Often, budgeting articles and financial professionals will tell you that if you want to reach your savings goals as quickly as possible, then the first thing you’ll need to do is cut down on all the “little luxuries” in your life that you can do without. While it’s true that you can certainly save more by eliminating the things that you “want” from your spending habits, you’ll find that your motivation starts to suffer.
Ultimately, even the best budgeting strategy won’t last long if you’re dreading the thought of counting every penny. You need to feel motivated in the pursuit of your financial goals, and that means giving yourself some wiggle room. Here’s how you can trim your budget, without getting rid of the things you love.
1. Transform Your Food Spending
Most people spend way too much on food each month, and they don’t realise it. How often have you thrown away ingredients in your cupboards or fridge that you never had the chance to lose? How much of your meals end up in the bin because you’re making more than you can reasonably eat? We buy food without really knowing what we need – and that’s a severe problem.
To start instantly cutting down on your supermarket bill, write a list of the items you need for each meal in the week before you go shopping, and scribble off anything that you already have at home. Then go shopping only for the things on that list. You’ll find that you waste a lot less, and you’re less likely to order in because you know what you’re cooking each night.
2. Go Green and Reduce Your Energy Spend
Aside from food expenses, another major bill that’s sure to leave you feeling frustrated each month is the one that you pay for your gas and electricity. Even if you’re incredible cautious with the power you use, it pays to audit your energy practices. Make sure that everyone in your house is turning appliances off when they’re not using them, and that you’re wearing jumpers before you use the thermostat.
If you’re as green as possible with your day-to-day behaviour, then you might need to look at finding a better deal from another energy provider. There are plenty of options available online today. All you need to do is go and compare what’s available in your area.
3. Stop Collecting Subscriptions
Subscriptions have become an increasingly common part of our lives today. The chances are that you have an account for your music streaming service, your video streaming service, and countless other things too, like audiobooks, loot boxes, and even gym memberships. Spend some time going through your bank statements and finding out just how many subscriptions you’re paying for.
Although it might be difficult to cut down on your subscriptions at first, it’s worth asking yourself what you can easily live without. For instance, if you’re just telling yourself that you’re going to go to the gym each month, but you’re not doing it, then now’s the time to give up your membership once and for all.
4. Choose Between Cash or Credit
Some people swear that the best way to cut down on your monthly spending habits each month, is to get rid of your credit cards or consolidate any loans you might have, so you can watch every penny that you spend. While that works for some people, others find that it’s easier to use a credit card, because they can save more money with things like cash-back benefits in the long-term. Additionally, using a credit card can also help you to improve your credit score.
There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy here, but it’s worth picking one or the other to stick to. Having too many options on how you can spend money can make it easier to lose track of where your cash goes.
5. Compare Every Purchase
Finally, get into the habit of making sure that you get the best deal on everything you buy. Rather than telling yourself you can’t have everything that you want, pick a few things that you’re allowed to buy each month, and make sure that you’re paying the lowest possible price for them. You can look for discount codes online, shop around to see if you can find any sales, and more.
There even apps that you can download straight to your web browser today that let you know whether there are any deals or cash back available on the item that you’re about to purchase. It turns out that being frugal doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems.