Image courtesy of Christine McIntosh

Many people struggle to manage each month. Some will just not have enough money to but the essentials, but there are many of us that buy any things each month and some we could do without. It is sometimes hard to distinguish between what is necessary and what is not and also may not feel good to stop spending money on things that we like.

It is wise to start by establishing the things that you have to pay for. You will need to pay all of your bills, your rent or mortgage, your taxes, any loan repayments and insurance. You will need to buy food and pay for transport. The things that you buy such as cable television, mobile phone, clothing, alcohol, dvd’s, apps, cinema, take aways, home furnishings, sweets etc need to cut down. It is very easy to think that without these things you will not be happy, but you do not need to go without everything and you can still be happy even if you do not have them.

Once you have put away enough money to cover all of your essentials, then you can think about how to spend what is left. You should prioritise your spending based on what you think you will need the most and enjoy the most. It may feel like hard work. But you will get used to it and it will mean that you are less likely to go into debt. You can have fun with it as well, challenging yourself to spend a bit less each month and perhaps using the money you have left to pay off debts or to save up for something expensive.

By comparing prices of everything that you buy you should be able to save more. Not only will you be able to reduce the spending you do on luxury items but also on necessities. Some are easier to reduce than others and it is worth taking a look to see what you can do. You may be able to buy things form different suppliers or shops and find that you get exactly the same item or service at a lower cost. This is such an easy way to save money, but many people do not even try it because they do not realise. You can compare prices very easily online for many things and therefore can find out for yourself, with very little effort, whether there are ways for you to pay less. If you do this with everything that you buy, not only will it make you more aware of how much you are paying for things, but you will be able to see where you can save money as well. You will be able to save money by doing this and not have to necessarily go without anything.

It may sound a bit over the top, but it can be good to see of you can feel happy without having to buy things. Treating yourself to things could be something which you do regularly, but there are other things that you can do to treat yourself which are free such as going for a country walk, having a relaxing bath, curling up with an old favourite book or sharing a home cooked meal with family or friends. Most things do have a price and you could argue that these things do depend on money, but they are cheaper than alternatives such as going out for a meal, going to a spa, visiting a gym or going to the theatre. They can be just as much or even more fun as well!