How can I cut back my monthly outgoings?

How can I cut back my monthly outgoings?

Summary: This article aims to provide suggestions as to how to reduce monthly expenditure to help with household budgeting.

Many people are facing financial difficulties at the moment, not least as a result of the current economic climate. For those struggling with the monthly bills, the first step is to review all monthly expenditure and compare to the household income. This will highlight if there is any shortfall as well as the need to reduce outgoings.

What can I cut back on?

• General Household Bills. While household bills are often vital, for example Gas and Electricity, the amount paid can often be reduced. There are a number of price comparison websites that can provide cheaper options. It is also worth contacting the utility provider directly, as they may have a cheaper tariff available.

• Food and household goods. Many supermarkets offer their own brand range of goods, which can often be considerably cheaper than branded items. There are also many special offers available. However, it is important not to buy items that you wouldn't normally, just because they are on offer. It is also worth double checking that the offers are indeed value for money, as there may be a cheaper alternative.

• Luxuries. Luxuries can cover a broad range of items from regular takeaway meals, eating out and so on. It may also include items such as Satellite or cable television, or other services that are not essential. In times of financial hardship, it is these items that should be reviewed carefully as they can have a huge impact on monthly expenditure. Is it possible to lower the monthly contract value of luxury services? Are all the TV channels essential, for example?

• Fuel and transport costs. Rising fuel costs have an impact on everyone, not just car owners. This is because it will have a direct knock on effect to everyday items such as food etc. In order to reduce monthly outgoings, cars should only be used when necessary. If the shop is walking distance, why drive? Cars also use more fuel the heavier they weigh, so the fuller the tank is with petrol, the less fuel efficient it is. Therefore it may be worth only half filling the tank when needed. Keeping to a reasonable speed will also conserve fuel, as will keeping a steady pace (i.e. no rapid acceleration and hard braking).

There are many other ideas that can help reduce monthly outgoings, but if an individual finds that no matter how much they are saving, they still struggle at the end of the month, it may be worth seeking financial advice. This could be from one of the many free advice services available, such as the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), or from a reputable money advisor.