Benjamin Franklin famously said “beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship”, and it’s true that failing to keep track of your expenditure can see your funds dwindle swiftly.
Calculating your spending and aiming to save money is a tricky process, but it’s ultimately one that pretty much everyone can benefit from. We all have little things here and there that we regularly spend money on without really questioning it, and largely this is just a product of our society. However, it needn’t be this way. There’s a wealth of information out there that can help you trim away empty spending, and much of this information is simply a change of thought process.
To get you started on the road to more effective money management, here’s a selection of seven money-saving mantras from figures across the blogosphere:
1. Payday is not an excuse to spend!
When payday rolls around it can be a huge relief, particularly if you’ve spent the last few days feeling the pinch and daydreaming of what you can treat yourself to. This can be an unhealthy thought pattern, however, as it can create a habit of spending money as soon as you get it, instead of devising a budget
2. If you have to have it, be savvy
Do yourself – and your pocket – a favour and shop around before making a purchase. Emma from Mum’s Savvy Savings has this top tip: “you’d be surprised at the savings you can get if you spread your shopping out between stores (both physical and online)! This is especially useful with larger purchases.”
3. Don’t be blinded by proportion
It can be easy to place lesser benefit on small savings as the total price of a product rises. For example, you might be happy to pay £5 for your favourite bottle of wine but might hesitate if it was £10. However, when faced with replacing a television, it might be that you wouldn’t think twice about paying £270 instead of £265. The saving is £5 in both cases, but the total cost’s size compared to the saving in the case of the television can make it seem like less of a saving and therefore less worthwhile – but it isn’t
4. Avoid borrowing…
You might find yourself in a situation where borrowing seems like the quickest and easiest solution. It might be quick and it might be easy, but only on a short-term basis. The long term is a much different case, as it’s here that you’ll be making up for the convenience of quick and easy money. Fat Dad in Leeds offers his advice: “it can be tempting to borrow money, but it’s vital that you think of the long-term implications and ensure the debt is sustainable. Payday loans and high interest rates can easily have the adverse effect of making your financial situation worse, rather than offering a helping hand.
5. …Unless it’s to avoid buying
Sometimes a practical purchase might seem like a good idea and a sound long-term investment. Items such as power tools are good examples of purchases that appear to fulfil an immediate and a long-term need. However, these items often cost a significant amount and may be used only a handful of times.
A Thrifty Mum’s tip is “when you’re tempted by a new utensil or piece of furniture, why not try to upcycle something you already have and save the money instead?”
Fat Dad in Leeds’ solution is to “ask yourself how many times you’re realistically likely to use it and if it could be borrowed easily from a friend, family member or neighbour – it could save you a sizeable wedge!”
6. Enter into the frugal mind set
There are many ways you can pinch a few pennies in your everyday life without compromising too much on your lifestyle – most simply require a little bit of forethought and some extra effort. Making your own lunch instead of buying it can save you a surprising amount of money and comes with the added bonus of giving you the option of eating exactly what you like. Shaving even a pound a day off the price of lunch can save you about £250 a year!
Similarly, buying supermarket own brand products instead of name brands can save you a pretty penny. Many people find the difference undetectable or even find that they prefer the supermarket range. Cleaning products are another area where you can make a significant saving as the products do the same job.
7.Set yourself a budget
Budgets are the most effective way of keeping track of your money and identifying areas where savings can be made. They work best when you implement them on varied scales. Start with your top-level budget – this is your salary minus all the regular payments you know you need to make, such as bills or direct debits. This will highlight the amount of money you have left to buy your food and for allowances such as socialising.
From this you can then devise smaller budgets for your shopping excursions, allowing you to stick within your calculated limits. This can help you avoid eating into money set aside for savings or socialising and prevent you feeling the squeeze towards the end of the month.
Try doing the weekly shop with only cash, and force yourself to stick to the amount you’ve brought with you. This will help you get into the mind frame of only having a finite amount of money and will make you all the more aware of the individual prices you put into the basket that soon add up.
Overall, it shows that even a slight change in your thought processes and habits can make you a saving, and this can allow you to stretch your money even further. Why not start small and try one tip a month, making a note of any savings and insights you gain – you might be surprised at just how much of a difference you can make.