Ooh, I’m glad to see you back for more of my special edition posts dedicated to money!
So, we have established our SMART goal- it is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Now, the question is: What do we do to actually achieve it, and meet the finish line on time? Here are a few ways to minimise your expenses and how to track them.
Not to brag, but I just achieved my first goal which was paying off my debt. I am officially DEBT FREE and I feel damn good about it. For the first time in four years, I don’t feel this weight on my shoulder that was bringing me down and making me feel guilty every time I was about to spend money. Such a relief!
My second goal is to buy a property. My very own, and very first nest- a big one- I know but how exciting! I do like a challenge though ;). So here is what I do to keep track of my expenses and to minimise them:
It should be your ‘duh’ moment to be honest. Every person who pays their own bills should do budgeting. It gives you that control over your money and clarity whether you have enough for the upcoming month or maybe even more than you expected so you can SAVE UP. When budgeting:
–-Establish your minimum ‘in hand’ income– after tax, national insurance, pension contribution deductions. If you’re on a salary, it’s easy- just look at your payslip. If you get paid on an hourly basis, it gets tricky as it depends on the number of hours you work each week (for example if you work as a restaurant staff). It is important you start budgeting with the minimum amount as it prevents you from overspending in your weakest months. If you get paid more a certain month, the budgeting will only get better ;).
–List all your monthly expenses. Here I mean rent, gas, electricity bills, food, commute, phone bills, Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, gym membership, subscriptions, basically everything you regularly spend your money on.
-Now add to this list extra expenses like your hobby, night out, dine out, cinema, all entertainment forms that aren’t really essential.
Ok, now you clearly see your income and outcome. After you add it all up you probably have not much left, right? But we’re here to learn how to manage your money and save some of it up. Cool. No stress. After budgeting, there comes…
Sounds scary, right? Well, it will probably bring you down a little, but just at the beginning. What I mean by elimination is simply getting rid of all unnecessary expenses. People are lazy. So lazy that they sometimes block other, better options from this wide world of opportunities.
-Are you paying a bank account fee? Yes? Do you actually use any of the benefits? I was paying for my bank account over £12 per month for at least 8 years. Never used any benefits. I actually didn’t even know what’s included in this ‘fancy’ account. So, £12/month for 8 years equals £2,304. Mind fucking blown right? Just switch your account to a standard one. It’s free and your money is still safe there.
-Phone bill. Despite the fact, I would replace my phone every time a new version came out, even if the current one was working perfectly fine, I would go with a shitty deal that gives me 3GB with unlimited texts and calls for £30. On top of that £25 for the new handset. It’s fifty-fucking-five pounds per month! There were months where I paid £80 or £95 and the highest I paid was £120. WTF right? Apparently, I used so much data and that was the charge for it. Fuck. I was still too lazy to switch networks or a deal for that matter. All it takes is a little research. Call your current network, ask how much data on average you use, what was the highest you ever used, and how much exactly are you paying and what for. Ask when your contract is ending and if it’s ended… RUN Forest! RUN!
Do some research online and see what others offer. Everyone will give you unlimited texts and calls and let’s be honest- we want this precious internet allowance the most, don’t we? Following these instructions and resisting switching my perfectly fine handset to a brand new one for no reason, I got a deal with unlimited calls and text messages and 100GB for £20, mind blown AGAIN. A year after I got a better deal and when it’s over I’m sure will get a better one. Grab your phone, ask the right questions, know what you want, and remember that the advisor on the phone will insist on you staying with them. Politely say “No, thank you” and move on.
Quick calculations £55 per month for 8 years is a £5,280 (+-) if I went for at least a £20 deal I would spend £1,920… It’s £3,360 down the drain. Thank you very much. The overpriced phone bill eliminated.
-Next, you have to look through your expenses list and eliminate everything you don’t really use or you think you could sacrifice in order to save up for something meaningful. Do you use Netflix? Yes? Ok, leave it. Spotify? Fine, leave it. Or maybe check if Amazon Prime would be better for you so you could get rid of Netflix and Spotify? Pick something that works out better for you. Gym membership? If you don’t use it, just bloody cancel it. We’ve all been there where we thought we would regularly exercise if we actually spent money on it. Bullshit. Why don’t you renew the membership when you’re actually ready to go there FOR REAL. Hobby? Subscriptions? Is it something you really love or you’re trying to show off or maybe you’re no longer interested, and too lazy to cancel it? You need this realistic insight and decide what’s most important.
Once you’re done with elimination, go through your budget, and see how much money you have left now, after your essential expenses. Looks better right?
Before you put this money into a savings pot take, let’s say £30 out and keep it for when you’d like to go out with a friend or your partner or by yourself. Use this money to make yourself feel better. We have to be real, we’re only humans and we can’t live with the feeling of constantly working just to pay the bills. We deserve pleasure too, but we have to be smart about it. Instead of going every week to the cinema or a fancy dinner with your bestie, make it once a month or every two months. It’ll automatically become more meaningful and you’ll plan it better, which means you will also appreciate it more and finally enjoy it way better since you’re making it special.
If you have some money left by the time of your next paycheck- transfer it into your savings pot.
In Vol 3 of Every Penny Matters, I’m going to share with you some more suggestions and advice on how to save yourself some money up, and how to be smart when spending it on essentials.
Hugs and kisses, Selfish Jo.