General,  Money

4 ways to overhaul your budget to save money

We are all feeling the pinch these days. The cost of living has gone up for a whole range of reasons including the pandemic, the rise in energy costs and the troubles in the Ukraine. It is vital to try to save some money because you can be sure that rainy days and unexpected expenses will come your way at some point. Look how petrol and diesel prices are going up and up all of a sudden.  I used to be a debt counsellor and have had to budget as a mum when life threw curveballs like redundancy or illness our way. I am trying to teach my teenagers the value of money and support them so they don’t get into the financial difficulties I did earlier in my life. Here are 4 ways to overhaul your budget to save money.

Overhaul your budget to save money

Your first step to saving money effectively is to keep a keen eye on what you are spending on. That little coffee you treat yourself to may not seem expensive or a treat. Add it up over the year and the amount may well have your eyes watering. We feel it when we spend a lot but those tiny luxuries we allow ourselves really do add up over time. I have a habit of telling myself if I shop in charity shops I am not over-spending but on occasion I do buy things that I don’t really need or even want in the longer-term. It is not actually great for our emotional wellbeing to have too much stuff as we can end up feeling overwhelmed with clutter.  It is important to be disciplined when it comes to money rather than end up with an empty purse or a debt problem. I use a pen and a fancy budget planner to record my outgoings. I could have saved money by just using paper instead of getting tempted by the attractive money diary. You can also check out the apps that are available to help you record your expenditure. So the first step to overhauling your budget is tracking what you spend.

Reduce your food costs

I love dining out. However, if I added up all the money that has gone out on that particular pastime over the years I would get a shock to my system. It is cheaper to eat at home. It’s a good idea to plan your meals in advance and only shop for the ingredients for them. This reduces food waste and gives you a healthier budget and a better waistline. I find online shopping is better when it comes to shopping for groceries as I don’t get as tempted by offers in the store. Nor do my snack-loving teenagers. If I do go to the supermarket, I research what time there are likely to be items with a close best before date to make the most of the reductions made on such foods. Your freezer is your friend when it comes to these type of bargains,  Recently I have tried food boxes rather than supermarket shopping. As with most items of expenditure, shop around is the best financial advice. Some food and drink items are particularly pricey. Alcohol is not good for your mental or physical health in large quantities and certainly breaks the bank. Meat can be expensive and if you cut it down or out altogether you have the benefit of helping the environment too. Swap takeaways for fakeaways and your savings will increase. Save money by taking packed lunches to work and study environments rather than heading to the tempting sandwich section of the supermarket or shop. You can do a lot to overhaul your budget by looking at your food bills.

Sort out your finances

It’s bad enough when you find yourself in financial trouble without the sudden realisation that debt can be so expensive. Interest rates can be high and it is very good idea to check out APRs in advance of borrowing money. Make sure you know your credit score and if it is a poor one do your utmost to rebuild it so that lenders will view you favourably. That might mean you can get a more favourable interest rate by transferring credit card balances for example. There are a lot of charities offering free money advice so you are advised to tap into those as there is no shame in seeking help. Ensure you are getting your full welfare rights and look into grants for your particular circumstances. Talk to your creditors and see how they might be able to help you. The earlier you do this once you see your finances are going off track the better. You can learn more about other options for tackling debt online. On anything like gas, electricity or insurance bills, check comparison sites and shop around.

The best things in life are free!

Think back to your most heartfelt memories. You will often notice how many of them involved no expenditure at all. Do you remember feeling the sun on your skin and noticing the buds on the trees? Wasn’t that walk in the forest or on the beach the best time? Can you remember giggling with a loved one? You don’t always need to spend money to have a good time. Get outdoors and enjoy the magic. Alternatively, you can host a fun activity for friends and family like a movie night at home. Check out sites like Freegle and Facebook groups where people want to get rid of their unwanted items and will give them to you free of charge. Remember, if you can’t go down the free route, there are lots of ways to spend just a little bit such as supporting good causes by shopping in charity shops.

What top tips do you have to overhaul your budget?



Award-winning writer, blogger, social media consultant and charity campaigner. Social Media Manager for BritMums, the UK's largest parent blogging network Freelance clients include Firefly Communications and Save the Children UK. Works with brands on marketing projects. Examples include Visit Orlando, Give As You Live, Coca-Cola and Kodak. Cambridge Law graduate with many years experience working across three sectors in advice, media relations, events, training and project management. Available for hire at affordable rates.

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