How to stop spending money: seven simple steps

Teena Lyons / 23 October 2012

Ever wondered why your hard earned cash seems to buy so few things? Or, despite your financial projections saying you are on track, why you never have enough money to see you through the month? You may have a budget leak. Spending money without knowing where it is going can be a serious problem, so it is time to plug those leaks.

Step one: Keep a record. Find out where the money is going by keeping an honest spending diary for a month. Think particularly about little treats such as a cappuccino on the way to work, or 'rewards' of a healthy smoothie after a brisk walk. You might be shocked to find you are spending £100 a month at cafes.

Step two: Shop around. Paying a higher price than is necessary is a leak. It clearly makes a difference on a major purchase, such as a new television, but if you regularly shop at the most expensive store or pay over the odds at the grocer, that little leak quickly adds up to a significant monthly amount. Make it a habit to shop around for the best value store in your area and constantly compare prices.

Step three: Get full value. Little is gained by saving cash through good shopping practices, if you are forced to regularly replace goods because you are not looking after them properly. Read the care booklet or label that comes with all your purchases and if in doubt seek advice. If the goods last longer, your money does too.

Step four: Do a life audit. Ask yourself, how many memberships do you have which you never use, or magazine subscriptions that simply leave you with a pile of supplements, which you are 'going to get around to one day', but never do. Cancel them. You will not notice they have gone.

Step five: Think about entertainment. Don't buy DVDs you will probably only ever watch once, or books you may never get around to reading. Borrow them from the library, or hire them from an online film club. While you are about it, flick through myriad TV channels. Do you watch all the premium channels you pay for? If not, cancel them and find a TV package that suits you and your budget.

Step six: Get organised. Don't forget to pay all your bills on time – late fees and fines are an easy leak to plug. While you are about it, cut down on the number of credit cards you own too, it is easier to manage.

Step seven: Think green. Turning the lights off when you leave the room, switching electrical goods off standby mode and turning the heating down a few degrees, doesn't just make sense for the environment. These things save you money too.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.