Money's too tight to mention
The month after the Christmas splurge is always hard. But come pay day, we'll feel a bit richer again and our spending will likely resume. If by the end of every month you find yourself scavenging under the sofa for the price of a latte, it might be time to change.
How do I spend less?
The first trick to controlling your spending is to analyse your bank statements, says Emer Farrell of Instagram account, @Onefootinthesave. "Ask yourself, was that a 'need', like a bill or food shopping, or was it a 'want', like an impulse buy. Really look at where your money is going so you can plan where you want it to go."
"Pay day routine is 100 per cent the way to go," says Farrell. She's a big fan of allocating all your money on the day you get paid. "On pay day, put the money where it needs to go first. You know you will need x amount for the mortgage, y amount for bills. Allocate a set amount of money for groceries and the other expenses you know of that month. Move the rest to savings pots. Give every euro a purpose at the start of the month."
By funnelling any excess cash towards specific things at the start of the month, there will be less sloshing around for you to waste.
But that's no fun
Her method doesn't skimp on fun, it actually means allocating a specific amount of money for that purpose. "Put aside a set amount of money to play with. It could be for takeaways or going out. If you allocate it, you are less likely to go over that amount." The practice means you can spend on fun things guilt-free up to a limit and it avoids the nasty shock of an unexplained dwindling balance before pay day.
Can't buy me love
If you're tired of having more month than money, analyse your spending triggers and remove them, says Farrell. Social media can be a big one. Yes, following a "personality" gives you a front row seat on their lives, but it's rarely a free ride. As a member of their "community", you are actually a customer in their shop. Fake tan, sweatshirts, golf kit, jewellery, jeans – there is no end to the hawking. "Stop following people who are influencing you to buy," says Farrell.
Unsubscribe from marketing emails too. If you don’t know about that “one time only offer”, “amazing free gift” or “two-for-one deal” you can’t spend your cash on it.
But it's been a hard year
If you have the urge to splurge, take a moment to remind yourself of your goals. "If I have a savings pot called 'holiday to Paris', I'm not going to take money out of that unless it's for that holiday to Paris," says Farrell. Resisting short-term highs will bring the City of Lights ever closer.
Get the basics right
It's not just splurges that are the problem. Getting the best deal on the basics adds up to big savings, says Farrell. "Look for free or cheaper alternatives for everything," she says. That means shopping around for better phone, media, insurance and mortgage deals. That can yield hundreds of euro in savings. Food shopping is another biggie.
Food shopping is another biggie. “I took two-thirds off what I was spending at the supermarket simply by starting to plan my meals,” says Farrell. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks – think ahead, write a list and stick to it. There will be tempting offers, but if it’s not on the list, it doesn’t go in the trolley. Swap in some supermarket own brands, too – many are from the same manufacturer, just packaged differently.