10 ways to reduce unnecessary expenses from days without spending to never shop when you are hungry

With inflation soaring to 30-year highs and expected to reach a peak of 8 percent this spring, more people are being sucked into the cost-of-living crisis and wondering how they can tighten their belts.

Rising fuel, energy and food prices, higher taxes and rising interest rates mean that most consumers have already reduced their spending on non-essential goods, according to ONS. But how many of us have the financial knowledge to do this effectively?

It is a serious failure that money management, savings and investments are not taught in schools. We have to learn as we go along – it’s no wonder people get lost in the money labyrinth because of misconceptions and economic jargon. I grew up on a municipal estate with my mother and siblings, a world away from the rich clients I advise today as a chartered financial planner. But I was lucky that my parents worked hard to give me everything I needed and learned that money was not just for spending; more importantly, it was to save.

After leaving college at 16, I became a cashier at a major bank, which introduced me to the world of debt and how it can affect all aspects of people’s lives and relationships. I wanted to help with their money problems and after two years I became a personal banker, qualified mortgage advisor and got my dream role as a qualified financial advisor at the age of 21.

Now the times are getting tougher, I hope some of the tips from my new book The Money Edit can help those who are not only struggling with bills but also with their financial confidence. The proposals may seem obvious to some people, but that’s because there’s no secret behind any of this – just smart ways to do the basics well.

If you need to take immediate action, think about what you can give up for a while to cope with inflation increases; it is better to put some payments on hold and see if you can resume them later, than to suffer the pain when prices peak.

Do not forget to take care of your mental health if you have financial difficulties. If you can not afford your daily life, you should seek emergency financial help; Charities such as Step Change and Turn 2 Us can offer help or guidance. But hopefully it will not, of course – especially if you can follow some of these tips.

Ten tips to reduce your unnecessary expenses

1. How to track what you spend

If you are not sure where your money is going, you can spend hundreds of pounds a month without even realizing it. If you track your expenses, you are more likely to consider buying more carefully. Doing this for at least three months is usually the first step to effective budgeting as it indicates what you need to reduce, but it is good to continue in the long run. Write everything down in a notebook, create a spreadsheet or use an app – try Emma, ​​Monzo or Money Dashboard – to increase your awareness and attention to spending.

2. Make a budget that works

Living to a budget limit is not fun but it is a great way to start controlling your spending. If you do not want to take into account every pound and penny, use a simplified approach like the 50-30-20 rule: keep 50 percent of your income for necessities, 30 can go on fun things and set aside 20 for savings. If you are really struggling, you have to give every pound a job and not even let £ 1 escape. Make a detailed budget indicating how much you will spend and save. By allocating a budget for your pleasant expenses, you are more likely to avoid over-spending.

The best ways to avoid credit cards

Credit cards can give you false hopes, leading you to believe that you have enough money to spend, even when you do not have it. Do not get rid of your cards completely, as they can help you develop and maintain a good credit history, and with large purchases, they can facilitate your cash flow – as long as you pay off the balance immediately, before you are charged interest. But to avoid temptation, make your credit cards inconvenient to access. Remove them from your purse or wallet and store them at home. Also, avoid saving their information on websites so that you can not unknowingly spend. Go to settings on your phone or computer and delete all your payment history.

4. Install a 48-hour purchase rule

Force yourself to linger for two days before buying things. It helps you make sure you really need what you are buying and will not regret it, plus you can use that time to ensure you get the best price for your money. Waiting 48 hours should be the least; the more you spend, the longer you should wait. How about two days for goods under £ 100; five days for anything up to £ 500, and a week for something more expensive?

5. Have days without spending

A few days each month, aim to not spend on anything other than absolute necessities, such as food or basic necessities – or if you are really engaged, have a day without spending every week. You can also challenge yourself to see how many days you do not have to spend each month or how long you can keep them up – compete with your partner or friend to see who can save the most. They not only save money but can help you adapt your mindset in the long run, so that you do not just buy new things all the time.

Make better use of offers

There are some things you need to buy; the trick is to reduce spending while doing so. Be more active when it comes to looking for first-time purchase offers on websites, delaying large purchases until the sale is up and running, and be more flexible in what you buy to get the most out of what is discounted in your supermarket that day.

Unsubscribe from tempting emails

Signing up for email offers from your favorite store may seem smart, especially if you get discounts, but they make you want to buy things you would not have seen otherwise. Avoid temptations.

8. Always shop with a list

To avoid impulse buying, make a list of things you need to buy – and stick to it. A shopping list is common when you go to the supermarket, but it is even more important when you shop online and encounter targeted ads. Even if you buy a new jacket for work, write it down and do not let yourself be influenced by other things you see.

9. Avoid shopping when you are hungry

You are probably aware that shopping in the supermarket on an empty stomach attracts you to impulse goods. Well, a similar thing is happening online. Researchers found that a department store retailer who was hungry spent up to 60 percent more on non-food products than shoppers who did not starve.

10. Control emotional spending

It’s easy to buy something you do not need or even want when you are stressed, bored or unhappy. But we also spend a lot when we are happy: what did you buy yourself last time you were promoted, passed a test or reached a milestone age? There is nothing wrong with well-deserved treats, as long as you can afford them. While it is probably unrealistic to avoid emotional spending indefinitely, avoid it whenever possible.

“The Money Edit: Your no blame, no shame guide to take control of your money” by Makala Green is out now (£ 16.99, Yellow Kite)

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