Budgeting

How to Cut Your Budget to the Bare Minimum

In the current uncertain environment, many of us are rightly looking for ways to reduce our expenditure right back to the bare minimum. For some of us, money has stopped coming in or has been greatly reduced. Meanwhile, expenses carry on as normal. It is terrifying the speed with which savings can shrink, if you are lucky enough to have savings.

Here are some tips on slashing your outgoings as far back as possible:

Start with household bills

For many of us out greatest outgoings will be repayments on our houses and cars, If you are currently in a financial pickle, take advantage of mortgage or other debt holidays – call your provider to see what can be done. This will give you a lot of breathing space.

Make sure you are getting the best deal on your utility bills – there are lots of sites who can compare tariffs, I personally use Compare the Market as you can benefit from 2-for-1 cinema tickets and meals.

You may be eligible for a council tax reduction if you have low income – get in touch with your local council to find out.

If you are out of contract (or are about to be) with your mobile phone provider, make sure you switch to a much cheaper sim-only deal.

If you have passed the minimum term for your broadband or TV package, call your provider and try and negotiate a lower rate. Do you even need the speed to be as high as the one you are paying for, do you even watch all those channels? Maybe you could even cancel your TV package and subscribe to Netflix instead.

Scan your outgoings for any non-essentials

Do you have any TV streaming subscriptions, magazine subscriptions. gym memberships that you could do without? Personally I have a backlog of about 6 monthly interior design magazines that I am still waiting to read… this tells me that I could probably do without that particular outgoing. Some other ones that you might deem unnecessary also include Audible, Kindle Unlimited, Spotify, Birchbox (or other subscription boxes).

Pause any charitable donations or contributions to savings schemes until you get back on your feet. Perhaps, once your income has increased again you could consult an financial advisor such as Rusty Tweed to help you better plan for your future.

Cut the cost of your debt

Debt can feel crippling. As I mentioned before, speak to your lenders if you are having financial difficulties and you should be able to negotiate a payment holiday.

If you are paying interest on your credit card, could you transfer to a card with a lower interest rate (even better, a 0% card if your credit score is good enough)?

If you have a car on finance consider swapping to a cheaper car once it expires.

Food budget

I’m a big advocate of meal planning to slash your grocery bills, as it means there is no food waste. Also, stop ordering takeout food and look up recipes online – it’s invariably cheaper to cook something yourself than to order it in. One of my favourite budget meals to make is vegetable soup: it’s a really cheap meal to make, you can pad it out with whatever vegetables are on special offer and if you make it in bulk it can last for a few days.

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