- Personal Finance
How to reduce your monthly expenses and save money
The is no doubt in my mind that we would all love to be living on a 6 figure income, but that's just not realistic. Sometimes its not about how much money you are making, but about where your money is going, then you can look at ways to save money.
Here are some effective techniques when it comes to reducing costs and saving more money.
**please note I am not a financial adviser everything expressed in this Hub is from personal experience.
Saving Money On Your Bank Accounts
Have you read through your bank statements recently? no?.. Well, you might want to take a good look at your last months statement. What you are looking for is any fees you have been charged throughout the month, for example: "Excess Transaction charges", "Monthly Account Keeping" fees and "Other ABM Use" fees. Now add these all together and you will see how much money is going down the drain so to speak, every month.
If you find, like I did, that you have well over $40 per month in other ABM usage fees then you definitely need to re assess. Are you using the same machine almost every time you take out cash? If you are, locate the closest Branch/ABM of your banking institution and make a conscious effort to use it. If there are none close to you then you could consider changing to the bank that owns that particular machine that you are currently using. If you are not, then you basically need to stop using the machines so often, take out enough cash to last you the week and do not go back.
Most banks will not charge a monthly Account keeping fee if your Salary is being deposited into your account every week/month.
If you are seeing excess transaction fees then I would suggest talking to your bank and finding out if there is a better option for you. Is there an unlimited transaction plan you can go on?
If after talking to your bank and they are not able to help you with saving money then look at your other options. Use a banking comparison tool, which you can find using google, research what the competitors have to offer. You can also go into some other banks and ask questions about switching to one of their accounts. Take your statement with you and ask the representative to look through it, let them know you are interested in saving money on your accounts and ask them show you where the savings are.
Saving Money On Your Credit Cards
If you are struggling to pay off your credit card, making the minimum repayments and only really paying off the interest charged each month, there are a couple of things you can do to start saving money on interest.
The first is to call your credit card company and tell them that your credit card is not working for you. Explain that you are only paying off the interest and not seeing your debt reducing. Let them know you are looking to into changing to another company as they have a very enticing introductory offer and low interest rate. Speak with the cancellations department and tell them you like the company, the service is great and you would stay with them if they reduced your interest rate. Ask them nicely to reduce it. My credit card was around 12% interest and just by asking nicely I was able to bring them down to 9.99% interest ongoing. That's a reduction of 2.01% which doesn't seem like much but the savings add up.
If your bank is unwilling to assist then the second option you have is to research ther credit card providers. Many companies offer a really good introductory offer such as 0-2% interest rates on balance transfers for 6months -1 year. What this means is, if approved, you can transfer the balance of your existing card to the new one and not pay any interest or very little interest on that amount for the period stated. Once the transfer is complete then be sure to cancel your previous credit card.You should try to make more than then minimum repayments each month on the new card and if you are serious about paying it off then cut up the new credit card and do not use it.This will allow you to pay off the principle amount rather than just the interest and by the end of the interest free period you should have made a decent dent in the amount owing, which is saving you money in the long run.
Beware of low interest rates for the introductory period then excessive interest rates after. Do not go with a company where the ongoing interest rate is more than the interest rate on your current card.
Saving Money On Your Grocery Bill
Are you spending too much money at the grocery store?? Are you finding that your fresh produce is going off before you get the chance to use it??
Most people go to the grocery without any idea what they will buy which is the biggest mistake.
Go with a plan!! Use a cooking or recipes website like www.taste.com.au use the search engine to look up recipes for meals you that you like. Select recipes with minimal ingredients and enough to last you the week. If you chose meals with pricey ingredients such as seafood you wont really reduce your bill. Keep a note of the meals selected to refer back to the recipes when cooking. Make a list of all the ingredients you need for each meal and only buy those ingredients.
Add to the list what you would like for breakfast and the ingredients you need to make your lunch every day. My partner and I have salad or wraps for lunch which include lettuce, tomato, cheese, sandwich meat (ham or turkey), mayonnaise, canned corn, avocado.
Do not buy enough for 2 weeks because the fresh produce will go off by the second week and you will end up throwing it out (waste of money).
Eat breakfast at home or prepare your breakfast with your lunch the night before and take it to work with you.
By doing this our grocery bill has gone from approx $170 per week to about $100per week (sometimes less) for 2 people. That's a pretty decent saving each week. Also I am no longer spending money on breakfast and lunch at work, so I am saving even more.
Saving Money With Telecomunications
Like managing your credit cards you can take a similar approach to some of your other bills.
If you are paying too much for your services then call your provider and talk to them about ways to reduce your bills. Speak with the cancellation department and tell them you are looking into cancelling your services with them as there are better deals being offered by other providers. They may offer to give you and discount to keep your business.
Telecommunication providers usually offer introductory rates for 6months - 1 year and after that period the rates significantly increase and most of the time almost double. If your provider is not able to help you then you have the option to of changing to another company to take advantage of a new introductory offer. Just ensure there are no cancellation fees in doing so.
You could, technically, change your provider every 6 months-1 year and avoid the price increase once the introductory offer ends.
Changing every 6months-1 year takes up quite a bit of time and energy for example: Calling and setting up services and the time it takes for the installation etc, so weigh up if it is worth the effort for you.
Make sure you request installation on a day you already have off work. If you have to take time off work for installation that defeats the purpose as you are probably losing money taking time off.
Do not use an email service directly from your ISP (Internet service provider) as each time you change company you lose your email address. Use an email provider that is independent of your ISP such as Hotmail, Gmail etc, that way you can access your account, no matter who your provider is and you wont lose it when you change.
Well there you have it, some of the ways I reduce costs each month. Now I am saving money rather than spending it unnecessarily.
Please leave me a comment with any feedback you have and check out my other hubs.
I hope this was helpful.