January can be a particularly stressful time for most people when it comes to managing finances. We’re often overwhelmed by annual expenses such as “back-to-school" costs and yearly increases on our existing services or monthly premiums.
Reviewing your expenses is a useful habit to keep, and will aid you in understanding where, and how you spend your money each month. Maintaining the practice will further enable you to find new ways to save money over time.
From cutting costs to resetting your budget, below are a few strategies to reduce expenses in January and the months that follow:
Reducing your car insurance premium is a helpful way to save money each month. If you’re not travelling as much as you were before, or circumstances have rendered it necessary to save more money each month, why not speak to your insurer or broker and arrange a new premium, or switch insurer entirely?
As the value of your vehicle depreciates, reviewing your coverage is essential to ensure that you are paying for what you truly need. For example, if you happen to have access to a secondary vehicle, you may not need to contribute towards car hire on your policy each month.
Reset your budget
Budgets are important tools that we can use to manage our finances. A budget allows you to plan your expenditure to ensure that you have enough for your basic needs and any extras that you might want to spend on.
To reset your budget, start from scratch and use your previous bank statements to analyse how and where you can reduce spending (be it on entertainment or food, for example) – and improve your ability to save.
Remember to allocate funds towards your savings accounts, or set aside money to build up an emergency fund over time.
While the convenience of takeaway meals can be attractive, having them regularly can prove costly.
While you shouldn’t need to cut takeaway meals out of your budget altogether, reducing the amount that you do order-in can save you significant amounts of money (especially if you’re a family of more than two people).
Instead of ordering in, making some of the takeaway orders you’d normally eat (such as pizza) at home could be a fun experience with your family - not only saving you money but also providing some time to bond with your loved ones.
You’ll also find that you may already have most of the household staples that a pizza requires such as flour, water, cheese and tomato sauce at home; meaning that you don't need to duplicate your expenses and can buy what ingredients you need at a significantly lower price compared to purchasing a takeout meal.
When grocery shopping, it could be highly beneficial to think about which stores offer you the best deal for the items that you require. One way to review the latest specials at your local supermarket is to visit their website or app (if available). Many stores also offer rewards or saving programmes, and signing up for a loyalty scheme at stores you frequently visit can also be a worthwhile saving tool.
Further, switching to low-cost alternatives or avoiding unhealthy snack items can also be a great way to reduce your expenses while improving your diet.
Dealing with bank fees
Not all bank fees are made equal, and many banks offer different price structures or rates per their different accounts. It’s worthwhile finding out how much your bank is charging you on a monthly basis and what their offerings are.
You might also fund that another bank offers appealing benefits or lower monthly fees - and in that case, it can be beneficial to consider switching your bank accounts entirely.
For more information, read our blog on what to consider when choosing a bank account.
The above-mentioned tips on saving on expenses during January will help you start 2021 on a positive step. Remember, a great practice is to continually revisit your expenses and look through past bank statements to see where you can set aside funds to save.