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Thinking of cutting monthly expenses? Here’s where to start

Thinking of cutting monthly expenses? Here’s where to start
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If you’re thinking of cutting monthly expenses, the easiest way to start is by creating a budget and keeping track of where your money goes. If you see that some areas of your monthly spend are costing you more than you can afford, you can then start making adjustments that better fit your budget.

But whether you save small or save big, every little cut you make will help. We have some ideas to help you get started with cutting your monthly expenses.

Food

One of the easiest ways to cut monthly expenses is to watch your grocery shopping. Making and sticking to a shopping list is a great first step, according to the Money Advice Service. Take some time to go through your fridge before you make the list. If anything is past its use by date or unfinished, buy a smaller size next time so you don’t waste food.

If you don’t regularly cook and pack your lunch for work, it might also be time to start. Either take leftovers to the office or keep it simple and pack a sandwich or some fruit. Even if you only skip that £10 you spend on lunch out with colleagues two or three times a week, that’s £80-120 you’ll save every month.

The same goes for eating out or ordering takeways on a regular basis. While this can be convenient and a huge time-saver for a family, it’s also a big expense. An easy way of cutting monthly expenses is to cook in large batches and freeze for later. Or find a few staple meals you can make in 30 minutes or less for when you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen.

Utilities

One of the best things you can do to save money on utilities is to see if you can switch energy suppliers. Cutting monthly expenses in this area alone can often save you hundreds of pounds on your bills. You can use price comparison websites to compare energy tariffs and research supplier deals.

Smaller changes can also add up over time. For example, switching to LED light bulbs and unplugging all unused electrical devices can easily save you £40-60 a year on your electricity bill. You can also use timers to turn lights on and off or install a programmable thermostat. These can be controlled through an app to adjust the temperature when you’re not home or set to start cooling or heating the house an hour before you arrive.

If you haven’t air sealed your home to prevent drafts, that’s something else you could do. Loss of warm air through an old window can significantly increase your heating bills. The government offers several grants and initiatives to help pay for home improvements that can make your home more energy-efficient. For more information about the grants available, visit the Ofgem website.

Entertainment

Saving money by cutting monthly expenses in your entertainment budget could be easier than you think. Start by cancelling any memberships you don’t use often. Going to the gym or using the local swimming pool once a month is not worth a £50 monthly membership.

Next, look for inexpensive entertainment options. Your local town council might have a calendar of free events and local libraries might hold book clubs, author readings, and even film nights. Some towns and cities even have free walking tours. While these are often considered a “tourist’s thing,” there’s no reason why you shouldn’t try one. You might even discover a few hidden secrets about your home town.

Need something to do at home? Instead of costly entertainment subscriptions, find a useful hobby and then search for videos on YouTube to teach yourself. This could be anything from learning how to groom your own dog to baking homemade bread. Not only will you keep yourself entertained, but you’ll also pick up a new skill and – crucially –save money.

Cutting other monthly expenses

If you haven’t discovered the magic of charity shops yet, this is your chance. They are full of treasures – from designer items available for just a few pounds, to board games for a night in, to items to decorate your home or complete your kitchen. 

You can also save money by signing up for loyalty cards at shops you use regularly. Many supermarkets and retailers offer programs where you collect points that can later be exchanged for discounts, vouchers or services.

If you’re in the market to buy something, you can use price tracking websites such as Idealo or PriceRunner to find the best deals or at least shop around before making a major purchase.

Paying credit card interest? Time to switch to a 0% balance transfer card.

If you can’t afford to clear your credit card balance at the moment and are paying monthly interest, then check to see if you can shift that debt to a new credit card with a long 0% interest free balance transfer period. It could save you money.

By transferring the balance of any existing card (or cards) to a new 0% card, you could be debt-free more quickly – since your repayments will go entirely towards clearing the balance of the debt you owe, and not on interest charges.

Discover our top-rated picks for 0% balance transfer credit cards here and check your eligibility before you apply in just a few minutes – it’s free and won’t affect your credit score.

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