It can be tough to save money if you don’t know how to reduce your spending and you don’t have a plan in place. Once you figure out what you have to do and stick with your budget, you will be amazed at how much money it raises over time!

Four questions to help you make progress towards your financial goals:

1. Can you track your spending?

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, track your spending for at least a month.

  • The easiest way to track your spending is with a notebook you can keep with you at all times.
  • Whenever you spend some money, simply write down how much you have spent in your notebook. Take care to write down all of your purchases, a lot of people miss out on this important step.
  • Writing down your spending straight away means you don’t forget any purchases and you can see where your money has gone.
  • It might take some time to get used to it, but keeping track of how much cash you spend daily can help you plan a realistic budget. You can spot unnecessary spending and spending triggers and make decisions to change future spending. It can save you a lot of money in the long run. Trust me!

2. Can you make any cutbacks?

It’s easy to overspend on entertainment and leisure, so it helps to cut out unnecessary expenses and focus on what’s important. What can you change or get rid of?

  • Try watching films at home rather than going to the cinema. Invite your friends around and you can have dinner and a movie for a fraction of the price of cinema tickets.
  • If you want to watch a new release, share the price of a movie rental at home with your friends. You’ll get to watch the latest films and save money by not going to the cinema.
  • Consider breaking habits such as smoking. Quitting smoking is good for both your health and your wallet.

3. Can you eat out less often?

The best way to save money and eat at restaurants less often is to be mindful of the prices and consider alternate options. When you do eat out, be aware that most people spend more on food than they think… Try leaving your bank card at home and take a set amount of cash to make sure you stick to your planned budget for the night.

  • Try reducing the number of times that you eat out.
  • When you eat out, try and time your meals to coincide with happy hour deals.
  • Alternatively, cook a ‘fancy’ meal at home. It’s cheaper, healthier and it can be fun.

Are better deals available for your current services?

Are you paying full price for all of your services? Reach out to each company about finding less expensive alternatives or special offers.

  • Think about using a pre-paid phone card. Connect your phone to wi-fi when you’re at home or even in coffee shops or restaurants. Use the credit on your phone card when you’re out and about. How much time do you spend actually making calls?
  • Send messages using apps such as WhatsApp, or messenger rather than texting. This is a great, cost-effective way to stay in touch with people!
  • Is there a cheaper TV subscription plan available? Contact your TV company and have a conversation.
  • It’s a great feeling to have your favourite magazines or newspapers delivered in the mail. However, most have an online subscription option which means you can purchase them without paying for delivery. A lot of publications also have free content online.

It may take some time to start thinking more consciously about your spending habits and where to cut costs, but it’ll only help bring you closer to your financial goals. Learn how to spend less every day by looking out for opportunities.