Keeping your lifestyle costs down: a guide

We all have creature comforts that we’re reluctant to give up. Whether it’s your takeout cup of morning coffee or a premium brand of mascara that you just can’t live without. Streamlining some of your financial costs could be beneficial not just for the money left over in your account every month, but also for future investments. The money you put away could be used for a deposit on a house or something special in the future.

Get into the habit of paying off debt

If you pay off the bare minimum of your credit card debt every month then this will be an ever-present monthly lifestyle cost. While it can sting to start paying off your debt way above the minimum requirement, you will start to eat away at that lingering financial burden. It might help you to craft a debt pay-back financial plan, with some goals and aims of where you hope to be in the future.

Direct debits

The direct debits that disappear out of your account every month are only convenient in the sense that you don’t have to think about them. However, sometimes it pays to give a little consideration to how much this could be costing you and whether you could indeed be better on the rest of the market. Reserving an hour or so to hunt around for a better and cheaper broadband provider, or a much more budget-friendly gas an electric service could leave you with a surprising amount of savings.

Be less reliant on your car

While cars are excellent in terms of efficiency, they’re not so good for our budget or, sometimes, even our health. If you’ve always liked the idea of walking in the morning to catch the bus or simply taking an early stroll to work, then it could be time to spend far less money on petrol.

Pick apart your budget

One of the best ways to get an accurate picture of where you might be going wrong spending-wise is to take a critical look at where you are putting your money each month. Printing out your transactions could be quite revealing in terms of what your secret vices are. Taking the time to look at your monthly outgoings and decide what could make the chop could help you to be more realistic about what you can afford to splurge money on.

Use hand-me-downs during growth-spurts

If you have children, you will know the agony of buying clothes only for your child to outgrow them immediately. Therefore hand-me-downs are often useful during a phase when they will be outgrowing most of their clothes anyway. You can even add an element of predictability when it comes to your child’s growth. Using a height percentile calculator might be useful if you want to know how much more you can expect them to grow, helping you to judge when you can start splurging on more permanent clothing.

Get back to basics with food

Grabbing a sub at work, eating out with friends and splurging on the odd dinner out can add up, particularly if we do this more than we’re prepared to admit. Try and reserve dinners and lunches out for special occasions, and bring your cooking skills back to basics. Learning how to batch cook casseroles and simple stir-fries could see you cutting down your budget substantially. It might also help you to start taking lunches to work, which could also see you take on an inadvertent health kick.

When it comes to saving money in your groceries, try and take a more ‘back to basics’ with this too. Choosing loose vegetables that are sold according to weight is usually far cheaper than packaged versions. It’s also much kinder to your budget to leave expensive branded food at the door. You’ll find that bulk-buying carbs and starches such as pasta and beans, and un-branded canned goods will give you delicious-quality food for the fraction of the price.

Sometimes our lifestyle costs can get out of hand as a result of society’s pressures. Social media can tempt us to buy brands that are just slightly out of our price bracket and perceived quality often makes us reach for much more pricey versions of products. However, by streamlining your outgoings and using a service like Debt Busters to make a real dent in your debt, you can start to have a profound effect on your budget either as a single professional or as a family.