People decide to adopt a more austere spending regime for various reasons: they may be trying to keep up with savings in times of economic turbulence, or they could be doing so in order to accumulate enough savings to meet certain needs. Whatever the reason, it is possible to achieve significantly reduced levels of spending for a large part of the income spectrum. The following tips should help you slash your expenses and improve your savings.
- Account for Your Expenses
If you don’t know what your spending pattern is like, begin by recording your expenses on a daily basis. You may be surprised to find out how much you spend over a period on seemingly peripheral things. You might discover, for example, that snacking between meals takes up a much greater portion of your spending than you thought. Without records, attempts at saving are almost certainly bound to fail.
- Make a List of Things That Are Absolutely Necessary.
There are things you would consider as essential, things you would really struggle to do without. Some of these things are universal- food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare; individuals also have needs that are peculiar to them. If you intend to spend less, then it would only be rational to spend more on the truly important stuff. Having a priority list of these items should help; you could allocate your monetary resource more efficiently by referring to it, whether in its written form or its internalized version.
- Create a Spending Regime for Yourself
This requires discipline and determination. Define realistic spending limits for specified time periods, and try your best to stick to them. Again, the records are important. Just saying that you “commit to spending X naira every month”, or “Y naira next week” without journaling your progress towards the aim, may not get you the result you seek. You need a budget.
Here are some practical steps you can take to reduce spending:
–Purchase Goods in Bulk: Single units are usually sold at higher prices. It is advisable to get them in bulk, especially at trade points closer to the manufacturer.
–Make Your Own Food: It’s less expensive, on the whole, to cook your own food, instead of buying it from a restaurant.
–Use Less Electricity: There’s no use leaving lights on when the sun gives you enough to go on within the day. Switch off appliances if they are not in use, and replace conventional bulbs with energy saving ones. This should help you reduce electricity bills. If your efforts do not reflect on the bill you are served at the end of the month, you can seek an explanation from the electricity distribution company in charge of power supply in your area.
–Don’t Go out Unless You Need To: Staying home more should help you save on transportation, as well as the ‘snacking’ that goes with it sometimes.
–Review Your Subscription to Internet Data Plans and TV: Some people subscribe to more than one data plan at a time but this is not always necessary. In most cases, a single, relatively inexpensive plan would do. You can equally go for less costly TV packages which may not offer a significantly different array of entertainment options from the one you have been subscribing to.
–Take Advantage of Discount Offers on Products and Services: This sort of opportunity presents itself once in a while. Have your ears to the ground and your eyes on the lookout for them.
You may need to constantly remind yourself that you are refusing to indulge in quite a few things for a good reason, and keep that reason in focus, in order to achieve your aim of cutting down on your expenses.