20 Ways to Cut Your Monthly Costs: Part 2

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Following part 1 I hope you have given the free tea/coffee facilities at work a try and made plans to start saving on your utilities and fuel consumption.

If the first 10 weren’t enough, here we go with 10 more ways to cut your monthly costs.

Give the smartphone upgrade a miss

Smartphone

Do you need that upgrade? Is your phone still working? If the answer to the latter is yes, the answer to the former is no! There are many rolling, sim- only contracts offering decent data, minutes and texts (do people still use text????). There is no need to keep up with the Jones’ (or whoever else has the latest smartphone).

When my last contract expired, I kept the phone and changed the tariff to a rolling, sim-only deal with UNLIMITED data, minutes and texts for a delightful £15 per month. At last glance I saw some tariffs for the Samsung S6 and IPhone 6S in the £40-60 per month range!

Reduce interest payments on credit cards

credit cards

With 0% purchases and balance transfer cards available – could you reduce your monthly interest charges? Find out how to reduce credit card interest.

The car – buy used and buy cash where possible

New Car

The car – the biggest cost we incur after our homes. They are depreciating assets (in short, they go down in value). This is especially true of new cars with a 15 – 40% fall in value in the first year. So, if you spent £10,000 that’s £1,500-£4,000 gone just like that! Add car finance into the equation and the loss is even greater as there is often interest on the original ticket price. If possible buy a car with cash rather than finance to avoid this – you will also benefit from the freedom of having no monthly finance payments.

The rate at which a car’s value declines gets slower as it gets older, so it may be better value to buy used rather than new. Check out the AA’s Car Buyer Guide for further tips.

Cut that smoking habit

No smoking

Smoking is a very expensive habit. A pack of 20 cigarettes can cost near enough £10, the bulk of the cost being tax duty. If you have a 10 a day habit, that’s equal to £5 a day or £1,825 per year. Aside from the monetary benefits of cutting down or quitting the health benefits are enormous.

Stop doing the lottery

Lotto

If you want the odd flutter fair enough but don’t be one of those people that has an automatic payment set up for their lottery ticket. The odds of winning are approximately 1 in 45 million (up from 1 in 14 million) following the increase in the number of balls from 49 to 59. The odds of being struck by lightning are greater (1 in 3 million in the UK). I know that feeling where you truly believe it’s your night but 44,999,999 times out of 45 million it isn’t.

Get rid of the bank account with benefits you don’t use

BANK ACCOUNT

Photo Credit: Mark Moz

Now I’m not the biggest fan of paying the bank a monthly fee to hold my money (from which they stand to gain). However, if this includes services I need at a similar or cheaper price, it makes sense.

Check the offering with your account to make sure you use the benefits. For example, breakdown cover is not a huge benefit if you don’t have a vehicle. If you find you are not using the benefits you may want to revert to a free account or look for one with benefits you’ll use.

Say no to 4 years interest free credit furniture deals

FURNITURE

This point is all about keeping your monthly commitments as low as possible. The more on-going commitments you have the greater your minimum monthly costs and the less you can put towards pursuing your goals each month. It may mean waiting a little longer for the item, but once you have it you won’t have outstanding finance to think about. It’s also worth noting that your circumstances could change within that period. If you find yourself missing a payment, interest will be charged!

Cancel that unused Gym membership

GYM

I need to travel as little as possible when it comes to working out, otherwise I won’t do it. With so many fitness channels on YouTube is that gym membership still needed? Ultimately this is a personal choice, but if you pay for it MAKE SURE that you go! Stats say almost 50% of people sign up only to stop going without cancelling their membership – DON’T BE A STATISTIC!

Eliminate food waste

FOOD WASTE

The biggest culprit for food waste is fresh fruit and veg.  Making a list before shopping will help avoid buying items you already have at home. Having an idea of what you are going to eat that particular week will also help, so plan ahead.

Stop paying delivery fees for online shopping

Online-shop

With most retailers offering free delivery or collection this is an easy saving to make. If delivery is not free, arrange to collect in store. Plan ahead to make the most of free delivery options, which often have a longer time-frame.

My Weaknesses

Now we all have weaknesses, here are some of the things that I spend my money on that don’t directly increase the net worth (though they make me feel good so that has to count for something):

Music – I stream a lot (for free), however if I think your stuff is amazing I will still buy the album (call me old school).

Hair – I do what I can at home; deep conditioning, straightening, styling, etc. However when it comes to cutting or trimming my hair I need a professional to do that! I did a DIY trim once – it wasn’t pretty.

Manicure & Pedicure – I’m convinced the DIY job is not as good (or as quick) as the professional. So I’ll happily pay for this as the benefit of time saved outweighs the cost.

Holidays – I need at least one per year. I wouldn’t say I go lavishly over the top on holidays and it definitely helps that I have family in international locations. As much as this doesn’t add to the net worth it’s definitely part of living a balanced life – we work hard all year, so definitely need time to rest and recuperate.

Books – now this may sound like a strange one particularly if you value continuous learning like I do. Nonetheless, true thriftsters would argue that you could always borrow the book from the library. I’m not sure about your local library but mine seems to have replaced the books with computers so I find the range available isn’t what it was. Also I just like to have my own personal copies, available to me whenever I want them.

So there you have it, we all waste money to some degree. The key is that we don’t waste it to the detriment of our hopes, dreams and aspirations. If you are spending in a way that is jeopardising your financial future it’s not to late to do something about it. Start taking control.

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