30 Personal Finance Tips for Reducing Your Expenditure

Do you run out of money before the end of the month?

Here are 30 personal finance tips to help you stretch the money a little further.

Living on a reduced income can be hard. Particularly in the tough economic climate that we are experiencing at the moment.

Whether it's retirement, redundancy, sickness or just circumstances beyond your control here are a few simple things that you can do to make sure you don't spend on unnecessary items.

  1. Use cash rather than plastic cards!! Handing over a fist full of ten pound notes is a lot more sobering than simply handing over your plastic card, and may prompt you to think again about the purchase you're making. Work out what your cash budget for the week is, and get into the habit of withdrawing just that amount.
  2. Don't go to the shops simply out of boredom! The more often you go to the shops, the more you will spend, so if you are easily tempted, avoid the shops unless you have something specific to buy.
  3. Alternatively if you enjoy a day out in your local shopping mall, make it a window shopping trip and make sure you only have enough money for what you need and don't take credit cards with you so that you're not tempted.

Personal Finance Tips for the Supermarket

Make the most of the money in your pocket by recognising the psychological tricks employed by shops, particularly the supermarkets.

They want you to linger in a store as that's the way they'll persuade you to buy more. So resolve to beat them at their own game.

  1. When shopping for food, write a shopping list beforehand and stick to it to avoid unnecessary impulse buys and ensure you buy only what you need.
  2. If you can use a basket rather than a trolley. If you need a trolley go for a smaller one. A large trolley may give you the impression that you've not spent much and your instinct will be to fill it.
  3. Consider buying the supermarket own brand equivalent of what you want rather than the more expensive in the fancy packaging?
  4. Larger supermarket stores tend to be cheaper like-for-like than their metro or local equivalents, however if you have to factor in petrol or transport costs to get to the supermarket it may be cheaper to shop locally as and when you need to.
  5. Don't go food shopping when you're hungry, you will end up buying more!
  6. When it comes to food, there are somethings it may be cheaper to buy in bulk, make double and freeze the leftovers, that way you'll also save on cooking costs.
  7. Be canny when faced with supermarket "offers". Believe it or not the 3 for 2 deals are not always the cheapest and do you really need 3 when 1 will do?

Personal Finance Tips for Services

  1. Is your gas/electricity/mobile phone/telephone/broadband supplier the cheapest option? If you haven't switched supplier for the last one or two years you will probably be able to get a better deal elsewhere. Switching is easy. Try the comparison sites to get the best deal.
  2. When making telephone calls beware of premium rate phone numbers like 0870. Even 0800 and 0845 numbers can be expensive from a mobile and won't be included in any free minutes package. Go to www.saynoto0870.com to find the alternative regular phone number for the service you want.
  3. Make sure you shop around at each insurance renewal for the cheapest home/contents/car/travel insurance, don't just automatically renew with your existing provider - use the comparison websites for the best deals.

Personal Finance Tips for Large Items for the Home

  1. When faced with replacing something in the home, consider whether you really need to buy new or can you buy (or even get free) the same item second-hand? You'll be surprised what people are prepared to give away free because they tire of something, it may be just what you're looking for. Check out local  websites for classified adverts for bargains  such as  Gumtree.com, freecycle.org. or ebay.com
  2. When making larger purchases for the home like furniture or electrical appliances use the internet to research on typical prices. Resolve never to buy an item without getting at least 3 competing quotes - the very process will give you time to weigh up your purchase decision, and may even uncover a better price.
  3. Never buy a big item the same day you see it - always sleep on it first, and only buy it if you feel the same way about it the next day.
  4. If you're buying a large item from a store always see if there is room for negotiation on the price. If you don't ask you don't get. The worst that can happen is that they will say no!

Personal Finance Tips for Clothes Shopping

  1. Retailers are struggling to sell and are constantly having sales. If you see something you need when it's reduced then buy it, but beware you're not buying it just because it's a bargain.
  2. If you have to buy for a special occasion check out the internet. Lots of websites offer discounts on clothes that are not available in store.
  3. Don't buy something to wear that you know you're not going to get plenty of wear out of.
  4. Consider hiring rather than buying or even borrowing from friends.
  5. Check out your local charity shop, particularly in the posh areas of your neighbourhood.
  6. Can you get a discount voucher for what you're buying? Search online for voucher codes.

Personal Finance Tips for Out & About

  1. How much do you spend on expensive coffees etc? Do you really need that Mocha Coconut Frappuccino? Consider going for a cheaper coffee.
  2. If you're still working make your own lunch and take it to work to avoid buying from expensive sandwich shops.
  3. If you're going for a day out take a picnic lunch from home rather than having to buy it out.
  4. Check out the local deals on 2 meals for the price of one at local pubs and restaurants between certain hours or on certain days. For Theatres, Shows, weekends away and much more! Search online for dinner deals or go to lastminute.com.

Personal Finance Tips on Transport

  1. Consider whether you really need 2 cars/as big a car/a car at all? Have you considered car-clubs as an alternative to owning. Check out www.zipcar.com
  2. If you travel regularly on the trains or buses check out what local travel concessions are available in your area. In my area a senior rail card gives me a 30% reduction on rail journeys. Quite a saving. In our County we also have free bus passes for those over 60 years of age.
  3. The most important personal finance tip I can give you when you're shopping and you see something to tempt you your mantra should be: "Do I want it?" "Do I need it?" "Can I afford it?" If the answer to any of those three questions is No! Don't buy it.

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