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Strategies to manage your money and reduce monthly outgoings

This is a guest post by Julie Cheung. Julie is a freelance online marketer with a keen interest in business, investment and finance. She can be contacted via Twitter at @juliecheung or on LinkedIn.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could put a bit of cash aside every month to save for a rainy day? As the end of the financial year approaches, I’m sure you’ll have heard advertisements on the TV or radio telling you to make the most of your tax-free stocks and shares ISA or cash ISA. Somehow though, everyday life gets in the way of all good saving intentions, and rather than having a little bit left over to save, you’ve probably ended up going into your overdraft again or using your credit card a few too many times more than you would have liked to, am I right?

It doesn’t have to be this way, though. With a little bit of planning ahead and self-control, you can take charge of your finances and reduce your monthly outgoings. Here are a couple of strategies…

Think smarter when buying food. Look for discounts or BOGOF offers on the food you usually buy when you go to the supermarket. You can also make the most of loyalty reward schemes and vouchers to save money – but don’t be tempted to buy extras just because they have a discount. If you like eating out or having takeaways in, consider a supermarket alternative. Many have special ‘eat in’ deals, and these will be considerably cheaper than eating out. Plus you can choose your own favourite wine!

Set up Direct Debit payments for regular outgoings. Not only can you relax knowing you won’t ever miss a payment, but many bill companies offer a discount for paying by Direct Debit, so you may also pay less on your bills. If you are using Direct Debit to make payments on your credit card, you have the flexibility to either pay the minimum amount, a set amount each month or whole amount.

Take out a credit card with an introductory offer of 0% interest on purchases. Comparison sites are a great way to shop around and find the best credit card deal. And with an introductory 0% interest on purchases offer, you won’t be charged each month when you don’t pay off the full amount. Just remember to make a note of when the introductory offer ends so you can clear your card before you get charged interest – and begin your search for another provider for your next 0% interest offer!

Claim back any money you are entitled to. If you have overpaid a bill or feel you have paid too much tax, make sure you investigate and claim back for any extra you are owed before you forget about it. Also, if you have been mis-sold payment protection insurance, start the process of claiming it back, if you haven’t done so already. It may seem like hassle at the time, but the savings all add up – and it is your money after all!

There are many other tips and techniques available to manage your finances on a daily basis, but as you can see, it’s very simple to make your money stretch further so you can enjoy it more.


Editorial note: The ISA accounts are used in the United Kingdom and they are equivalent to the US IRA accounts. The principles of saving money mentioned in the post are great and I use most of them myself, such as zero introductory interest credit cards to refinance my debt by moving higher interest rate debt to those accounts. Or saving cash for regular outgoings using direct deposit to my savings accounts and when the bill arrives I pay it using savings.

How are you managing your cash to reduce your spending?

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