Many of us can end up spending money on autopilot and it is only when you sit down at the end of the month to work out where all your money has gone that you start to regret some of your rash purchasing decisions.
Here are some tips to help you adopt a more thrifty minded mindset and cut out the wasteful spending.
There is a look at how you can reduce your energy costs, some savvy savings to be made against your motoring expenses, plus strategies for spending less on groceries and a tax tip to boost your income.
Energy costs offer a quick way to slash your monthly expenditure
It is hard to adjust some regular monthly bills like your rent or mortgage payments without switching lenders or moving home, all of which take time even if you wanted to try and cut costs that way.
What you ideally want is to find some expenses where you can trim the cost straight away and energy costs fit that bill perfectly.
It is not just a case of switching suppliers to get a better deal where you can make some significant savings, there are several things you can do around the home to reduce the amount you spend on energy.
Installing a programmable thermostat and turning the dial down a couple of degrees can save anywhere up to 15% on your annual heating bills. Also, it is a no-brainer switching to energy-efficient light bulbs as they use about two-thirds less energy and last up to ten times longer.
Turn down your water temperature dial to 130 degrees Fahrenheit and that will also save you a bundle of cash every year.
Cut the cost of motoring
Another key area where you can cut out unnecessary spending is with your motoring costs.
The next time your car needs a minor repair or a tune-up think about what tasks you can do yourself rather than automatically sending your car to the local auto-repair center and racking up a hefty bill.
You can pick up GMC service repair manuals online, for example, and learn how to do some of the basics like changing the plugs and the engine oil. You don’t have to be a mechanic to cope with these simple jobs but the savings you will make compared to garage charges will definitely seem worth the effort.
It also pays to remember that your car tires lose a pound of pressure every month and every pound they are out from the recommended levels is costing you an extra one percent on your gas costs.
Keep your tires properly inflated and it will cost you less at the gas station.
Plenty of chances to be thrifty with your grocery shopping
If you are looking to make a noticeable difference to your monthly spending totals there is plenty of scope to slash your costs by targeting what you buy to put on the table.
No one wants to go hungry or feel like they have to make too many sacrifices when it comes to food, but it doesn’t have to be like that and you can still save plenty of money with a few adjustments to your shopping habits.
A good starting point would be quit the habit of buying food on the fly, as that almost always costs you more when you buy in a hurry. It is far better to plan your meals ahead and write out a shopping list and the go a couple of times a week to purchase only what you need.
Another good trick is to work out how much you can afford to spend on groceries each week and draw the equivalent amount out in cash. You are often far more frugal when you pay with cash than when you are charging random items to your card, so if you really want to ensure you stick to your shopping list and resist all the special offers, leave your cards at home.
Take your eligible tax breaks
Another potential way to boost your income without too much effort is to check that you are claiming all the available tax breaks.
You might be entitled to claim earned income tax credit (EITC) if your earnings fall within the required limits and the amount you can reduce your taxes by could be as much as $6,000 depending on your marital status and whether you have dependents.
As you can see if you start thinking thrifty and work out ways to cut costs and save money, you could soon find there is more money left in your bank at the end of the month than there is with your current spending habits.
Henry Sykes is a personal and business financial consultant. He likes to help others mind their money by posting his financial wisdom on DIY and finance websites.