7 Expert Budgeting Hacks From A Wealth Consultant
COVID restrictions have had a significant impact on people’s ability to work and earn a living, with millions of workers having been furloughed or, even worse, losing their jobs. Many people have had to adapt their way of living now that finances are under considerable strain. We all need to do more to tighten our belts by introducing what might seem small, cost-saving measures on their own, but as a collective, they go a long way and make a significant impact.
Lucky for us, The Wealth Consultant expert, Alex MacEwen provides us with his 7 budgeting hacks that work for all budget types.
1. Make a budget personal to each month
Understanding your monthly budget can help you gain control over your money. It allows you to prioritise your spending, track your goals, and help you realise when you need to stop spending. Owning your expenditure and knowing how much you have available to spend each month, can make planning more realistic. If you keep this in mind, finances in January won’t be so stretched. Following your budget means having planned expenses in the festive season with the appropriate allowances. The same should be applied for the summer holiday season.
2. Manage housing costs
One of the most significant expenses for people is housing. If you’re a homeowner, your mortgage might be your greatest fixed expense. Although the base rate of interest is at an all-time low, it’s worth keeping an eye on the latest re-mortgage deals and interest rates. You can save thousands of pounds over the life of your mortgage by shopping around.
If you’re renting, now might be the time to downsize, resize or move to another area. According to the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), landlords are dramatically reducing the rent on larger properties to secure long-term tenants to weather the drop in demand from overseas corporate clients. It costs nothing to enquire, and you might be surprised at what you can negotiate on if you are prepared to take a two or three-year contract.
3. Change eating habits
We all need a little downtime, but if you’re watching your expenditure, you should consider dining in. Eating at home means precisely that, but it doesn’t mean you can’t go out for a pre-dinner drink.
There’s no doubt it’s cheaper to cook and eat at home, but sometimes the planning and budgeting can take the pleasure out of eating. Create a meal plan. There are apps available to download that make light work of budgeting, so you can decide what you want to eat and shop accordingly. Many supermarkets are offering deals, discounts when buying in bulk, and many have offers on luxury products designed to increase sales at the weekends. Remember these deals do not save money if you end up throwing the food away. Invest in a freezer alongside creating your meal plan, so you can reap the rewards in the long term.
4. Reduce your utility bills
Our utility bills are an area of your budget that you probably overlook, often because it’s too time-consuming or difficult to swap companies if you want to change. Ofgem, the government regulator for gas and electricity, has detailed information on how to switch energy suppliers and shop for a better deal. And while you’re shopping around, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s not always the well-known utility providers who offer the best deals, so consider using internet-based providers as well as the classics. Price comparison websites are paid to represent the companies that appear on their sites – but the discounts they offer are genuine. They still do not take account of independent utility providers or brokers, so shopping around is a wise financial move.
To help things along during winter, keep an eye on heating bills. Most utility providers will install a smart meter for free when you enter an 18-month contract with them. The smart meter has a separate display unit that shows you how much money has been spent over an hour or day, enabling you to keep track of costs.
5. Seek advice from a professional
If in doubt, call in the professionals. Our free of charge digital introduction service is the perfect opportunity for you to review your current money situation and make goals towards achieving future wealth.
6. Look into an automatic savings plan
An automatic saving plan is a stress-free way to save money. Once you have worked out a budget to suit your lifestyle, set up a standing order into a savings account or consider a bond or fixed-term savings plan. The automatic element of doing this eliminates the temptation to overspend on items you don’t need, and you will be surprised at how effortless saving can be.
7. Include your debt obligations in your budget
Alongside your budget, make a list of your debts and continuously refer to it, especially as you pay your bills. Listing your debt obligations helps you to understand where you stand financially and gives you the chance to create a strategy to maintain your lifestyle. Just knowing the facts is a step to creating long-lasting wealth.