the costs you already have to think about, but the truth is that they can save you a lot of money in the long run, because they allow you to manage your heating properly and can even let you see how much you’re spending when you’re cranking the heat up at winter.

5. Use Coupons and Vouchers

Money-saving vouchers are just as effective today as they’ve ever been. Knowing where to check for a code before you start your online shopping, or clipping a few coupons out of a newspaper before you head to the supermarket can be a great way to save a lot of money. You might even save more by going to different stores to redeem your coupons, as this allows you to compare the costs of other items too.

You can start with a Google search online to find coupons related to a product you want to buy, or you can simply sign up for deal websites to get instant alerts on any new offers that might emerge in your area.