By Guest Writer Grace Frenson,
Losing control of your expenses and getting into debt is nothing new. Over 3 out of every 5 people carry debt to their graves.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise nowadays either. Hidden fees, a higher focus on direct debits, and rising subscriptions means it’s easier to lose control of your outgoing.
So, we decided to put together a quick and easy guide on how to get control of your expenses and keep yourself out of debt. Following these should help you stay in the black, and have more money to spend on what you enjoy.
10 Ways to Take Control of Your Financial Expenses
1. Categorize your debts
By categorizing your debts into groups like living (rent, lighting, heat), recurring (gym membership or TV package), transport (fuel and insurance), and once-off (clothes or parties), you’ll be able to see which bills are costing you the most.
It will also help you focus on eliminating the bills that matter most.
2. Prioritize all your bills
Another way to lose control of your bills is to get caught up in penalty fees. So, prioritize the bills with the most of these. Credit card bills and rent are usually the worst offenders here. The rest can usually be pushed back if necessary.
3. Look at your sources of income as well as your debt
There is more to improving your financial circumstances than minimizing expenses. Many people can focus solely on reducing expenses instead of both augmenting their income and decreasing debt.
Leaving the former out makes for more suffering and limited progress when trying to boost your disposable income. So, attack both for the best results.
4. Consult outside help
One visit with a tax consultant or bankruptcy lawyer can arm you with the knowledge to save thousands every year. A lot of people leave a lot of money on the table with inefficient financial decisions. As with a lot of choices, knowledge is power.
5. Stay on top of direct debits
When it comes to expenses and debt, direct debits are poison. They are one of the easiest ways to lose control of your outgoings. This is why they are the first things to be eliminated at when finances are low.
So, take the time out to look over your current direct debits and make sure they’re worth your money.
6. Calculate an average weekly and daily cost of living
One issue with many people trying to budget is that they think of their income and expenses in monthly terms. This can allow little costs to slip by unnoticed. By calculating your daily or weekly living costs, you can catch these costs.
Things like daily coffee purchases can mount up. So, check your expenses each day, as opposed to each month.
7. Find out how to become more tax efficient
If you’ve followed tip number 4, you should have a good idea of how you can save on your tax bill by claiming certain expenses as deductibles against your tax bill. Now, you can add to these savings by spending in a tax-efficient way.
By making purchases that can go towards your tax returns, you can save money as you spend it. This may be through choices like logging business miles on your car or keeping a work phone.
8. Create a monthly expenses review day
Even with added diligence, it’s still possible for new bills to slip by unnoticed and start building up again. So, taking time out every month to run through all of your bills can help keep your expenses in check.
Apps that help aggregate all your bills and receipts into one spreadsheet can be a great help here.
9. Consider consolidation or refinancing
For those with loans out, this can be a pretty big help. Consolidating or refinancing is when you combine multiple loans into a single loan, often with lower interest. This can help make paying your bills cheaper and easier.
But, make sure you do your homework on different refinancing options to make sure you’re getting a good deal. A lot of refinancing options can exist. This can make picking the right one tough.
10. Review any new subscriptions 8 weeks after purchase
A lot of subscription services work on impulse. They usually try to push you into subscribing, or catch you when you’re eager to try their service. Some offer the first month free to get you to sign up.
This is because they know most people take a long time to unsubscribe from a service, even if they never use it. So, make it a point to review a new subscription 8 weeks to see if you’re getting enough use out of it to justify giving it your money.