By Melanie Wright
Many of us will have made saving money one of our New Year’s resolutions, and reducing your outgoings is a great place to start.
Here’s our guide to cutting down on unnecessary spending in 2018, so that you can end the year quids in.
Examine your outgoings
If you’re looking to reduce unnecessary spending, a good first step is to identify how much you spend on ‘non-essential’ items each month.
These are anything which it’s nice to have, but which you could live without, such as that coffee on the way to work, evenings out at the pub, and gym memberships.
Essentials are by contrast, things you absolutely have to spend money on, such as food, gas and electricity bills, your rent or mortgage, clothing, and transport.
Once you’ve gone through your bank statement and totted up how much you spend on non-essentials each month, you need to look at which of these you can might be able to cut back on. Stopping all unnecessary spending is unlikely to work long-term, so you need to think about what your priorities and which things you’re likely to miss the least.
Avoid impulse buys
Another way to cut back on unnecessary spending is to try to resist the temptation to make impulse buys. Make sure that when you go shopping you always take a list of only the things you really need to buy, and stick to it.
If you’ve seen something you love, don’t splash out there and then. Often if you give yourself a bit of time to think about whether you will really use it, and whether it’s worth spending money on, it might lose its appeal.
You can also avoid impulse buys by leaving your debit and credit cards at home when you go shopping and only taking enough cash with you to pay for the things you need.
Be a savvy shopper
Hunting out bargains when you’re shopping can significantly reduce unnecessary spending.
Always do your homework and make sure you’ve found the best possible deals before buying. The same applies to your finances. Never, for example, automatically accept the renewal quotes from your insurer without seeing if you might be offered a cheaper deal elsewhere.
Set yourself a savings goal
Cutting down on unnecessary spending is much easier if you know what you’re going to do with the savings you’ll make, so set yourself a financial goal and a date by which you want to achieve it.
For example, are you saving up a deposit to get on the property ladder, or are you hoping to tie the knot soon or start a family? If you’re saving for a particular purpose, this can make it much easier to be disciplined about your spending.
Compare gas and electricity tariffs to try to cut your bills. Simply enter your postcode to see if you could start saving.